Collaborative customer journey mapping for retail success

1328372_57165107Customer journey mapping is not new. Since the dawn of retail, companies have strategised around at how shoppers engage with products and services.

However, the evolution of the process to a collaborative approach involving different teams, stakeholders, and experts to deliver shopper value across different touchpoints is fairly recent.

The rise of omni-channel has seen a parallel increase in the use and relevance of co-created customer journey mapping to develop innovative strategy.

To deliver shopper value in an increasingly fragmented digital society, brands are going back to the drawing board and truly representing different customer touchpoints in a collaborative design process.

Like omni-channel, collaborative customer journey mapping is a mandatory ‘hype’ that companies need to consider – but few do so really well.

As the number of customer touchpoints increases with time and deeper brand engagement, so will the number of stakeholders involved in journey mapping. And, it will get harder to maintain quality and consistency across the entire experience.

Getting true value out of collaborative customer journey mapping relies on a few things:

  • Context of the mapping has to be identified. All too often, there is confusion around whether the process is being conducted to achieve product or project efficiencies or long term sustainable growth. The involvement of different business units can be determined by contextualising the role and relationship of the customer with the organisation and its products or services.
  • Involvement of multiple stakeholders across the organisation. Brands have to become more vested in collaborating internal and external teams on the premise of co-creation and workshopping. Truly effective mapping starts with the mining of knowledge within the business by experts to identify the gaps between channels, platforms and / or departments. The broader the range of customer experience across platforms and devices, higher will be the number of stakeholders involved.
  • Combining real ‘customer conversations’ with analytical research. Getting teams to ‘put a face to the customer’ and start thinking from their perspective by combining analytical and anecdotal research is of paramount importance. Relying solely on data can be detrimental to effective customer journey mapping – as much as not analysing existing data to bring about change.
  • Ranking priorities and take bite sized items. Co-creation led customer journey mapping starts with the identification of key touch points, rating them on efficiencies and doing a gap analysis for priorities and opportunities. Prioritising helps in reviewing the transformation and disruptive impact of the mapping outcomes on the business; and, taking smaller steps to the entire customer / user experience spectrum.
  • Collaboratively unlocking business knowledge. Mapping and planning performed collaboratively, and almost instantaneously, helps in development of a tangible customer experience framework that everyone agrees with. Agencies, experts and external stakeholders are no longer ‘middle-men’ in the process of journey mapping. Rather than going away and strategising on the brief, more brands are placing value on co-created customer journey frameworks that identify actionable outcomes at mapping stage.

As technology continues to disrupt, truly collaborative customer journey mapping will enable brands to be proactive, instead of reactive, to trends and to develop sustainable solutions that contextualise the product or service around customer lives.

Karen Spear is GM of MashUp. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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