Product managers have long been part of product marketing teams, but Kerry Bodine, customer experience expert and coach, says it’s time for businesses to consider a new role: Journey Manager.
“I would argue that every single thing your organization does influences the customer journey,” said Bodine.
Bodine shared her ideas on the journey manager role and responsibilities, as well as a framework for building and managing the customer journey process at DX Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.
The biggest obstacle in the customer journey
Bodine, writes about and provides customer experience consulting to organizations like Adobe, FedEx and IBM, believes silos are the greatest impediment in the customer journey process.
“Silos enable us to do things at scale that would essentially be impossible otherwise, but it’s terrible for our customers who are trying to accomplish things,” said Bodine.
Her take — that customer goals naturally cross different departments, or silos — highlights the fact that the business itself is secondary to whatever it is a customer is trying to accomplish. The key is to focus on your customer’s goals.
5-step process for building the customer journey
“No customer wants to go through your lifecycle,” said Bodine. This is why it’s crucial for companies to understand the customer journey and how each team is supporting the customer’s goal.
Bodine’s framework for building and managing the customer journey is a five-step process:
- Empathize with your customer.
- Define the problem their trying to solve.
- Brainstorm solutions to help your customers meet their goals.
- Prototype solutions.
- Test your prototypes.
Bodine believes that many organizations are so siloed, they forget about empathy and connecting with their customers. “We have to be thoughtful, we have to plan,” said Bodine about the journey mapping process.
The journey manager role
Once a business is able to see what their customer journey is, it has to make sure each silo within the organization is aligned with the journey and focused on seamlessly moving the customer through it. This is where the journey manager role comes in.
Bodine describes the role as, essentially, a product manager, but focused on journeys instead of products. A journey manager understands the customer’s needs and can identify gaps, says Bodine, and can create a long-term vision for the customer journey process. They are also able to pull together all the cross-function stakeholders involved with executing the customer journey process — proactively breaking down the barriers between the silos within an organization.
Journey managers should also be tracking — and measuring — the ongoing impact of the customer experience. The role, she says, is a necessity for businesses that are serious about mending gaps in the customer journey.
Instilling a customer journey mindset
Lastly, Bodine laid out three key initiatives for building a customer journey mindset: listen to customers, measure pivotal points along the journey and move away from aggregated data to more connected data sets.
“You’ve got to listen to your customers tell their stories,” said Bodine. These stories will give you insights into how you’re helping them achieve their goals. Businesses also have to look at all the different data points along the journey to get a clear understanding of how they’re helping their customers — this is where businesses can transition from aggregated to connected data.
“You need to think about creating value all along this customer journey,” said Bodine. If not, businesses are destined to keep making empty promises they cannot deliver on.