Customer Journey Mapping the Road to Better Business Value

Customer Journey Mapping the Road to Better Business Value

Before technology grabbed hold of the customer experience, the path to purchase was typically linear. Customers entered the funnel and followed through to the end goal, the point of sale. But, now that consumers have countless ways to connect with prospective companies, leaders must guarantee that every touchpoint greets both current and potential customers with one consistent brand message. Customer journey mapping now stands as the essential tool for understanding consumer behavior in modern contexts.

While customer journey mapping was once reserved for simply pinpointing customer experience issues, companies are now putting this strategy at the heart of the development process. Many prior strategies failed to put the customer at the center of the planning process, but doing so at the onset promises to boost engagement and retention. However, not all brands have reached this stage at the present moment.

The CMO Council’s “Making Personalization Possible” report emphasizes that, while marketers recognize that comprehensive customer journey mapping (44 percent) represents the future for successful, long-term customer relationships, deep understanding of each individual customer doesn’t come easy. While the majority of marketers—86 percent—are unable to personalize experiences across the entire customer journey, many can now better tie such engagements to business impact by focusing on improving retention (69 percent) and acquisition (62 percent) rates. However, only 29 percent of marketers agree that an omnichannel approach to customer engagement holds the key to long-term relationships, despite the fact that this holistic method has become the backbone for effective journey mapping.

For those grappling with the intricacies of customer journey mapping, companies must ask four crucial questions as they develop their analytical strategy:

  1. Which channels do our customers prefer?
  2. How does customer sentiment compare at these various touchpoints?
  3. What inspires customers to choose one channel over another?
  4. How are we interacting with customers on each channel?

Successful journey mapping requires equal parts internal and external analysis, as assessing this level of incoming data will be rendered null and void if the brand itself doesn’t have the correct processes in place behind the scenes. Determining customer pain points might offer guidance, but said information serves little purpose if companies don’t have the appropriate protocols for response established. Leaders must also realize that issues need to be identified and rectified in real time. Everything’s instantaneous now, and customers pursue relationships with companies that demonstrate competency and concern at every stage of their overall journey.

For each moment of truth, brands must be ready, willing, and able to service customers. Sure, it seems daunting to position customer service representatives at every available touchpoint, but there’s no longer one or two points of entry where the customer journey begins. Instead, today’s journey seems more like a maze—there may be more than one starting point, but only one path leads to the desired destination. Leaders must ensure that consumers don’t hit any roadblocks along the way.

Brands must also establish one unified brand message to stand guard at each possible moment of truth. Like people, companies have one opportunity to make their best first impression. If one or more channels fail to maintain this level of consistency, brands risk losing business from any prospect that enters the pipeline at said touchpoints. Analyzing the interactions that take place at each touchpoint will better equip team members to handle future engagements, as they’ll be familiar with potential problems and prepared to take the next-best action in cases where issues arise. Operations cannot possibly run smoothly 24/7, so it’s proactive and practical to teach all employees how to manage these contact channels in the case of crisis or dissatisfaction.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to customer journey mapping or its subsequent back-end adjustments and improvements. However, its underlying value remains undisputed. If brands wish to truly embody the concept of customer-centric DNA—the pinnacle of modern CX for today’s leading companies—leaders must tailor their technique to correspond with the wants and needs of their customers. Journey mapping, though often belated, presents brands with the opportunity to gain deeper insight into every aspect of the overarching customer experience.

Customer experience management ultimately serves as the cornerstone for successful journey mapping endeavors. Without an efficient, long-term CEM strategy, it’s almost impossible to put customer data to good use. Technology has only inflated the volume of Big Data insights, so it’s up to every given company to determine their current CEM maturity level in context with today’s evolving behaviors. Employee involvement, however, can give less advanced brands the upper hand in this highly competitive environment.

Internal branding now stands as one of the greatest differentiators across all industries. Outward relationships depend upon an internal culture that not only puts the consumer first, but also puts employees n the driver’s seat. By establishing an internal culture that highlights each employee’s impact on the customer experience, customer centricity isn’t just learned—it’s lived throughout the entire organization. Internal branding brings the desire for unified messaging to the frontlines, as employees recognize that they hold the power to make or break customer relationships.

Thus, customer journey mapping provides insight into consumer behaviors, which influences the way employees uphold brand promise, which in turn, circles back to the customer experience. Everything’s intertwined, but it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to manage and maintain CX. Customer centricity will always be the key ingredient for satisfying, long-term relationships, but it’s up to each brand whether to serve it up hot or cold.

About the Authors

Dennis Gershowitz is founder and principal of DG Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in driving service revenues and profits through the development and implementation of customer experience management (CEM) strategy and service operations improvements. Contact Dennis at


Bill Moore is VP of CRMI. He designs and delivers CEM best practices workshops, as well as CEMPRO employee loyalty, training and retention programs, that result in the increasing customer satisfaction, employee retention, and profitability for CRMI clients.

The Impact of Customer Experience, the Differentiator in Today’s Marketplace

The Impact of Customer Experience, the Differentiator in Today’s Marketplace

In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, customers have more choices than ever before in how to acquire products and services. And, they expect the shopping experience, the buying process, and the subsequent support for those products and services to be as frictionless as possible.

That end-to-end customer experience (CX), which I view as the totality of the lifecycle between the customer and the provider, is now viewed by many organizations as the key differentiator between themselves and their competitors. In fact, a recent report by Gartner surmises that companies see themselves in an “customer experience battlefield.” Not surprisingly, 89 percent of the executive polled for that report believe that CX will prove to be the primary basis for competition in the coming years.

We’ve all heard and read the compelling statistics around the revenue impact of satisfying the customer. A recent McKinsey study, for example, found that e-commerce spending for new customers averaged $24.50—and more than doubled to $52.50 on average for repeat e-commerce customers. But it doesn’t take a data scientist to know that is it’s easier and more profitable to retain existing customers than it is to find new ones. As the adage says, “Customers vote with their feet.” In the brick-and-mortar world, customers simply walk out and find another business that will meet their expectations.

Today, they’re also just as likely to let everyone else know how they voted by posting that poor experience on social media. Consumers are likely to post a positive customer experience on social media about 30% of the time, but tend to post about negative experiences 45% of the time, according to a recent study conducted by Dimensional Research for ZenDesk.

In today’s digital world consumers rely on a variety of channels to interact with the organizations they choose to do business with. Understanding customers’ preferred contact channels and then aligning the appropriate resources and assets are essential to meeting customers’ expectations and maintaining strong relationships. Consider the contact center and how interaction analytics can help optimize the customer experience.

Achieving ideal customer outcomes is the result of getting the balance right between all the elements associated with customer’s interactions in your contact center. Interaction analytics play a powerful role in uncovering how to optimize a customer’s experience.

Common factors that can influence the customer’s degree of satisfaction when dealing with an organization’s contact center include:

  • Agent competency issues
  • Systematic issues (IVR, telephony, etc.)
  • Process issues
  • Unpredicted or predicted product, service or event issues
  • Billing issues
  • Technical support, password resets, etc.


Interaction analytics can uncover these issues so companies can address them. But organizations also need to recognize and respond to the unique expectations customers have based on the contact intent, such as customer support, sales, or financial services. The matrix below show some common customer expectations by function objective, along with the key performance metrics that interaction analytics measures to determine strong and weak points in agents’ activities and the impact each has on outcomes.



This is great, right? Analytics can reveal why customers are calling—and how your operations, processes, systems and, specifically, your agents are handling issues. But how can you leverage this technology to improve customer experience and outcomes? CallMiner has an online ROI calculator that can provide you with a glimpse into how interaction analytics can help optimize your contact center customer experience.

But first, let’s look at some examples of interaction analytics in action:

One company in the tourism industry using speech and text analytics was able to correlate talk and handle times and then make adjustments that led to a lift of 26% in its customer satisfaction score and increase its average revenue per booking—while simultaneously reducing its cancelation rate. As one executive in the organization said, “We turned our contact centers from an operational expense to a profit center.”

An organization in the exercise equipment industry used interaction analytics to dramatically reduce average call handle time and call abandonment rates. This, in turn, improved the company’s call/agent handling ratios. These operational efficiencies led to an 8% reduction in manpower cost per shift for headcount to manage call volumes.

The contact center is just one touchpoint where analytics can reveal opportunities to optimize CX and boost profitability in the process. So, it’s easy to see that improving customer experience across channels can lead to significant increases in customer retention rate and revenue per customer, and provide better overall outcomes.

About the Author
Brian LaRoche is Director, Account Based Marketing, and is responsible for direct and channel outbound marketing programs for CallMiner. In addition to his marketing responsibilities, he is the host and moderator of CallMiner’s popular Monthly Education Webinar series. LaRoche, a call center industry veteran, is a frequent guest speaker, panelist, and guest columnist on myriad customer service, technical, collections, sales, and leadership topics related to the analytics field.

Three Barriers to Integrating CX Into a Company’s DNA

Three Barriers to Integrating CX Into a B2B Company’s DNA

One of my favorite commercials of all time is from United Airlines. In this powerful, one-minute segment, a CEO is in a conference room with all his managers. He informs them that their oldest customer just fired them because the customer felt he didn’t know them anymore. “Things have to change,” the CEO says. “We can’t hide on the phone any longer. We are going to go see every customer we have.” He then hands out United Airline tickets for the management team to visit over 200 cities beginning the same day.

This is a wonderful vignette around the power of a customer-centric strategy and how to incorporate it into the DNA of a company. This commercial was shot in 1990 during a wave of discussion and research around the value of a customer-centric strategy. From a business perspective, analysts such as Don Pepper and Martha Rogers were conducting research into customer-led strategies. Authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma published “The Discipline of Market Leaders.” In academic research, models for defining and measuring customer focus (MKTOR) and determining the value of such a strategy to businesses were also being deeply explored.

The customer is in firm control

The net is we’ve known and been clear about the value of a customer-centric strategy since the 1990s. We have evidence and case studies that show results of a customer-centric approach include higher margins, higher client satisfaction scores, reductions in cost to serve, improved revenue growth, and an increase in employee satisfaction.

What has changed since the 1990s is the how much power and control the customer now has in the digital age. The pressure from customers being in firm control of their buying process is finally affecting the adoption of customer-centric strategies by B2B firms. Whether B2B firms lost or never had customer focus, it is becoming apparent that a customer-centric strategy is now required to win. Pivoting from a product-centric or operational-centric strategy to a customer-centric strategy pays off.

While there is a lot of excitement around the return to customer-focus, there are unique challenges to changing company DNA to be reflective of a customer-centered pivot. Three main challenges include leadership, defining customer ownership, and how marketing uses technology.


In practical terms, customer focus must be pervasive and measured to have the desired effect. It starts with the CEO and the executive team and trickles down to every person in the company. Customer focus must move from “talk” to “walk,” and having KPIs and MBOs for every part of the company associated to customer delight are ways to measure adoption. It’s not possible to transform into a customer-centric organization without belief and behavior starting at the top and cascading to every part of the organization. Just like the CEO in the United Airlines commercial. His flight was to go see the customer who fired them.

Gut Check: Are the behaviors of your company’s executives indicative of a customer-focus?

Who owns the customer?

Coming to terms with “who owns the customer” is a battle in many companies. In companies that are sales led (like many B2B companies), the sales organization often takes great exception to marketing telling them about the customer. The sales organization has always had firsthand and often the only relevant knowledge about the customer. Those days are gone. Marketing now has the most knowledge about the customer through millions of digital interactions. Marketing takes a leadership role in understanding customers as it acquires more knowledge about them and is instrumental in creating customer engagement throughout the entire life cycle. In this scenario, marketing works with every part of the company that touches the customer to create one view of each customer and to create a flawless customer experience.

Gut Check: Do you have a defined and agreed upon customer life cycle map in which each part of the organization understands its role and all actions are orchestrated to create a flawless experience for the customer?

Technology as the enabler

Technology is at the center of operationalizing a customer centric strategy. It is the enabler for consumer and customer control of the buying journey. It is creating the pressure to pivot to a customer-centric strategy. And, it is the answer to operationalizing a customer-centric strategy. In this technology-rich environment, the marketing operations group has emerged to use technology and data to detail and provide relevant customer insights to the CMO and to the organization. In large part, it is the work of the marketing operations group that allows marketing to be the “expert” on the customer.

Gut Check: Is your marketing operations function customer-driven and do it provide key customer insights for organizational decision making?

Take action

I most often see companies tackle CX in silos and with disparate processes and technologies. I also see this same scenario within marketing departments. Once they begin these one-off projects, they begin to claim they are now customer-centric.

Nothing could be further from the truth. To integrate CX into the DNA of a company requires belief and action from the top that trickles down to every person in the organization. It requires some tough talks between customer-facing teams such as marketing, sales, and customer service around who owns the customer—and the answer should be: We all do.

Finally, it requires a customer-centric marketing operations group that is customer-focused and proves it by sharing customer data and insights for improved organizational decision making.



Debbie QaqishAbout the Author:

Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, and The Queen of Revenue Marketing,™ a term she coined in 2011. Debbie manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives.

Debbie is author of Rise of the Revenue Marketer, Chancellor of Revenue Marketing University, and host of WRMR Power TalkRadio for Revenue Marketing Leaders, which showcases marketing executives from companies like GE and Microsoft sharing advice on marketing transformation. A PhD candidate, Debbie teaches an MBA course at College of William & Mary on Revenue Marketing.

In March 2016, Kapost named Debbie among the Top 40 Most Inspiring Women in Marketing. For the last five years, Debbie has been named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. She has also won SLMA’s Top 20 Women to Watch distinction. In 2014 FierceCMO Magazine named Debbie one of the Top 10 Women CMOs to Watch.

Connect with Debbie via LinkedIn, email: or phone: 770-331-4443. And, to learn more about what it takes to integrate CX into the company DNA, read “7 Hallmarks of Transformation.”