An Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping for Omnichannel Customer Engagement

Many companies today acknowledge that the customer experience is the business differentiator in their industry. As a result, contact center directors are focused on improving the customer experience by adopting omnichannel and increasing digital self-service options. At the same time, however, the customer service landscape is growing increasingly complex, making it difficult to achieve these goals. Customer journey mapping can help.

According to Ventana Research, customers use on average eight different communication channels when engaging with a company. These include traditional channels like phone and mail, as well as digital channels like social media, chat and mobile apps. To further complicate matters, customer interactions are not limited to the contact center. Every business group engages with customers in one form or another. Furthermore, the channels and groups are disconnected. As a result, customers must repeat information, they can’t use their preferred channel, and the responses they receive are often inconsistent.

This is where a customer journey map can be of particular value. The concept of customer journey mapping is well known in sales circles, as they are often used to guide customer acquisition efforts. When applied to customer service, a customer journey map depicts how a customer engages with your company to accomplish specific tasks. It can tell you which channels a customer used and which departments they engaged with, and in what order.

The key to using customer journey maps to achieve omnichannel customer engagement is to look at micro journeys, rather than macro journeys. For example, you might look at the path customers take for billing inquiries or when filing a complaint. Once visualized, the micro journey can be analyzed to determine the root cause of service issues. You can also determine how information must be shared between the channels to ensure a consistent customer experience during that journey.

Customer journey mapping can also help reduce operating costs by giving you the insights needed to optimize and influence customer journeys. For instance, you can reduce the number of channels customers must use to complete a task. If customers primarily go first to self-service tools to update their contact information, but they end up completing the task via a call center agent, you can reduce those calls by giving customers the tools to update their contact information online.

Similarly, you can use the insights gathered from customer journey mapping to influence which channels customers use. Perhaps you inform callers via the IVR that they can update their contact information easier and faster by going online and using the self-service tools rather than speaking with a customer service agent.

Customer journey mapping can also help you reduce customer interactions altogether by enabling you to identify the reason they contact you in the first place. For example, you can identify whether a certain product is faulty or if the installation instructions are unclear. You can then act on these root causes to reduce the need for customers to contact you about them.

Customer journeys will only grow increasingly complex as engagement channels continue to proliferate. Customer journey mapping can help you adopt an omnichannel approach to customer engagement, as well as fine tune the journey so that you can differentiate the customer experience and reduce costs. And isn’t that what every contact center strives for?

Download the Ventana Research eBook, “Overcoming Customer Engagement Obstacles” to learn more about customer journey maps.