Image by: Jirsak, ©2016 Getty Images

As we begin 2017, many enterprises are under pressure to improve their customer experiences. It is becoming increasingly common for enterprises to use customer journey mapping tools to understand the touchpoints a customer, prospect, or an employee engages with during his/her entire experience with the enterprise. When enterprises go through this exercise, they are often surprised to find out just how many touchpoints each one of these groups experience.

Once the map starts to develop, some frustration begin to creep in. The journey map often reveals swim lanes that place these touchpoints within the departments or functional teams that own them. Then, the system and architectural swim lanes become crowded, exposing the complexity involved in the creation, authoring, hosting, and delivery of these communication experiences.

It is at this point that customer journey mapping exposes the enterprise-wide importance of omni-channel customer communication in the context of the entire customer experience life cycle. The journey map defines a line of communication projects that starts with marketing, moves through onboarding, continues through servicing, iterates through correspondence, and results in renewals or cancellations. Then, every point on the line is multiplied by the number of channels required to support it today and tomorrow.

Customer journey mapping exposes the enterprise-wide importance of omni-channel customer communication.

As everyone steps back and looks at the global customer journey map, they start to ask a lot of questions. Some of the questions include:

  • How can I coordinate these communications from an operational perspective?
  • Is it possible to ensure consistency of voice across this portfolio of touchpoints?
  • Who should own the overall communication strategy?
  • How can the journey map be used to optimize the journey for the long term?
As the map develops, it is important to realize which items are the largest and quickest wins, as well as some common problems in the enterprise. Depending on how your enterprise prioritizes items, you will start to look at the problems you can resolve quickly, easily, or for the highest return.

This is where journey mapping intersects with customer communication management (CCM). Before you stop reading because CCM is not as trendy as customer journey mapping, think about your company’s omni-channel strategy. The collection of information technology (IT) and design assets required to deliver the same message to multiple channels is often so large a barrier as to make you and your colleagues feel negative about changes in your communications.

Take another look at your journey map. I bet you see some lackluster communications. Many communications are the way they are because the teams who want to change them are tired of dealing with multiple silos. In 2017, you don’t really have to do it this way any longer.

Let’s look at a way that removes the excuses and crutches many enterprises use as they look at their legacy CCM systems, email and print outsourcing, mobile apps, and other communication systems. In 2017, there will be new projects, new messages, and new regulations that you will need to follow. As you encounter these new challenges, why not start with the channels you don’t have a solution for today? There are new omni-channel CCM tools that can handle a “mobile first” approach that lets you design your mobile communications in a way that allows your data, rules, content, and voice to then extend back to the other channels.

Instead of looking at upgrading all projects at once, or engaging in a “big bang” implementation, consider improving your customer journey in a way that you can later leverage across more channels. In 2017, it will be imperative if you want to remain competitive.

For more information on omni-channel CCM, don't miss GMC Software's special session, "Internal Business Transformation for The Digital Age," at DSF ’17, May 1-3, 2017 in Downtown Chicago.

Scott Draeger is Vice President of Product Management at GMC Software Technology, a provider of multi-channel and highly personalized document outputs for customer communications management. For more information, visit www.gmc.net or follow him on Twitter @scottdraeger.
 

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