Should Contact Center Leaders Create a Customer Journey Map?

Contact Center Leader writing on a glass whiteboard to create a customer journey map.

Before you invest in creating a customer journey map, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Contact center leaders are under a lot of pressure. You’re challenged to control or reduce costs while simultaneously improving agent retention and customer satisfaction—in an environment of rapid technology innovation and evolving customer expectations.

While I believe that customer journey mapping is a strategic investment for contact center management, you should consider several factors before committing resources to the project.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer’s experience as they interact with your product or service to accomplish their goal. The map communicates the customer’s perspective, showing the activities, thoughts, and emotions the customer experiences in their journey to achieve their objective.

It’s not a process map, which would show the company’s perspective and document the activities and decisions of employees and systems. Both a customer journey map and a process map are important for improving customer experiences and operational performance.

Customer Journey MapCustomer Perspective
Customers’ experiencesCustomer Goals, Actions, Thoughts, Emotions
Process MapCompany Perspective
Workflows and processesActivities and decisions of employees and systems
Comparison of a Customer Journey Map to a Process Map

Dive Deeper: Journey Map or Process Map? What’s the Difference?

Creating a customer journey map is a significant investment because it requires conducting research—listening and learning from your customers—instead of relying on your own imagination about what customers need and value.

Benefits of Journey Mapping for Contact Centers

Contact centers are often the first point or most frequent point of human interaction between a company and its customers. Whether the customer has a question, a problem, or a request for assistance, the way you handle these interactions impacts customer loyalty.

Because contact centers play a significant role in the customer experience, mapping the customer journey is a valuable investment for several reasons:

  1. Identifying Improvement Opportunities: By mapping the customer journey, contact centers can identify specific opportunities to improve the customer experience, instead of just playing Whac-a-Mole with point points. These opportunities may lie outside the contact center itself.
  2. Enhancing Customer Empathy: When agents empathize with customers, they can deliver better service. Journey maps put contact center agents in their customers’ shoes, promoting a deeper understanding of the customer’s thoughts, emotions, goals, and pain points throughout their journey.
  3. Streamlining Processes: Mapping can reveal unnecessary complexities or redundancies in the customer interaction process, allowing for more streamlined and efficient service—reducing the cost to serve without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
  4. Training and Development: Journey maps can be used as training tools for contact center agents, providing them with a clearer understanding of the customer’s overall experience and how their roles fit into the company’s CX vision.

Challenges and Considerations

While the benefits are clear, you must also consider the challenges or your customer journey map will fail to drive change. Creating an accurate and effective journey map requires resources and a commitment to continuous improvement. It’s not just about drawing a map—it’s about discovering insights about your customers and embedding these data into the operational culture of the contact center.

  1. Resource Allocation: Mapping a customer journey requires time, people, and money. Leaders need to ensure they have the resources to both create the map and act on the insights. Furthermore, the contact center’s staff may not have the skills to conduct qualitative research and understand the customer perspective. You may need an outside partner.
  2. Continuous Improvement: Because customer preferences and behaviors change over time, journey maps should be viewed as living documents, requiring regular updates to remain relevant. It’s not a one-time exercise.
  3. Cross-Departmental Collaboration: A contact center’s efforts in journey mapping can be limited if not supported by other departments. Collaboration across product, marketing, sales, and IT is crucial for a comprehensive view of the customer journey. While the contact center’s process might begin when the phone rings, the customer’s journey began long before.
  4. Organizational Readiness: If your contact center is already in the middle of a massive change to the customer experience, then it’s probably not the best time to begin mapping the customer journey. Wait until your cloud migration, technology implementation, or other initiative is complete and then map the new customer journey.

When to begin…

Just like a couple deciding to have a baby, there’s never a “perfect time” to create a customer journey map. There will always be competing priorities like cost pressure, customer escalations, and new technologies to evaluate.

However, you should put customer journey mapping on your strategic plan. Begin building the business case and assessing organizational readiness. The insights you gain from customer journey mapping will guide your customer experience strategy and show you where to focus your limited resources to achieve maximum benefit.

This post was created as part of the Vistio Knowledge Collective.

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