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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

A bad customer experience is like an Iowa radio station

When I was a kid, my rural Iowa hometown got a new radio station. It wanted to be a radio station for everybody, so it would play one song from the eighties, then one from the seventies, the sixties, and so on. The theory was clear: if you play something for everyone, everyone will be happy.

Of course, in the real world, that theory doesn’t actually work. Instead of pleasing everyone, the radio station didn’t make anyone happy. If you’re looking for Electric Avenue, you won’t love it when Sugar Sugar comes on. Whether you prefer modern hits or oldie classics, you’re sure to be disappointed quickly. Like my hometown radio station, pleasing everyone will just frustrate your customers. Read more

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John Deere – not your father’s tractor company

John Deere PresentationI was interested in seeing Erin Wallace’s presentation at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange, but I had no idea just how cool it would be. Her presentation was titled “Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy,” and showed a very comprehensive approach towards customer experience that we can all learn from.

When I work with clients, I tell them there are 3+2 areas you need to focus on to develop a world-class customer experience program. The first three are an identified leader, as shared vision and governance. Erin nailed all three. She’s obviously the leader of the effort, so didn’t spend a lot of time there. But the strategy and governance were critical.

One difference between John Deere and many companies is their longevity. They’re not just out to win your loyalty today – they want to win your grandchildren’s loyalty. Erin quickly summed up this strategy when she said, “Our goal is to earn customers for generations.” They clearly didn’t just take an Amazon or Zappos strategy and go with it – this is unique to John Deere, and this strategy is critical to their entire program.  Read more

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Customer Effort Score 2 – Is it easy?

Loyalty impact of support callsEffort is the bane of your customer experience. Or, as I like to say, “Thinking is bad.” But is customer effort the right measurement to use?

First, an overview. The CEB created the Customer Effort Score (CES) as a transactional measurement. You can see my early post here. Its original phrasing was “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” and a lot of blogs still point to this confusing phrase. Luckily, the CEB reworded it to “The company made it easy for me to handle my issue” in the CES 2.0.

Unfortunately, they haven’t taken the next step to call it the Customer Easy Score, which is much more fun to say. Read more

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It’s time to get journey maps right

JourneyMaps_Promotion-PatThis is a journey map rant. It’s time we stopped calling employee workshops, Post-It Notes charts and PowerPoint and Visio documents customer journey maps. And we need to realize that design matters.

I recently read an article on journey mapping. It had some good points, but ugly maps. Then I hit a sentence that stopped me altogether:

Focus less on how pretty it is, and more on how valuable it is. Inevitably, someone from design will see this project and want to jump up in there. Suddenly, the conversation will turn to legends, color codes, formatting, and more. Avoid the rabbit whole [sic] that is visualizations and bring it back to the data. If you have valuable data, the visualization is just a vehicle for the valuable story.

Just a vehicle?” Clearly, this author doesn’t understand that design is part of what makes a journey map effective. Although I knew that the moment I saw his maps. It’s not just about data. It’s about telling your customer’s story in an effective way. And you can’t do that with ugly maps. Read more

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The future of surveys? Maybe no surveys at all

scan0002Ending the tale of being rear-ended, I found another great lesson. Geico took care of my car, having ABRA Auto Body put on a brand-new bumper. As I checked out, ABRA gave me a document to “help” me fill out my survey. Yes, they told me exactly how I should fill out my questions!

Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise me. We’ve all heard of car salespeople, retail employees and restaurant staff who game the system. But to actually create a document telling me how to fill out the scores was a new one!

Now combine gaming with survey fatigue. So many of us are becoming customer-obsessed, that we each send out more and more surveys. Each individual survey isn’t bad, but I can no longer go through a day without at least one survey request. Our local paper had a great column talking about the survey experience here.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about the post-survey world.  What would you do if you could never use a 10-point scale again? Read more

It only takes 3 seconds to destroy your service experience

The beginning of a service experience matters. A lot. Start successfully, and you can make it a great experience. Start wrong, and you can dig a hole you can’t get out of.

I mentioned my car accident last week. Luckily, it wasn’t bad, but the agent didn’t know that. That’s why how she began our conversation. I told her that I was at the site of an accident. Instead of asking if I’m okay, she was right down to business, asking me about what I want to do. It was just another call in a long series of them for her.

Just like that, there was no chance to engage me. She would have been just as effective if she hung up.

Her approach might not matter in a rational world. But I don’t live in that world. And neither do you. But it seems that some people haven’t gotten that message, designing experiences based on the assumption that we’re all rational.

How else to explain health plans that allow you to choose your own pricing, then are surprised when everyone chooses the low-premium, low coverage option. I actually worked with a health savings account organization who believed (and still does) that consumers want to select between different pricing plans. Despite the fact that literally 98.5% of their consumers didn’t. They felt they just needed more education.

Bad design is everywhere in the world of websites. My “favorites” are websites that require convoluted logins I can’t remember, or password schemes that can’t end with a number or symbol. I know a rational person wouldn’t care about this limit. But a real person does.

That’s one of the reasons I love journey mapping so. Effective journey maps uncover the emotions in a customer experience, clearly visualizing those friction points that interfere with customer engagement. An effective journey map clearly shows your customer’s emotions, revealing the friction points that are costing you customers.

Apparently, the folks over at Software Advice, a consulting company for customer support software, share my passion for understanding the emotions in our experiences. They conducted a survey to understand customers’ preferred type of communication. The article ends with a clear call to action.  While a casual tone works well in neutral or positive experiences, a formal tone is absolutely necessary when denying requests.

So think about the tone in your service experiences. And give yourself a chance to get past your first three seconds.

Celebrating #CXDay

I hope you had a terrific CX Day!  I really enjoyed the online content – if you didn’t get a chance to view it, I highly recommend going to www.CXDay.org for a chance to review them. Here in Minneapolis we had an amazing event, with over 80 participants learning about what to do when your customers are tired of talking to you (survey fatigue).

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I posted earlier about local events at Wolters Kluwer and ShopHQ.  Today I have photos from two other celebrations – at UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement and Allianz Life.

united-healthcare-logoOne of the UnitedHealthcare activities was a booth in their commons area. They engaged employees in quick conversations about grounding their decisions based on VOC and stressed the importance of plain and simple language in communications. They completed by asking for a commitment of what they will do to make the experience better for our consumers.  As Lisa Wilson, Senior Director of the Member Experience explained, “We aim to keep it fun, simple and impactful!”

They also hosted several of the CXPA webinars throughout the day. Lisa wanted to make sure I said, “Thank you to the CxPA for providing such a suite of opportunities to help us raise our game here at UHC!”  Below are two photos of their day – love the selfie!

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Allianz logoAllianz also had a great celebration.  I’ve posted about their strong communications program in the past, and it was evident on CX Day as always. They have televisions throughout their offices, and for this day they focused exclusively on customer experience topics. I’ve included one example below, which links to more of their posters. Because this is also Customer Service week, the rest of the week they are focusing on service, with numerous activities designed to engage and recognize employees who work in Operations, including in the Call Center.

Allianz CX Day PosterLastly, Director of Customer Experience Barbara Norrgard explained, “We also recently ran a contest where we asked people what they are doing to achieve our aspiration and we ran the article today.” Winners were announced to the entire company, celebrated for the impact they have on the customer experience.

So there you have it – two more excellent ideas you can use for next year.  We’re down to only 363 planning days before our next CX Day!