Customer Experience

Customer Experience Strategy and Planning

It is widely cited that attention customer experience is lacking in most organizations. This barrier stifles potential and can greatly harm the health of your business. Implementing customer experience planning and customer experience strategy can greatly increase your ROI.By putting the customer at the core of your business, you will create immense opportunity for growth and development. But how should you go about planning and carrying out these changes? Below, you can learn straight from CX industry professionals about the skills, tools, and resources you need in order to plan an effective strategy that will drive customer satisfaction and the overall success of your business.

Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

This is ironic. Journey mapping is a fantastic tool to break down silos by creating a shared view of the customer experience.

Except when it isn’t. All too often, companies focus on small teams to move quickly. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” they argue. “Aligning all those teams will take time, and we need to be done in 6/8/12/16 weeks, and we don’t have time to educate HR, IT, Legal, or other groups about what we’re doing. We’ll catch them up afterward.”

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Life Insurance Journey Map

Journey mapping tools don’t address the most critical challenges.

There are a ton of journey mapping tools out there. I’m most familiar with Touchpoint Dashboard, but I’ve had demos from many others. They all excel at certain components of journey mapping, but they don’t (and probably can’t) address some of the largest problems.

That’s because the biggest reasons journey maps fail have nothing to do with digital problems; they’re analog. As we’ll discuss tomorrow, the biggest problem in journey mapping is that it’s done in silos. Small teams are created to do journey mapping. Those small teams intimately learn the customer experience, but because they don’t control the critical touch points, the effort fails to drive change.

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Too many see journey mapping as an employee workshop.

What is journey mapping?

That may seem like a strange question from a blogger whose title is “Mapper-In-Chief,” but there’s so much confusion on the topic that it’s a question that needs to be asked.

This confusion is fueled by vendors who offer “journey mapping workshops.” This is a half- or full-day workshop where you gather a bunch of employees who each adopt a customer persona and use Post-It Notes to document your perceptions of that customer’s journey. Oracle hosts this type of workshop, and by all accounts it’s a ton of fun. It’s possible they mention the need to actually talk with customers, but the attendees I’ve spoken to don’t remember them saying that.

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We still have challenges navigating trade-offs when deciding what to map.

Most journey mapping projects fail to drive change. That’s what we discovered when we surveyed practitioners who have conducted such projects (learn more about this survey in our white paper, “Driving Change Through Journey Maps”).

One leading success factor is selecting the right journey to map, and it’s the first place that problems occur because it requires trade-offs. Do you want an end-to-end map or one of a specific sub-journey?

An end-to-end map is interesting. Seeing the customers’ journey from beginning to end helps us to understand where the points of friction are and helps prioritize places where issues need to be fixed. Unfortunately, that end-to-end view isn’t always the best way to improve the customer experience.

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Healthcare Customer Journey Map

Journey mapping has become a must-have approach to customer experience

Before it became a business five years ago, Heart of the Customer was a blog I started when I was leading CX at a Fortune 100 company. Along the way I learned about journey mapping, and created the post Customer Journey Map – the Top 10 Requirements to reflect the limitations I saw at the time. That post has since had over 108,000 views, including over 4,000 in the last year. When I started the business, that post drove us to number 1 in any Google ranking on the topic – journey map, customer journey map – even “journey mapping software,” we didn’t even offer software!

Since then, journey mapping has become even more popular, as you can see from the chart on the right.

Journey mapping is now the go-to customer experience tool, and has been discussed in Forbes, the Harvard Business Journal, and countless other journals.

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Heart of the Customer Team

Reflections after Five Years of Journey Mapping

Last month we celebrated Heart of the Customer’s 5th year anniversary. The team got together to share where we are, discuss best practices, plan for the future, and—most importantly—to celebrate! We were also grateful to have Angelica Bonacci from Allianz come to tell us about the ways her organization is using our journey mapping work to drive internal change.

This led me to reflect on what has occurred over the last five years in terms of journey mapping as an art. Next week, we’ll have five posts discussing journey mapping and how it has changed. The five are:

  1. Journey mapping has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have in customer experience.
  2. We’re still challenged by navigating trade-offs when deciding what to map.
  3. Too many see journey mapping as just a workshop.
  4. Journey mapping tools still don’t address the most critical challenges.
  5. Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

These all reflect, to varying degrees, the five journey mapping questions that you should consider before embarking on a project: Read more

It’s not Necessarily a Design Issue

I regularly receive emails that go something like this: 

I have almost completed my organization’s journey map! Can you give me some design suggestions before I share it with my company?

This request comes from a good place, a desire to educate the company about the customer’s journey, but after a few questions, it quickly falls apart. There are at least three problems with this request. 

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A Successful B2C Engagement Tactic Applied to B2B

I recently purchased a new phone, so of course, I need a new case. I’ve loved my Carved wooden phone case, so I ordered another, but this time they did something new.

When my new case came, it included something special. In addition to sending the standard packing and instructions, Carved included a “trading card” with information about the designer, Cayla. This created an instant impact. I was no longer a customer of some company. Cayla designed my case! After reading her bio, I liked my case even more.

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Journey Mapping with Post its

Brainstorming: Design Thinking vs. Science

This may not seem like a CX-related post, but bear with me a minute.

I attended a fabulous CXPA event on CX Day this week. Laurie Englert (full disclosure: she’s a client), the VP of Customer Experience at Legrand’s AV Division, shared how her team uses design thinking. We then applied those skills to strategize for Bike.MN. Nearly 100 CX enthusiasts focused together on helping Bike.MN build more business partnerships.

That said, there’s a central component to design thinking that bugs me: its brainstorming approach. As the facilitator (who wasn’t Laurie) shared, brainstorming in design thinking is an active exercise where you quickly put out ideas on Post-It Notes and then build on them with more ideas. This isn’t unique to last night’s presentation – whenever I encounter design thinking it involves this traditional out-loud approach to brainstorming.

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Do you have what it takes to succeed at CX?

Have you taken a look at our latest whitepaper? Also accessible from the resources page, it details strategies and insights for ensuring that your next CX initiative is a successful one that will pay for itself with opportunities for profit and growth.

Access it here: How to Select a CX Platform for Maximum Impact


Interested in workshops? Read more here.

Interested in journey mapping? Read more here.

Interested in improving your CX? Read more here.