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August 19, 2020

Why Customer Journey Mapping Is Crucial

Summary:

Journey mapping alone cannot create an engaging customer experience but is a powerful tool as part of a larger strategy.

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High-touch brands and industries have led consumers to expect that they can interact with brands whenever they want, however they want. These omni-channel expectations have become especially difficult for insurers, many of whom were already lagging other industries in terms of digital and self-service capabilities. 

Every brand touchpoint that insurance carriers offer can serve as both an opportunity and a risk—while positive interactions will build customer relationships and build trust, a subpar experience can have the opposite effect. Journey mapping is often the first step insurers take in engineering these experiences. 

Journey maps identify, visualize and describe every single brand touchpoint, including getting a quote, filing a claim, making a policy change and paying a bill. In a sense, they serve as a guide for marketers to build out an omni-channel experience. They can help identify gaps in the experience as well as find critical moments for consumers, whether rational or emotional. Successful journey mapping can help drive customer engagement, loyalty and trust, which boosts an insurer’s image and the bottom line. 

Making Journey Maps That Matter

Journey maps can also allow insurers to visualize user experiences over a particular time period. While customers may be the group that come to mind for most marketers, insurance organizations should also be mindful of the agent and employee experience. Some journey maps focus on all three groups at once. 

As with any new project, the best journey maps require structure. Organizations need to establish a clear framework, set of goals and defined scope for journey maps. This is especially important as journey maps can serve as a common point of reference for teams all across an insurer, including product teams, underwriting, operations, data science and marketing. Each department has a unique view of the customer journey and can identify gaps that other teams might not notice. 

Companies that have successfully generated an outside-in journey map standardized guiding principles across the organization, got feedback from distribution partners and had executive sponsors offering governance. Journey mapping is an iterative process, so the more involvement from varying departments across an insurer, the better. 

See also: COVID: Agents’ Chance to Rethink Insurance

What Goes on a Journey Map?

Not every journey map will be composed of the same elements, just as not every insurer has the same customer touchpoints. The format of a journey map depends on what business problems an insurer needs to address and which teams are involved. There are some commonalities, however. 

Most journey maps include some of the following features:

  • The journey’s stages
  • The steps of each stage 
  • Actors and personas 
  • Triggers 
  • List of challenges and perceived obstacles 
  • Brand touchpoints 
  • Data and analytics requirements

The team in charge of designing a journey map analyzes every stage of the journey from a customer perspective. What is the customer thinking, feeling or experiencing along the way? Pinpointing specific moments of excitement or frustration for customers is pivotal if an insurer wants to generate an outside-in picture of their customer journey. 

Above all, journey mapping should be founded on the principles noted earlier. There should be cross-departmental governance to ensure engagement and a customer focus. Insurers should also be sure to establish a measurement framework with stated key performance indicators (KPIs) describing success along the customer journey.

KPIs commonly include metrics such as customer satisfaction survey scores, behavior metrics like time to completion and call-center volume relative to digital. The scope of the project should remain fixed on the customer journey to ensure the story line feels realistic and to keep progress on track. 

Journey mapping alone cannot mitigate the challenges of creating an engaging customer experience, but they are a powerful tool insurers can use as part of a larger strategy. Often, the collaboration involved in creating a journey map is just as important as the map itself.

To learn more about the components of a journey map and how to launch a successful journey mapping project, read Novarica’s full report, Customer Journey Mapping: Key Issues and Best Practices.

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About the Author

Paul Legutko is vice president of digital marketing and analytics at Novarica. Legutko has 20 years of experience in research and analysis, with a specialty in designing and applying analytical solutions to a wide range of data sets and problems.

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