Journey Management vs. Mapping – What’s The Big Deal?

Customer Journey Mapping is a well-documented practice that helps organizations understand and guide improvements in the customer experience (CX). When done effectively, it uncovers valuable insight into CX issues and opportunities, and it aligns stakeholders around a common vision.

But the traditional approach to journey mapping leaves a lot on the table. You know the story: big company excitedly embarks on a journey mapping exercise, gets a bunch of people involved, and creates a beautiful map full of interesting insight. And then the map becomes a piece of wall art in the office. Executives may have nodded their heads and agreed to do something different in the workshop, but nothing really happened. Or, if something did happen, the CX team didn’t hear about it. Over time, the negative perception of journey mapping then compounded as the original map became stale and outdated, having never been reviewed or updated.

The problem here is not just about wasted effort. For CX leaders, the problem is existential. They are spending time and money, often with high internal visibility, with nothing substantial to show for it. That doesn’t go on long in a company that wants a return on its investment.

That’s why we’re focused on Customer Journey Management, which we define as “the discipline of understanding, planning, implementing, and optimizing a portfolio of journey maps to create loyalty through an improved experience.” By breaking down that definition, we’ve identified three main elements that distinguish journey management:

  • Routine practice. Rather than approaching journey mapping as a discrete project, journey management involves continuously creating, maintaining, and applying journey maps to guide CX efforts over time. This practice is becoming more and more common, especially among companies with journey mapping tools in place to make the process more time and cost efficient.
  • Portfolio of maps. With a regular focus on the practice, journey management also leads to the creation of a portfolio of related maps. The macro view provides a common vision to the organization and identifies top issues and opportunities. Micro views uncover the gritty details needed to understand each area fully and guide appropriate actions. For example, one large tech company has used Touchpoint Dashboard to build a “journey atlas” that links to a series of nested micro-maps detailing each key area of the journey.
  • Direct link to action. Finally, journey management creates visibility and accountability around the action plans and commitments that result from journey maps. The benefits here are two-fold. Most importantly, the line of sight allows CX leaders to drive more meaningful change, and that’s good for customers and the business. But the visibility also enables CX leaders to see and socialize the ultimate outcomes of their efforts, and that’s essential for the survival of the CX practice itself. That’s why a second large tech company uses the Touchpoint Dashboard platform to define and assign the actions plans that come out of each journey mapping exercise right when they leave a workshop. They then have a companywide view of actions, owners, and statuses that enables them to nudge things forward effectively.

As you can tell, journey management is no small commitment. It takes sustained focus and effort. And it may produce less wall art for your office. Fortunately, it works.