The core benefit of Customer Journey Mapping is to develop an achievable plan to improve the customer experience. Of course, you could just conduct a normal planning session, set some priorities, and call it a day. The act, however, of walking through the Journey Mapping process is worth the time and extra effort. There are four key benefits of Customer Journey Mapping:

1. Customer Journey Mapping helps you better understand your customers. Empathy is a powerful human emotion, one that is known to increase helping behaviors. Customer Journey Mapping asks business leaders, normally tasked with thinking primarily about business operations, to “walk in the customer’s shoes” and consider how the customer feels about their interactions with the company. This act of empathizing with the customer makes it easier to shift out of internal process mode and into thinking about how the company could be doing a better job of delivering value to customers.

2. Identifying operational inefficiencies can be a quick win for customer experience leaders. There’s often an assumption that fixing the customer experience will be expensive for the company. Quite often, however, during the Customer Journey Mapping process we will identify things the company is doing that are time consuming for employees or expensive to do and yet failing to add meaning to the customer relationship. Removing these inefficiencies not only improves the customer experience, they also save the company money.

3. Perhaps nothing is more vital to the success of your customer experience vision than leaders aligned around the vision. Working on the Customer Journey Map together ensures that the individuals most capable of solving customers’ problems will be on the same page about what these problems are and the best approach to fixing them. This “silo-busting” activity encourages the cross-departmental coordination needed to fix the customer experience.

4. But Customer Journey Mapping is more than identifying breakpoints and rallying the troops, it’s also a valuable tool to identify areas in which you can differentiate your customer experience. Siegal & Gale’s 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index found that 82% of people globally are more likely to recommend a simpler brand. Customer Journey Mapping ensures you are giving the extra time, thought, and effort so that your customers don’t have to.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal of Customer Journey Mapping is not to end up with a pretty output, or spend a few hours with your colleagues talking about the customer experience. Every Customer Journey Mapping session should end with clear direction on what is happening next and who is responsible for making that happen. The most value from Customer Journey Mapping will not be derived from the Journey Map itself, but from the actions that follow.