Using Customer Journey Mapping to grow your capability for Outside-In Thinking

Nina Muhleisen | 23 February 2017


We all know the customer is important but how do we become customer-centric?

I don’t know about you but my LinkedIn and Twitter feeds are filled with people talking about customer experience and how we all need to put the customer at the centre of our organisations. But how do we do this?

It starts with Outside-In Thinking. We need to stop thinking from our business perspective and make decisions not just with our customers in mind but to start thinking like our customers. Depending on your business this will change slightly but at the heart of it our customers are wanting simple, easy, and real time responses and we need to be able to respond accordingly.

Elon Musk is a perfect example of how this should work. He is active on Twitter for a start and a customer tweeted about trying to charge his car at one of the superchargers and wasn’t able to do so because other Tesla owners had parked their car and gone shopping taking up a valuable spot. In six days Elon had not only responded but had executed a fix. That’s listening and responding to customers. That’s action and that’s what it takes to succeed in today’s digital age.

But if your business is like mine – then your internal departments probably aren’t effectively communicating with each other, and this makes it really difficult to respond to customer concerns the way Tesla did, let alone implement an outcome in six days.

So this puts us in a difficult position to become a world class organisation, or achieve our goal to strengthen our relationships with our core customers by investing in sustainable innovations.

We need to change how we work to ensure that we are delivering end to end solutions for the customer that are simple, easy and responsive.

Delivering end to end solutions?

Customers don’t care about how your organisation is set up, and nor should they. They want a seamless experience. To have a chance at being successful the first thing you are going to need to do is get through those organisational boundaries. Bringing everyone in a room together not just to talk about where you want to be, but reflect on where you are today and the gaps that you are going to need to fill and who is responsible for these outcomes.

At ANZ we ran workshops, we grouped a small set of our executives together and we mapped our current state. But mapped it from our customers perspective (back to Outside-In Thinking). We looked at the whole ecosystem, from when they start to think about engaging with us, to when we deliver the product and the service following that. Then used customer data including listening to calls and complaints to really show what was happening. This had a pretty big shock factor. When you put the customer at the centre and back it up with data it’s hard to argue the results, all of a sudden the usual politics has nowhere to stand. These powerful maps were customer journey maps.

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping is all about telling a story. From the dawn of time storytelling has been used to engage people and to teach. Journey mapping is no different, it should tell the story of your business from the customer’s perspective.

Often organisations are great at collecting data, but data and spreadsheets (as much as I personally love them) often fail to really communicate a customer’s joy, excitement, frustration and anger.

A journey map should help a designer understand the context of its users. For managers it should provide an overview of the customer experience helping them to identify opportunities to enhance that experience. But most of all, the customer journey map puts the customer at the centre of your thinking as an organisation, it demonstrates how social media and the digital age have changed the customer behaviour and demonstrates the need for the entire organisation to adapt.

Tips for creating a successful customer journey map

  • Do your research first – analyse your customer data, talk to customers, and know the current state, what are your peers and competitors doing? Do not map your customer journey thinking you know exactly what your customer wants and thinks – you’re too close. Outside-In Thinking is essential.
  • Get all the important stakeholders in the room – lock them away, establish ownership through engaging them in the process. They need to experience what your customers are experiencing. Play customer calls. Listen and analyse complaints, walk them through all the steps and make it visual so the process, successes and pain points are clear. Do not map the journey on your own.
  • Review the map, critically and often – look at the areas for improvement and what your future state will be. Develop your end to end strategy, get someone in to challenge you who doesn’t know the process, assign owners for the whole process and business owners for building blocks of work to come. It is also essential to think about how this journey aligns with other journeys, look at what are the capabilities your business needs that will generate economies of scale and consistency in service. Don’t map and then do nothing with it – it will leave all those senior stakeholders with a sour taste in their mouth and your customers unfulfilled.

Customer journey mapping is a critical step to developing Outside-In thinking and therefore enabling us to strengthening our relationship with core customers by investing in sustainable solutions and therefore progressing us on our journey to being a world class bank.