Heart of the Customer in Expert Interview Series

Something different. I was recently interviewed by Netscout as part of their Expert Interview Series for CIO Brief. A copy is below. Enjoy!

Jim Tincher is the Mapper-In-Chief of HEART OF THE CUSTOMER, where he helps brands understand how hard it is to be their customer. We recently asked for his insight on how businesses can better know their customers and improve their customer experience. Here’s what he shared:

Can you tell us about the mission behind Heart of the Customer? What are your goals?

Our mission is to help change agents transform their organization to fully internalize the voice of their customer and to drive action against that. Our goals are to provide those change agents with the call to action needed to drive change.

How has the way brands engage with customers evolved since you launched your business?

Customer experience is now being taken more seriously. In the last few years we have seen the rise of the customer experience (CX) organization, charged with driving the company to build a customer-centric approach. However, we’re still at a fairly early stage, so methodologies are not yet robust. We’re in a very exciting time, as we are building the tools that will become the standard. Read more

Half of all journeys maps fail to drive change. Don’t be a statistic.

Customer journey maps are a customer experience (CX) leader’s best friend. Done well, a journey mapping initiative aligns your teams around a shared vision to an improved customer experience. Effective journey maps engage your entire company to align on your customers’ moments of truth, showcasing how to create more loyal customers.

Unfortunately, these initiatives fail far too often.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the voice of the industry, from our first annual Journey Mapping Best Practices Survey. We surveyed over one hundred journey mapping practitioners and vendors to discover the state of the art in journey mapping.

The results weren’t encouraging. For those practitioners who have had time to evaluate their success, half gave their journey mapping initiative a failing grade. The key reason? A failure to drive action. Read more

Building a customer room at Prudential – an interview with Jason Kapel

A customer room is a fantastic way to communicate just what it’s like to be your customer. Jason Kapel of Prudential discussed their customer room at a CXPA meeting, and I asked him to share his experience with our readers.

How did you come up with the idea of a customer room?

I wanted to get people engaged with the idea of CX—not just hand them another article, or give yet another PowerPoint presentation. I wanted to get people really engaged in the idea. So after reading about a health insurer’s customer room, we built a room of our own and took it to Prudential’s primary employee locations as part of a CX roadshow.

And what is a customer room, exactly?

A customer room is exactly what it sounds like: a room full of information about customers that employees and other visitors can experience in a unique and interactive way. Simple to understand—but complex in how it helps people understand the purpose and usefulness of CX. Read more

Help your B2B clients, help yourself

As a B2B company, you have a great opportunity to see the big picture that is hidden from your clients. By serving multiple clients, you can see something they can’t – and that they most definitely need to know.

Your clients use your products and services in a vacuum. They probably have a good idea as to how they themselves use your services. But they want to know if they’re taking the best advantage of your offerings. Are others using your products and services in a more optimal manner?

It’s time to make your data transparent. You have the unique lens to see how all your customers use your products and services. Proactively share that information with clients to create joint success. Read more

Every customer experience project is a culture project

Culture is the biggest determinant of effective customer experience. While that’s especially evident in the service space, it’s also true for every other type of company. When your culture focuses more on its own viewpoint than your customers’, you end up with convoluted processes, terrible return policies, and overly-complicated products.

That’s why I was happy to see some of the results from our first-ever journey mapping survey. We’re finalizing the analysis, which will be available soon. So, here’s a teaser about some of the results that are relevant to building a customer-focused culture. Read more

Eight Ways to Build Customer Empathy

workplace-1245776_640Customer empathy is absolutely critical to a company-focused culture. Without empathy, employees focus on their own problems, rather than your customers’. They build overly-complex products based on what they want to buy, rather than starting with customer needs. And they certainly don’t understand the emotional context of your customers.

Both Forrester and the Temkin Group have begun focusing much more on the emotional elements of an experience, which is spot-on. Emotions are the greatest driver of loyalty – and of disloyalty.  And you can’t solve them without empathy.

Here are eight ways to help build empathy in your company. Add your own in the comments! Read more

Q&A with Customer Journey Management Experts

microphone-367581_640In preparation for a series of classes on journey mapping I helped lead through the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), they interviewed a few of us on best practices in journey mapping. The other participants included a few of our partners: Stacy Bolger, Senior Strategic Consulting Director, MaritzCX; Valerie Peck, President/CEO, East Bay Services Group, SuiteCX; and Peter Haid, Director, Touchpoint Dashboard.

It’s a good overview of journey mapping best practices, bringing in a variety of opinions. Enjoy!

http://www.cxpa.org/blogs/karl-sharicz/2016/10/04/qa-with-customer-journey-management-experts-the-entire-series

In B2B Relationships, Being a Trusted Advisor Matters

handshake-440959_640There’s nothing more powerful than a trusted advisor. Each of us has our go-to people we call for advice. While a trusted advisor could be a mentor or a past or current co-worker, valued suppliers can also become trusted advisors.

This relationship doesn’t come easy, often taking years to develop the trust needed to play this role. But once you have that relationship, it pays off in multiple ways.

You hear about problems first. You bring your trusted advisor your most challenging problems – even if they’re not directly solved by his or her company’s products. When we studied a B2B software purchasing process, we found that many prospective clients contacted their existing vendors first – even though those vendors didn’t offer this type of software. They knew their trusted advisors were informed about the landscape and could provide direction. Read more

The CXPA and Heart of the Customer want your feedback (Last Chance!)

tag-433302_640Have you created journey maps? The Customer Experience Professionals Association and Heart of the Customer want to learn more about your experience! The survey is closing soon, so make sure to get your response in before it does!

Whether you created the journey map for your own company or another, we’d love it if you would tell us about it in this survey: http://bit.ly/2beOkXa. All survey participants will receive the full results, so you can learn about the state of the art in journey mapping.

We look forward to your participation!

Just because your customers say it isn’t important doesn’t make it so

photo-1414919823178-e9d9d0afd0acThe intangibles matter. Don’t let bad research ruin your customer experience.

Bad research can wreak havoc with your customer experience. It can lead you to ignore a critical moment of truth while working on something with less impact.

In one journey map project, we were hired to extend a Big Research Company’s research. They had created an (ugly) journey map, and we were asked to replicate the findings in a local market. Which meant we had to use their methodology.

The way they conducted the research (and still conduct research today – this terrible method is rampant in journey mapping) was to ask customers to rate the importance and satisfaction of each touch point. The touch points with a significant difference between importance and satisfaction were “moments of truth.”

What a terrible idea. First, moments of truth are interactions with disproportionate impact on ongoing loyalty. You can’t discover them with this method. Most companies aren’t terrible at moments of truth – they just aren’t as good as they need to be. In addition, moments of truth aren’t always identified as important. It’s not whether they’re that important at that point – it’s whether they have long-term impact. Nearly every moment of truth we have discovered would not be identified using this method.

But just as important is the mistake of asking customers to rate the importance of steps in the journey. Read more