Fun fact: the first questionnaire was designed in 1838 by the Statistical Society of London. You’ll be surprised how little the overall design of the questionnaire has changed in the 180 years since then. The design of questionnaire’s can have a significant impact on the experience of giving feedback and thus the quality/ quantity of feedback. This applies to both customer listening as well as customer journey mapping.
Traditionally all customer listening (Voice of Customer or VoC survey) activities are carried out separately from journey mapping. As a business finds its footing and realizes the importance of customer feedback, it puts a formal VoC program in place. The program typically consist of a system of gathering customer feedback (mostly through surveys), analyzing them and then acting/ reporting on them. In its early days a VoC system can be scrappy with poorly designed surveys. Brands often forget that surveys are a touch-point too and play a key role in enabling the experience of ‘sharing feedback.’ The customers are quick to notice such shortcomings and often take to social media to complain.
As the VoC program evolves, the team gets other parts of the organization involved and redesigns its surveys to cast a wider net. The survey is re-structured to include sections for product, marketing, sales, service, etc. The relevant customer feedback now gets pushed out to each organization. They take action and report on them. Over time these VoC programs evolve to include other listening channels like social media, online forums etc.
Customer Journey Mapping
Journey mapping on the other hand is far more involved than VoC surveys. As the organization matures (on the CX maturity scale), it starts realizing the value of getting the outside-in perspective of the customers end-to-end experience. Unlike the VoC program, the journey mapping provides the following insights at each stage & touch-point: what is the customer doing, how effective are the interactions, and how does the customer feel about the experience. Depending on how they are set up, journey maps can also capture other useful details about the interactions including artifacts like photos, videos etc.
The journey maps help the business understand the moments of truth and uncover pain points that would’ve otherwise remained hidden in plain sight. They can help employees achieve a common understanding of how the customers perceive their interactions with the brand, and align the organization towards achieving a common CX goal (and deliver on the brand promise). It can also provide useful insights to help the business measure the impact of CX improvement initiatives over time.
At it’s core journey mapping is very similar to customer listening or VoC. Both activities help a business understand it’s customers, their needs, their experiences (and frustrations), and use the feedback to design & deliver better experiences. Why then do we carry out these activities separately? and often have different departments carrying them out? Beats me. Wouldn’t it be better (for the business as well as its customers) to take advantage of synergies that can be?
At Simplify we offer listening and mapping solutions that can be deployed together – to gather customer feedback, map their journey, analyze it, and simplify the customer’s experience. We’ve designed the solutions such that the entire organization can be engaged in the process.