In this series of posts, we examine some of the top mistakes companies make in their customer experience management efforts. This post examines mistake #10: Mapping Your Internal Touchpoints. Companies often confuse internally-focused touchpoint mapping with externally-focused customer journey mapping.

One of the core customer experience tools is customer journey mapping, a process of examining how customers view their relationship with an organization. These efforts are extremely valuable for identifying key moments of truth and providing an accurate assessment of customer experience. They also serve to identify priorities for voice of the customer (VoC) programs.

While these projects can be an asset to customer experience management programs, they can also go awry. How? By using traditional quality and process methodologies for examining touchpoints. Consulting groups (vendors and internal groups) are often familiar with process/touchpoint mapping projects. These efforts examine the specific touchpoints that the company has with customers, in order to drive more efficiencies. These approaches can lead to sub-optimal results because they:

  • Rely on internal analysis. These efforts often spend a lot of time examining internal processes. While this type of activity can be valuable, they are much more helpful when done in the context of how customers view their interactions with the organization.
  • Ignore some customer touchpoints. When companies look internally, they often miss key touchpoints that aren’t in the “scope of effort” for the project. For instance, a project looking at the cable TV installation process may miss an issue with how expectations are set during the purchase process.
  • Lack emotional design components. Touchpoint mapping efforts often lead to redesigning of internal processes. But these changes are based on efficiency goals, not customers’ emotional needs.
  • Have a short shelf-life. Since these are viewed as consulting projects, the results are often only applied to an initial set of recommendations.

Here are some tips for avoiding this mistake:

  • Assume that customers view their journey differently than you do. This will force you to do the research to understand how customers perceive their entire relationship. You will often find elements you weren’t expecting, including interactions with other people/organizations you never recognized or touhpoints with your company that you never recognized as being important. One of the ways to do this is to reframe the objective in customer terms. For instance, find out how “customers want to buy” not “how we can sell.”
  • Uncover differences across customer segments. It’s unusual for all customers to share identical journeys. So you need to identify the key differences and build out  journey map for the key segments. Sometimes the steps may look similar, but the way that they perceive your company can be quite different.
  • Answer three questions. Push hard to answer these three questions: 1) What are the most important touchpoints; 2) How are we doing in those key touchpoints; 3) What can we do to improve the customers’ perception of those touchpoints.
  • Invest in a lasting framework, not a one-time project. A good customer journey map should establish a common understanding of customer needs that drives a number of things across the company: educating employees about customer needs and desires, prioritization of listening posts for voice of the customer programs, identification of acute and chronic issues to improve, and opportunities for driving strong brand preference from customers.

The bottom line: Map your customers’ journey, not your internal touchpoints.

This blog post was originally published by Temkin Group prior to its acquisition by Qualtrics in October 2018.