At the Insights NEXT conference in Chicago, Jean Fasching of Heart of the Customer and Janie Schumaker of the Board of Certified Emergency Nurses (BCEN) shared their metajourney – their journey from inception to research to implementation of customer journey mapping.

Janie credits the insights from the journey map, and the actions it inspired, to helping her and her team move from stagnant levels to growing the number of new customers (nurses certified for the first time) 11% last year, while dramatically overhauling the brand, website, and servicing of customers to improve their journeys.

But, first, the big picture.

Jean made it clear that journey mapping is a CX (Customer Experience) best practice. A 2016 survey by Forrester found that 88% of CX professionals are mapping customer journeys, and a separate Temkin Group survey reported that 60% of CX pros planned to increase the amount of journey mapping work they were doing.

“Journey mapping enables a strong ROI”: 18% of companies with customer journey management programs derive ROI from customer referrals, vs. 5% of all other companies; 25% from a return on marketing investment, vs. 16% of all others, according to Aberdeen group.

Yet despite this positive ROI, CX professionals lamented that journey maps don’t always drive action: 65% did not rate their journey map as successful, with the most common reason being a lack of action. If a prospect tells you they want to “map their customer experience” that’s a red flag; a journey-mapping exercise should be driven by a business goal.

According to another survey, the three most critical factors to the success of a journey-mapping initiative are involving broad cross-functional teams (60%), involving customers in the process (53%), and selecting the right journey to map (43%).

Journey mapping teams typically involve CX (78%), customer service (67%), marketing (61%) and operations (59%). They need to involve the following groups more: Insights/MR (46%), IT (30%), and HR (7%).

The five journey-mapping questions to ask:

  1. What’s the business problem or opportunity?
  2. What’s the right journey to map?
  3. Who’s the right customer to map?
  4. What’s the right approach?
  5. Who needs to be on the team?

Case Study

Janie Schumaker of BCEN then shared her case study, and how her organization answered the five questions:

  1. What’s the business problem or opportunity? BCEN had flat first-time certification levels despite a large market (nurses in the emergency setting).
  2. What’s the right journey to map? BCEN wanted to understand the customer journey for nurses looking to certification for the first time and for those applying for re-certification.
  3. Who’s the right customer to map? RNs engaging with BCEN.
  4. What’s the right approach? Given the busy schedule of RNs, the team decided to do online/digital ethnographies, aiming for at least 30 with each group (first time, repeat).
  5. Who needs to be on the team? Most of the then-8-person organization was involved, representing strategy, operations, events, candidate experience, IT, and channels.

The research resulted in mapping the customer journey for four personas. One of the shocking findings was the negative emotions for much of the initial journey: nervousness, uncertainty, anxiety, and sadness if the candidate failed the test. It wasn’t until a nurse learned if she or he passed the test that they experienced a positive emotion (ecstatic).
This emotional journey was humbling for BCEN, and the organization realized that it needed to work towards giving positive emotions, providing support and encouragement. For instance, one of the changes implemented was to provide a course on reducing test anxiety.

The research drove a major initiative around rebranding, updating the website, and collecting testimonials. Especially important was exposing newcomers to the voices of nurses who had successfully pursued certification and highlighting the positive emotion around that: 90% of certified emergency nurses said holding the CEN gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride. Sample testimonial: “I realized what an amazing value these nurses were providing to others – they held the power to comfort and inform during times of crisis. It shifted my perspective and I understood then that the point of this short life is to add value to the lives of others. I found the why behind the what.”

The result of the research and the action taken as a result of it was an increase in candidate volume by 11%, to over 50,000 candidates in 2018, with an increase in recertification volume by 9%.