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It Takes a Broad Team to Improve Customer Journeys

I recently participated in a round table sponsored by Barclaycard Business discussing the importance to e-commerce businesses to plan and understand their customer journeys. You can read more about the round table here.

We discussed numerous topics. But one we agreed upon was the need to simplify the experience. Customers aren’t willing to figure out your site – if it’s not easy, they’ll abandon their purchase.

You might think this is a no-brainer. But, if so, why do we still have websites that make it hard to buy, with buried “Buy” buttons, or page after page of information required before completing the transaction? If we all want to make the journey easier, why are so many still so difficult? Read more

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Journey Mapping Case Study: You’ve Got to Be in It to Win It

document-1446078_640In B2B transactions with large companies, it’s all too easy to forget that no matter how big (or even faceless) a company might seem, individual decisions are still made by individuals, just as surely as if it were a mom-and-pop shop up the street. Journey mapping is the perfect tool to explore the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of those individuals, to boost sales and enhance business relationships.

Our client, a well-respected powerhouse in the financial services industry, offers software that accelerates manual process. They called on Heart of the Customer for a kind of company “tune-up,” to ensure they were staying one step ahead of the competition, and to grow sales by gaining insight into their customers’ software-selection process.

We began the journey-mapping process by interviewing both existing clients and prospects. This data-gathering phase helped us identify the different phases of the decision-making experience, and to identify the two key segments (or “personas”) that made up our client’s customer base: Frustrated Frank and Inclusive Anne. Read more

Your Moment of Truth

Meridian_JourneyMaps_NatalieIn every customer journey, some interactions matter more than others. There are certain moments that cause customers to leave you, some that potentially lead to stronger engagement, and some that cause a customer to be much more expensive to serve.

We call these key interactions a “Moment of Truth,” and it is one of the most important findings of customer experience research, including journey mapping. Because these moments have a disproportionate impact on long-term loyalty, you need to make them a focus of your attention.

The term Moment of Truth has been used in different ways. We trace our usage back to P&G’s work. They described product packaging as being the first moment of truth – that is, the packaging often determines whether a customer decides to purchase or not.

Moments of Truth vary between customer segments. We’ve found that Moments of Truth are disproportionately found in three stages of the journey:

* The beginning

* The end

* When hand-offs occur between silos

If the beginning goes badly, it may also be the end. In P&G’s case, a bad package could mean the customer never buys. But the end of the journey has equal, if not greater, importance. As Daniel Kahneman discovered in his Nobel Prize-winning research, the ending is one of the key determinants to how we remember the journey. This can then have a very strong impact on whether we’re willing to use this company for future journeys. The third occasion likely to see a Moment of Truth is during a hand-off, which may be rife with frustrating problems for the customer. Read more

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The CXPA and Heart of the Customer want your feedback

tag-433302_640Have you created journey maps? The Customer Experience Professionals Association and Heart of the Customer want to learn more about your experience!

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!

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Journey Mapping Design – the 5 Design Principles that will enable your journey map to drive change

Kris LaFavor is the founder of DesignAhead.  In addition, Kris is Heart of the Customer’s go-to designer for all of our journey maps (she also designed our website, so we’re big fans!).  In this post, Kris lays out her guidelines to make sure our maps have that visual impact that is so critical to driving customer-focused change.

  1. Think like the customer.

Before you start designing your map, you have to approach the design process from the point of view of the customer whose journey you’re mapping. To do this, you have to understand the research your map will be based on. This research is your window into the customer’s thoughts and emotions, so dig deep and ask a lot of questions to understand the premise and goals of the research before you begin your design process. Read more

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Interview with Jim Kalbach

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Jim Kalbach is the recent author of Mapping Experiences. We had a chance to interview him to go deeper on what he has learned about journey maps.  You can see more about his book here.

Heart of the Customer: Along with your other diagrams, journey and experience maps are often used to drive culture change.  What are your tips for using these to engage leadership and change culture?

Jim Kalbach: This first thing to keep in mind is that a diagram won’t provide any answers outright. It doesn’t magically bring change to your organization. Instead, diagrams are conversation pieces that engage others.

Sure, you want to create an artifact that is accurate, reliable and compelling. But to drive change, you’ll need to focus on including others throughout the mapping process. Think verb (mapping) rather than noun (map).

A centerpiece I invariably include in the process is a workshop. With this, you can use your diagram to explore a given experience with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Beyond that, also consider ways to have others in your team participate in the mapping process. For instance, bring them along to customer interviews during your investigation. Or, create a draft diagram together with sticky notes on a whiteboard. The more people involved, the more people will better understand the customer perspective.

In addition, it’s more important that the team has the same knowledge than each person have new knowledge. Otherwise, they will never make the collective decisions needed for change to happen. Maps of an experience are sense-making tools.

In the end, it’s the mapmakers job to also facilitate the conversation, not just create a diagram. Only then can the organization shift its perspective from inside-out to outside-in. Read more

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Where I learned about the importance of customer journeys

DannyEighteen years ago, my son Danny taught me everything I needed to know about customer journeys.

At just three years old, Danny wasn’t a verbose child.  So when he talked, we paid special attention.  One night when we put him to bed, he put his hands over his crotch and simply said, “Hurts.”

If you’ve ever had a 3-year-old, you can understand how we felt. We called the nurse line, who instructed us to take him to the emergency room right away. Panicked, we grabbed the diaper bag and headed to the nearest hospital that took our insurance.

As we got there, they instructed us to fill out the paperwork, then rushed us back to another waiting room. But this one was dark and abandoned – just one light in the corner. The staff person asked us to wait there until they could find a doctor. So we sat down, and I held Danny in my arms, whimpering. And we proceeded to wait.

After a half-hour, I was frustrated beyond belief. Anxious, scared. So I went to find some help. Eventually, I was told to go back, as they were still looking for a doctor. So I went back, and we continued to wait. Read more

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Read More: Mapping Experiences by Jim Kalbach

51p+yVB0O+L._SY402_BO1,204,203,200_I’m halfway through the book Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach. It’s a really good book to help you better understand alignment diagrams, such as service blueprints, journey maps, experience maps, mental model diagrams, and spatial maps, and when to use each. I helped edit the chapter on journey maps, but didn’t get a chance to read the rest until I received my copy just recently. And I’m really enjoying it – even the chapters that aren’t about journey mapping!

I especially like James’ discussion on benefits, including his statement that “Your ultimate goal is creating an inclusive dialog within the organization, not creating the diagram itself. Mapping experiences has many potential benefits. These include building empathy, providing a common ‘big picture,’ breaking silos, reducing complexity, and finding opportunities.”

The journey mapping section also includes a case study of our work with Meridian Health. Read the case study, then follow that up with my recent interview with Chrisie Scott, VP of Marketing, to learn about the long-term change brought about through journey mapping!

You can hear more from Jim on his blog, www.experiencinginformation.com.

“If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!” – Lessons from a journey mapping workshop

I had the opportunity to conduct journey mapping with a state agency working to transform the employer’s unemployment experience. The group followed our first rule of journey mapping – always make sure the customer is included in the process – by conducting multiple levels of research, including in-depth interviews with employers who were new to the process and usability interviews.

Next they engaged us to map out the existing employer’s journeys. I knew they were the right type of people for this work when I overheard one say, “If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!”

Unfortunately, that’s not always the approach.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve run across a broken process, and the response is, “We need to train our customers.”

The reality is, our customers are already trained.  They’re trained by Amazon to have a streamlined process.  They’re trained by Apple to expect simplicity. And, if we’re not careful, they can be trained by your competition to expect something better.

The irony is, this came from a state agency with no competition. But they understand that while loyalty may seem irrelevant, it really isn’t. Being loyal in this context doesn’t mean using their services more – nobody wants to use unemployment insurance any more than they need to. No, in this context, loyalty means being less costly to serve. It means less calls, and less irritation when those calls happen.

That’s what journey mapping is all about – making customer-focused change to improve the process for everybody. And, if the state gets that, then there’s hope for the rest of us, too!