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Use Journey Mapping to Kill 50 Ideas That Suck

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 04/13/2016

2016-04-13 21.53.33-1We were leading the Action Workshop, finishing a journey mapping project with a client.

Whereas they had a very strong overall experience, they were struggling to retain Millennials, a key demographic for them (and for many clients).  The journey mapping process led to a clear picture of the pain points for this demographic, and pointed the way to some quick wins, as well as very strategic approaches to really engage this group.  Unfortunately, the challenge came when we engaged the local staff. They were already receiving so many initiatives from various sources that they were struggling (and often failing) to keep up.  As a result, the customer-facing staff was so busy doing reports and filing emails that they really didn’t have time to be customer-facing anymore.

That’s when a participant finally said it. As we were brainstorming, he put up the post-it note: “Kill 50 ideas that suck.”

While that was no doubt a great idea, the larger question is: how did we get to the point where we need to kill 50 ideas?  Where along the way did we lose sight of our customer experience vision, so we overwhelm our staff?

The Answer is: There’s a Lack of Governance.

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Without a solid governance structure, your customer experience can fall victim to the flavor-of-the-day approach. In this organization, anyone with a good idea – marketing, sales, operations – can send it out to the field. While it’s not quite that simplistic, there are no controls to ensure what we’re doing is the best approach to our customer experience.

Unfortunately, that’s not unique to my client.  I hear it all the time. Short-term initiatives overwhelm strategic approaches.  The needs of the day outweigh your customer experience vision.

That’s led us to develop the 3+2 Customer Experience Model.

Hey, I never said we were a branding agency.

Much has been written about the need for leadership. Jeanne Bliss wrote Chief Customer Officer and Chief Customer Officer 2.0, excellent resources for this.  And vision also has its share of writing – I’m a big fan of The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.

But there’s a lot less written about governance. And that’s because it’s hard.

A solid governance program ensures that your initiatives are vetted against your customer experience vision.  And it’s also the perfect place to review your existing plans – before you get to the point of having 50 ideas that suck that you need to remove.

Sometimes, the best approach is addition by subtraction.  By having a solid governance practice, you can ensure that your initiatives are truly adding value. And it also enables you to execute on your vision.

But, most importantly, solid governance can make sure that you don’t have 50 ideas that suck.

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