Four customer journey mapping gaps your business needs to close.

If your customer journey mapping efforts are falling short, odds are that one of these four gaps is to blame.

Customer journey mapping has become a necessary tool in today’s competitive and forever evolving marketplace. It’s not without good reason either, customer journey mapping helps organisations understand what the customer experience currently looks like vs what it should look like.

Among other benefits, journey mapping has proven to drive significant improvements in:

  • Customer AND Employee Experiences.
  • Support customer-centric thinking.
  • Helping to knock down cross-organisational silos that make it difficult for customers to accomplish their goals. 

Awareness and expertise around customer journey mapping continue to expand and organisations are getting better at creating journey maps, however, activating and utilising those maps in ways that measurably drive results continues to be a challenge for many. This is when seeking out expert help becomes essential for continued growth.

The team at HOED Research discussed the four most common “activation gaps” and how business leaders can successfully navigate and close them.

1. Closing the Customer Expectations Gap.

When your business makes certain promises that your customer experiences don’t deliver on, you’re essentially setting expectations that cannot be met – this is a Customer Expectations Gap.

When your business has a customer expectations gap, customer journey maps will usually focus more on solving ‘micro’ touchpoint-level problems as opposed to ‘macro’ issues that affect all journeys – but aren’t always easy to quantify in a map. 

Companies that are successful at closing this gap invest in measuring the experience, make an effort to comprehensively understand expectations and have defined a brand-aligned experience vision. Additionally, the company must support their vision with a strategy to consistently bring its vision to life for customers, employees and other stakeholders. 

Utilising a strategy makes it much easier to design and deliver experiences that cohesively align with your brand. Ultimately, allowing you to leverage insights from your customer journey maps to truly delight your audiences – consistently meeting, or exceeding, their expectations.

2. Closing the Organisational Gap.

This gap happens when the business lacks the organisational capabilities (e.g. existing silos, systems and structure) to properly initiate the solutions to the problems your customer journey maps uncover. So let’s talk about how we can close this gap.

The first and most common way is to link your customer journey map to a view of the processes, people, data, technology, and capabilities that impact the experience. This process gives you a direct line of sight to the systems that may be responsible for some of the issues your journey maps uncover. 

3. Closing the Leadership Understanding Gap.

In some organisations, business leaders become far removed from their customers and what happens on the front line, therefore, what leaders believe to be true about their customers, their experiences, and their journeys may be completely different than what customers truly feel and experience as they engage with an organisation along their journeys. 

This gap most often occurs when ‘data’ about customer experiences isn’t frequently gathered or shared with leadership, or when executives have different perceptions based on personal perceptions or circumstantial information rather than more concrete insights. As a result, leadership tend to have less urgency around prioritising investments or resources to solve the problems that journey maps uncover. 

The best thing to do if your organisation has a leadership understanding gap is to utilise your journey maps and the insights collected to close it. By leveraging customer research, insights and other data from your organisation, journey maps can provide evidential education, which highlights customer issues (and the causes), and develops a better understanding of the importance and value of activating improvements. 

4. Closing the Employee Knowledge and Skills Gap.

This gap occurs when employees lack the skills, knowledge or tools that would allow them to deliver the improved experiences your customer journey maps are identifying as needs. 

Working to uncover and close your customer journey mapping “activation gaps” is a sure-fire way to advance your journey mapping efforts and radically accelerate your customer-centric vision. 

Closing these gaps means that ALL of your people can better understand and deliver on customer and employee expectations in a way that drives successful customer experiences.

The Team at HOED Research have over 28 years of experience and expertise in Customer Journey – Evaluation and Mapping. So if your business is looking to level up, contact us today and let’s make it happen.