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CX people are digital, customers and employees are analog

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 01/08/2015
BCBSM Customer Experience Room

BCBSM-Customer-Experience-Room-3-300x199There’s been an ongoing discussion on the CXPA’s LinkedIn group around an article listing the most effective journey mapping tools.  Tools mentioned were Visio, a presentation tool and a spreadsheet. But this discussion isn’t really just about journey mapping. It goes to the heart of how we communicate with the rest of our organization.  And it shows that sometimes we fall into the same traps that we try to keep the rest of the company out of: thinking about ourselves instead of our customers.

These tools are great for the Joe Friday approach (“Just the facts, ma’am”). And if all that you’re trying to do is catalog the steps a customer takes when they go through the journey, then go ahead and knock yourself out.  Be a mediocre CX program.  But you’re missing a real opportunity.

Tell Your Customer’s Story

Understanding the steps of your customer’s journey is important, of course. But even more important is sharing what you find with the rest of the organization, helping them understand the journey and its ramifications.  Build empathy for your customer, and what they have to do just to work with you.  For that, you need to go beyond the facts, and into story. Don’t share 70 PowerPoint slides. Tell a story. Story-telling is the first tool you need for journey mapping, or for any communications about your customers and their needs. Yes, it’s an analog tool. But we learn best through stories. Stories move your organization in a way that facts never will.

Ask yourself, how do the best CX organizations tell their story?  Think about Temkin Award Winner Oracle or CXPA Innovation Award Winner Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. How do they do it? Not with PowerPoint!

In Oracle’s journey mapping workshops they do a very good job of story-telling, using compelling images to show how the customer experiences the company. Participants immediately understand the journey as a result.

BCBS built a journey mapping room to share their customer story, showing clearly how customers interact with the insurance company. Compelling media are the second tool to help immerse your employees in the experience. Images are good. Sample calls and videos are even better. We use videos in our journey mapping to show the emotions that are inherent to the journey.

However, you still need to build a journey map. It’s not always convenient to take your team over to your customer room, and you can’t bring oversized graphics to every meeting. A journey map is a good complement to these by showing your customers and your emotions. But you can’t create an effective map through spreadsheets or Visio – it takes InDesign or similar tools, paired with a skilled designer, to clearly communicate your story. Design is the third tool for communicating your customers’ story, whether through a journey map, a customer room, or any other method.

So the next time you get to communicate about your customers, ignore the temptation to dump the information into Visio or a spreadsheet. Instead, think analog. Consider how your employees will best learn, and use a story, compelling media and design to effectively share your customer’s journey.

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