Perhaps the most important area to keep it simple is the naming of the actual stages of the customer journey. But just because it should be simple doesn’t mean it’s easy! Naming stages can be incredibly challenging, especially if you’ve been used to using internally-adopted naming patterns (department names?) for so long. However, if you get the names right, this can have a big payoff in aligning your organization.
Jeanne Bliss says further on in her book:
As you take on journey mapping, make your first action gaining agreement on the names of the stage of the journey. This is very important. Naming the customer journey stages begins the shift from independent silo activities to understanding the complete experiences or objectives that customers are trying to achieve as a result of their interactions with you.
It’s helpful to think about every stage as a complete experience, with an outcome where the customer …
- Can state what they were able to accomplish.
- Is clear about the value they received.
- Wants to continue working with you.
- Is compelled to tell others about their experience, product, or service.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following journey stages as a starting point:
Notice how we’re using customer language, not the language of the business. You don’t see “marketing”, “sales”, or “close” up there. The key is to use the language the customer would use.
Also, that list isn’t complete and it’s not specific to your business. Change it. It’s up to you to do the hard work to name the stages and add in the steps that are critical in your customer’s relationship to your business. For example, if you’re buying a house, you probably need an “onboarding” phase, but you’re not going to call it onboarding. You’re going to call it “moving in."¹ You need to do the work of looking at your business from your customer’s point of view to name the stages and tell the story of your customer’s journey.
If you’ve made it this far and are still trying to figure out how to get started, I recommend stepping away from the computer, grabbing pen and paper, and starting to write. If you’re doing the exercise as a team (highly recommended!), get in a (virtual) room and (virtually) whiteboard ideas together. If you’re going to do the work of stepping into your customer’s shoes, you have to get away from the everyday distractions in order for it to be effective.
And remember, your first journey map doesn’t need to be perfect—it needs to be simple, have meaningful names for each stage of the customer journey, and actually be used to help align the leadership team and the organization as a whole. Get that right and you have a key ingredient for customer-driven growth.