Create Better Customer Outcomes through Journey Mapping Workshops

This post was originally shared through the ICMI (International Customer Management Institute) newsletter. You can view the original version here.

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Call center managers have seen it before. Customers form an expectation from your sales channel or marketing literature, receive a different experience through operations, and then call your contact center where they may receive a third perspective.

It’s the setup for a rough call, and an even rougher customer experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Great companies have found a way to create a consistent end-to-end experience. They align their silos, creating a consistent experience from start to finish. How do they do it?

Enter customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping is a series of techniques that map out your customer experience from start to finish. It follows your customer across silos as they go from initial awareness through the sales process into ongoing engagement.

A popular way to conduct journey mapping is through a workshop. Read more

There are no bathrooms in the USS Enterprise

starship-enterpriseAs I was leading a journey map session this week, one participant asked, “When you’re putting in the customer’s steps on the journey, how do you know which ones to include? It feels like it could get really long”

My response was that, from what I can tell, Captain Kirk never goes to the bathroom.

She paused, clearly trying to decide whether I was saying something insightful or just stupid. I don’t know if she ever decided which it was. Read more

4 ways to bring the customer into your journey mapping workshop

A journey mapping workshop is a powerful way to build customer intelligence and to create customer-based capabilities.

Journey mapping workshops bring together members from different parts of your company to walk through a particular customer’s journey, documenting your customer’s steps and emotions throughout. Where these workshops really show their value is by documenting how your silos impact your customer. Are there missed handoffs? Perhaps you have redundant emails coming from different departments, or conflicting incentives that lead to contradictory programs. They also show the systems and groups that impact that customer, and are a superior way to create alignment on your needs. See here for more details on how to conduct a journey mapping workshop.

Done right, what differentiates a great journey mapping workshop from a process flow discussion is this focus on your customer. And this focus can be really hard to create.

We spend 30-50 hours a week interacting with our internal processes and procedures, and only a small fraction of that time actually talking to customers. It’s hard to leave that behind to really put yourself in your customer’s shoes. But you need to find a way to do that to make your journey mapping workshop successful.

For example, when I was leading a workshop, we started by identifying the customer steps. Our first volunteer began by, “Well, of course the first step our customer takes is to call us.”

That’s when we had to call a pause. From his perspective, what he said was true. This is his first step in the process, so it’s a natural place to begin. But by accepting this, we cut off our best opportunities to make improvements. Read more

Customer Journey Mapping Made Easy

I’m getting ready to speak at a conference next month on customer journey mapping.

Journey mapping is a topic I find myself spending a lot of time talking about. The biggest challenge with the topic is how it’s pretty much a wild west. While most customer experience folks know what I mean when I say “customer journey mapping,” it turns out that their internal definition is one of two very different things:

  1. A research-based map of how customers experience your journey, including the touch points and moments of truth. This is how Forrester uses the phrase. I wrote a popular post on the topic here, which was also published as a white paper and a slideshare. I do a lot of research-based customer journey maps for my clients.
  2. An internal workshop to document your customer journey, also called a customer ecosystem map. This is how Oracle uses the term. While some involve customers in these workshops, in practice they’re often limited to employees. A number of my clients who do customer journey mapping use this method.

This was also the result when I hosted the CXPA journey mapping round table in December – while many companies do customer journey mapping, they typically do one or the other.

So, which one is correct? Of course, they both are. And I’ve found that combining the two, along with an initial hypothesis mapping workshop, is the key to really putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

That’s what I’ll be discussing at the conference next month. I’ve put a slightly modified version of my journey mapping presentation out on slideshare – use this to help you integrate both types of customer journey mapping into your company.

Customer Journey Map Round Table Review

I had the opportunity this week to host a CXPA round table on Best Practices on Customer Journey Mapping for B2B and B2C. We had great participation from a number of companies, including Fidelity, Thomson Reuters, and ServiceNow.

We discussed two very different meanings for the term, “Customer Journey Map:”

  • A research activity where you work with customers to understand the steps they take as they experience your journey, and the emotional impact of each step along the way. I wrote a white paper on the topic here.
  • A workshop where you bring members together to lay out the customer journey, often involving the people and systems that impact that customer journey. These workshops are also called Customer Ecosystem Map workshops, and I put together a SlideShare on the topic here.

Read more

Creating a Customer Ecosystem Map

Customer Ecosystem MapCustomer Ecosystem Maps are the inside-out complements to Customer Journey Maps.  These maps are created by internal teams, and document the actions, people and systems that enable the customer experience.  They are a great way to bring teams together to create a shared view on friction points, and to create alignment on what needs to be solved.  I recently trained a company’s customer experience teams on this process.  This becomes a great way to get departments to work together, and I am excited to see their results.

Rather than trying to communicate it through text, I have created a Slideshare to walk through the steps. It is best viewed in full-screen, as the maps get somewhat complex. Enjoy, and let me know your experience with this process!

Jim

Measure Your Customer’s Entire Journeys, not just the Touch Points

Scheduling Physical Journey MapHave you had a great customer experience? One you really enjoyed – a flawless purchase of a car, a fantastic trip, or a great B2B partnership? Now think of the opposite – a cell phone provider who frustrated you, a business partnership gone sour.

What made the difference was not an individual touch point, such as a call center or website. Instead, it was the overall journey – the process of purchasing the car went well, or the upgrade to a new phone caused far more trouble than it was worth. Individual touch points contribute to the experience, but it is the accumulation that matters.

Your customer experience is a journey. But too often, we manage it like a series of touch points, without looking at how these touch points fit together.

And herein lies our customer experience challenge. It is easy to measure website satisfaction or the customer service skills of a call center rep. We do this regularly. But what if your customer looks at your website for information, can’t find it, then calls your rep? How do you measure this entire interaction? The rep may do a fabulous job of handling the complaint, but the journey was a failure.

Read more

Slideshare – Creating a Customer-Focused Customer Experience Journey Map

For you Slideshare fans, I have uploaded a presentation on creating a customer-focused Customer Experience Journey Map.

Customer journey maps go by different names, such as customer experience maps, journey maps, and touch point maps. Journey maps serve as a visual means to identify the steps your customer goes through as they experience your product or service and the impact of each. Customer journey maps chart your customer’s experience and help you target improvements with the greatest return. By identifying those steps in the customer experience with the greatest impact, your journey map becomes a centerpiece of your customer experience planning process.

Enjoy!

Four Trends Changing the Customer Experience Movement

Our Customer Experience capability is growing!  In the last two months the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) has added about 300 members, with four new sites hosting local events.  Here in Minneapolis we hosted a great session to discuss Forrester’s Customer Experience Maturity Model, and how members are helping their companies move up the model.

As with any movement, this growth is leading to maturity and change.  Here are four trends I am seeing impact our practice today:

  • Customer Experience is moving beyond just NPS
  • Increasing recognition on the role of employee engagement
  • Customer Journey Mapping 2.0
  • Emerging Comprehension of Customers’ Non-Rational Thinking

Customer Measurement is Moving Beyond Just NPS

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is still the cornerstone of many customer experience programs.  What is changing is that companies are moving beyond the notion of using just one number, surrounding it with other factors, including satisfaction (yes, it’s still popular for many), loyalty, and the Customer Effort Score.

Read more

Customer Journey Map White Paper

Customer Journey Map White Paper CoverA customer-focused customer experience journey map is a crucial first step to designing and improving your customer experience.  How do you go about creating such a document?

The attached white paper walks through 10 required and 4 optional principles for creating such a map.  It also includes two examples of how I create maps at Heart of the Customer, although you could use the principles to create maps that look entirely different.

The 10 core principles are:

  1. Maps represent your Customer’s perspective.
  2. Measure your brand promise.
  3. Require qualitative research.
  4. Represent your Customer segments.
  5. Include your Customer goals.
  6. Communicate your Customer emotions.
  7. Document your touch points.
  8. Highlight your Moments of Truth
  9. Include your Customer time progression.
  10. Ditch the PowerPoint.

Download the white paper today and create a great customer journey map tomorrow!