In most organizations, the customer journey touches almost every department. It needs to – the entire purpose of the company’s existence is to generate profit by meeting customers’ needs.
All of these departments exist for the same reason, however, and the processes they complete influence the customer experience. In order to streamline that experience throughout all the departments in an organization, the customer journey map needs to be addressed in a uniform way throughout every department.
This is relatively easy for small businesses to handle, but it gets progressively more challenging as the organization grows. Larger businesses have a wide surface area for interacting with customers, and keeping those interactions on-brand requires hosting creative workshops that encourage employees to adequately contribute to the customer journey.
Establishing the Customer Journey Map
Every customer’s interaction with an organization is a journey. The sales funnel that turns interested passersby into customers doesn’t stop with their purchase or subscription. It begins a new story that your organization is now responsible for.
This story might start with the sales or marketing team’s efforts to point customers towards the best option for meeting their needs. It may then turn to customer service to help customers make the most of their purchases. It could also redirect to the IT department to solve technical issues, or to an account manager who can navigate multiple interactions while upselling additional products and services to your existing customer base.
Journey mapping is the process of defining the buyer’s journey through these steps. Organizations that do this are better equipped to handle the multifaceted needs of modern customers and are empowered to sell additional products and services more successfully.
Journey Mapping: Key to Interdepartmental Coordination
A single customer is likely to travel across touchpoints in marketing, sales, and support (among other departments) along their journey. The better these departments cooperate with one another, the more streamlined the customer experience.
When different departments operate according to their own guidelines, with different customer expectations in mind, the result is a fragmented experience. This is the perfect set of conditions for unexpected contingencies and customer frustration.
A successful journey mapping exercise puts all of these departments on equal footing as they concern their respective customer touch points. Without a clear set of guidelines for all departments to follow, every department is on its own when it comes to handling the intersection of customer needs and product offerings. Creative workshops can solve this dilemma by ensuring everyone in the organization is on the same page.
How to Structure a Creative Workshop
The idea behind the creative workshop is stringing together all the departments, according to their roles in the overall customer journey. This means finding ways to understand customer concerns and handle eventual contingencies – even among departments that don’t directly interact with customers.
In order to achieve success, the workshop should incorporate the following elements:
- A Clear Goal. The team must agree on a specific, achievable goal for the workshop. It has to be narrow – you can’t cover every aspect of all user interactions in a single workshop. Start with a single objective, like increasing interdepartmental coordination or discovering user pain points.
- Include the Right People. Your workshop must include team members who can share first-hand knowledge about how the customer journey works. Customer service, sales, marketing, tech staff, and designers should all be part of the discussion, as should higher-level roles like executives, who often don’t see the customer journey up close.
- Do Your Homework. Make sure everyone comes prepared to meet the demands of a journey mapping workshop. Organize the workshop at a convenient place and time for everyone involved and make sure there’s enough time allotted to achieve results – four hours is often enough. Don’t forget supplies, instructions, sticky notes, and a customer journey mapping template.
- Introduce the Workshop. Getting everyone in the same room is just the beginning. A successful workshop organizer teaches attendees how the process works before diving in. This is critical for encouraging contribution for everyone involved. If someone isn’t comfortable with the process, great ideas may end up not being communicated.
- Distribute the Results. When the workshop is over, someone has to digitize the journey map and send it to the people who created it. The resulting flow chart must be readable and accessible, while keeping the concise verbiage of the sticky note format.
In the workshop environment, every department has equal footing in what makes the customer journey unique. Inefficiencies in departments that don’t directly interact with customers can lead to splintered customer experiences that other departments need to deal with. The workshop is the place to predict and plan for dealing with these problems.
When carried out in a strategic, communicative manner, the creative workshop environment empowers employees to fulfill customer needs while accurately predicting their concerns. It unifies departments towards the common goal of serving those customers and delivering an excellent experience throughout every phase of the buyer’s journey.