Why should your customer journey map always include a manual for editing

Key takeaways:

  • A customer journey map is a valuable tool for outlining marketing strategy and ensuring everyone understands their role.
  • Maintenance and updates are crucial for the effectiveness of a customer journey map but are often neglected over time.
  • Lack of a manual for editing and maintaining the map leads to inconsistency and confusion within the team.
  • The manual should clarify editing rights, reporting procedures, data updating responsibilities, design standards, and sharing protocols.
  • By providing clear guidelines and responsibilities, companies can ensure the longevity and usefulness of their customer journey maps.

A customer journey map is a powerful tool to outline your whole marketing strategy on a single “sheet of paper” that will help everyone in (and outside) your team to see what exactly you as a company are doing and what role every single marketing activity plays on the broader scale.

One issue many companies fall into with customer journey maps is keeping them clean and readable. After the initial enthusiasm of looking at a new, beautifully visualized marketing strategy wanes, the reality that a customer journey map is not the type of thing where you invest some time creating it and then just keep reaping benefits without ever touching it again kicks in. Sometimes this reality kicks in so hard that companies simply decide it’s just not worth the effort to keep it up to date.

In some way they’re correct – if they’re doing the updating and maintenance the wrong way, it’s just a matter of time before they lose patience and pronounce this tool as nice to give you a bird’s-eye-view in the short term (i.e. from the date you create it until you change some of its milestones in the real world), but impossible to work with long-term.

The fault usually lies in the fact that there was no manual to keep the customer journey map correctly maintained and updated in the first place. The companies (or, rather, the people responsible for creating the customer journey map) simply presumed that every other team member would keep editing the customer journey map the exact same way as they were – and that’s very rarely the case. That’s why with every customer journey map should come a nice little manual with information and guidelines for everyone who wants to do as little an edit as changing a sentence in one of the milestones.

If you’re using a tool to create a customer journey map, you have the advantage that you don’t have to deal with the visual side as much, because unlike with Excel or Google Sheet-based (or equivalent) customer journey maps, the tool won’t let you do many crazy things that can make it hard to navigate.

But let’s finally get to the point of the whole article: What exactly should your internal customer journey map editing/maintaining manual contain?

1. Who has the editing rights

While there will presumably be many people who will be looking at your customer journey map, you probably don’t want all of them to implement their “improvements”. Have a clear list of who can work with your customer journey map (and make sure these people are familiar with your new manual). If the above-mentioned case sounds like your company, choose one person (and make the person known) who will be responsible for evaluating and implementing all these little improvements others come up with.

2. The extent of editing rights and reporting

Depending on the scale and size of your customer journey map, the person in charge of marketing probably won’t be doing all the small edits and updates, but there’s a good chance he will want to be at least informed about all of them – this goes for other people in your marketing team hierarchy, too. An easy solution is to state what kind of edits is each person allowed to make, and what kinds of edits have to be reported to which people.

3. Updating performance data/analytics

If your customer journey map includes milestones with performance data and analytics, assign which person will be responsible for updating them, and how often should updating take place. Fortunately, some CJM tools are able to import your performance and analytics data automatically. That’s usually done using APIs – if you integrated them yourself, just keep an eye on them functioning.

4. Keeping track of all data points

Especially if you’re updating the performance data manually, it’s a good practice to separately list all these data points so a) everyone can easily see what data is being tracked b) person responsible for updating them can go one-by-one, eliminating the possibility he’ll forget about some of them.

5. Text and design structure

Everything in your customer journey map should have a standardized form – milestone names, milestone descriptions, text and background colors, visual layout, etc. This is where a lot of subsequent confusion and chaos comes from – if everyone chooses whatever milestone name length, colors, and images they feel like, your CJM will soon look like a coloring page of a kindergarten kid who was provided with the super-bright version of colored pencils pack.

6. Sharing principles

It’s likely that someone will need to share some part of your CJM – or maybe even the whole thing. Is it allowed? Who do they need to ask for permission? How exactly do they do it – do they just screenshot it, or is there some option to export it? This is very important to address because as you know, a proper customer journey map outlines your marketing strategy from A to Z and it’s not something you’d like to make its way to some of your competitors or a marketing blog.

Those are the very basics you should cover in your CJM manual, but certainly feel free to come up with some of your own that apply to your specific company/team structure and needs.

Do you want to create an interactive and easy-to-use customer journey map with powerful touchpoints, personas, automatic KPI import & monitoring, and much more?

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