When should organizations practice customer journey mapping? Should it be done before the customer experience is built? There is a case for mapping the actual experiences after the fact and using the lessons learned to adjust the customer experience is strong. There is an emerging possibility of using real time emotional measures to adjust the customer experience based on the customer's reaction to the customer experience so far, which may include multiple touch points over time.
The Planning Approach:
Organizations that want to understand their customer experience and plan a better approach will use customer journey methods and technologies to actively create a better customer experience. This approach really works well with new systems and planned augmentations. The trick here is not to over-analyze, but to practically involve real customers, organizational representatives with a good dose of independent thinking.
The Audit Approach:
Organizations that want their analysis of the customer experience to be reality based, will use a measurement approach that gleans data from systems and people to create a near realistic view of the customer experience in context of the customers goals and persona. The challenge here is to think out of the box and imagine situations beyond the expected "happy paths" when designing a better customer experience.
The Real Time Approach:
Organizations that want to adapt inflight, will gravitate to use technologies and techniques to measure the real time moods of the customers. This "on the fly" approach requires some newer emerging technologies such as AI enabled by emotion detection embedded in voice inflection, real time images and gestures or natural language understanding. This allows organizations to customize responses to individual customer situations in context. The challenge here is that the costs could get out of hand without creating some common responses over time.
The obvious answer is to use all three approaches, but that is easier said than done. The real time approach is still emerging and maturing. The planning approach might be too late if an organization has a legacy base that requires significant augmentation or change. Measuring what's going on might require significant instrumentation to gather the data. The answer depends on the situation at hand, but doing nothing is not an option. A customized mix is probably a solution, but this is not a "one and done" circumstance. We can't depend on getting lucky like the squirrel pictured above as we will all get wet with customer experience issues.