Fewer than half of marketers feel confident their organization understands their customer journey. This could be because the sheer number of customer engagement channels available now makes it far more difficult to establish how different points of contact are perceived. Achieving a single view of the customer may be particularly challenging for large multifunctional organizations like utilities compared to smaller companies, for similar reasons—their systems are perhaps just too large and complex to track effectively.
If you (wisely) decide to create a customer journey map to inform you in optimizing your customer experience, there are a few guiding principles to make it as effective as possible.
(1) Base your map on real ethnographic research plus analytics and statistics.
(2) Use a customer persona based on customers’ actual behaviors and specific task functions.
(3) Keep it focused—don’t allow core messages to be lost in details. Don’t get caught up in the multiple routes a user might take—the map is not meant to record every possible aspect of the journey, but rather tell a simple story to focus attention on customers’ needs.
(4) Design the layout carefully—when you brainstorm together to first create the journey map, the process should be rough and ready (for example, sticky notes on the wall). But once the map structure is pinned down, the layout must be finely crafted to rapidly and clearly communicate a great deal of complex data to stakeholders across the company.
(5) Share the map widely—displaying your journey map prominently using physical media (as a desk reference, for example) is particularly effective in getting people across all departments interested and invested in the customer experience.
(6) Make it actionable—be sure your map identifies and proposes specific action points to improve the customer experience. Insights must be used to drive action, leading to actual improvements—maybe even step-shifts in innovation.
(7) Finally, embrace the fact that your map is not a static but a living document—never perfect or exhaustive, always evolving and updating. Encourage all stakeholders and teams to weigh in regularly—and keep it collaborative.
Activating your customer journey map
The practical application of customer journey mapping has historically been out of touch for many utility programs. Many of these maps are created and left to gather dust. Program limitations such as data silos, myriad platforms, and resources spread across a variety of program vendors and internal business units make it challenging to integrate customer journey mapping insights into real world program design and delivery. By implementing a customer engagement platform that brings together all these insights and applies them to omni-channel messaging, customer journey maps can easily be made actionable and measurable, helping you better meet your customers’ needs and achieve goals.
For example, if a customer clicks on a link in a home automation article on the utility’s blog, we can send them an email providing an overview of a demand response program that utilizes smart thermostats, and target them with social media ads for discounted smart thermostats in the utility’s online store. The online store would feature options for both self-install and professional install, with adjusted rebates to match, and an option to automatically enroll in the demand response program. They could even schedule an appointment with an approved trade ally, right in the online store. All of this would happen automatically, based on omni-channel messaging automation tied to their personal customer journey.
Customer journey mapping, informed by the right data, is a highly effective exercise for utilities, encouraging conversation and collaboration across departments, and revealing key insights into the ups and downs of your customer’s entire experience with your business.
Ultimately, though, a map is just a map. To truly optimize the customer experience, this tool must then be used to identify and direct effective action—to help predict and even change customer behavior, and to design relevant and exceptional customer experiences at every touchpoint.
In an ever more complex utility landscape, embracing customer experience management is the critical path forward.
Customer journey maps should evolve. Always remember that the goal is to better understand how your utility interacts with visitors and clients alike, and how to best meet their needs going forward.
For more information on meeting your customers wherever they are in their journey, download our free ebook, The Importance of Journey Building in Program Design.
Do Companies Understand the Customer Journey? eMarketer (2016) https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Do-Companies-Understand-Customer-Journey/1014366
Digital Marketing Strategist
Marketing is always evolving, but Megan Nyquist knows how to stay one step ahead. As an expert in both digital marketing strategy and digital campaign development, she works closely with clients and program marketing staff to develop innovative digital marketing campaigns that improve results and reduce costs. Megan also leads digital marketing training for the Franklin Energy marketing team and our clients. She has achieved trackable customer engagement in our own corporate marketing and effected impressive improvements in satisfaction and participation on behalf of our utility clients. Megan holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University, extensive digital marketing certifications and has won multiple digital marketing awards on behalf of Franklin Energy and our clients.