Customer journey maps aggregate a vast array of customer data to provide a logical, holistic representation of the purchasing process. For B2B organizations, journey mapping can demystify how operators make purchasing decisions, while for B2C organizations, it can help identify important customer touchpoints. Ultimately, journey maps can inform critical decisions across the organization—from product development to establishing customer loyalty programs.
Approximately 20% of Hanover’s research requests from clients revolve around the customer experience, specifically tracking their customers’ exposure to and engagement with their offerings. Given the steady interest, our research team wanted to track how companies are using customer journey maps—what makes a customer journey map impactful and how organizations are building and refreshing them. We surveyed 422 professionals in September 2019 and surfaced 8 trends:
- Two in five organizations have developed and use a customer journey map. While 58% of organizations do not currently have a customer journey map, two in five of these organizations plan to develop one in the future. Some organizations without a journey map do not believe it would contribute value; however, just as many organizations agree that creating a map is important but have not prioritized its development. Organizations without a journey map see its merit in driving sales and identifying gaps in service, but larger buy-in needs to be garnered since one in four professionals cannot identify a meaningful way in which the organization would use a customer journey map.
- The 42% of organizations that have a journey map developed it within the past two years. Organizations tend to prioritize the development of a map quickly—within less than a year—after it is initially discussed and spend the same amount of time developing it. Journey maps are not viewed as a one-and-done initiative; many organizations have already refreshed their maps and a majority plan to do so again in the future.
- Organizations need support gathering data to inform map development. Over half (57%) used an external market research vendor to solely create or aid in the development of their customer journey map, investing an average of $260,000 on development. Understanding how the customer journey differs for unique customer segments is the largest information gap. Organizations also need data gathering support to inform the initial stage of the customer journey, during needs or discovery, and after the initial purchase to strengthen areas such as customer satisfaction and repeat purchase considerations.
- Professionals agree journey maps are a good investment, both in terms of the monetary investment and time spent. In addition to positive overarching sentiment towards the journey map, organizations that have a map experience a variety of benefits. The map is viewed as a tool that can help facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and to further goals toward building a customer-centric culture. The map also contributes value or positively impacts key initiatives, including increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, prioritizing communication touchpoints with customers, and refining product and service development specifically to meet customer needs.
- Beyond tactical initiatives, professionals agree customer journey maps can help solve larger organizational challenges. Specifically, four in five organizations indicate their customer journey map has helped them craft solutions to the largest challenge they face: obtaining new customers. Even organizations without a customer journey map agree that a map could help them attract new customers. Though organizations without a journey map are faced with larger buy-in issues, they indicate a customer journey map could also contribute value to solving for a variety of other organizational challenges, including increasing market share and retaining current customers.
- Organizations with a customer journey map likely value it due to its successful integration into decision making across the organization. Integration seems to be particularly successful within marketing, sales, strategy, customer service, and market research (but to a lesser extent C-suite, operations, and product). Successful integration is attributed to: 1) value being placed on its use from the top down, 2) cross-departmental commitment and accountability, and 3) an overarching data-driven culture. Departments with the most successful integration, marketing, and strategy agree that top-down value is critical to success.
- Areas of the organization that face more challenges to integration have issues at the opposite end of the spectrum as do those with successful integration. Specifically, these areas lack top-down value and commitment and experience a lack of consistent use. For others, the issue is simply a lack of awareness that the map exists.
- Organizations that create their map with a combination of internal and external resources (i.e., a market research firm) experience stronger positive sentiment towards and value placed on their map. Those who develop their map using internal resources and an external vendor:
- Use it more frequently across initiatives,
- Feel more strongly that the map contributes value to the organization by increasing ROI and progress towards becoming a customer-centric organization, and
- Find it more effective for measuring KPIs.
One hypothesis for these results could be that the internal investment generates buy-in among staff and leaders, while harnessing an external third-party lends credibility and validity to the effort.