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Moving up Gartner’s CX Pyramid with Journey Mapping

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 11/27/2018

Last week I wrote about the Gartner CX Pyramid, an interesting maturity model. This week I’ll go into how to use journey mapping best practices to move up the model based on Gartner’s description of the model on their public website.

Selecting the right journey mapping approach requires you to understand where you are on the model and where you aspire to be. An inaccurate assessment will create waste; attempting to create a Proactive-level approach with only a Communication-level infrastructure will be expensive and ultimately frustrate customers instead of creating loyalty. Similarly, using a lower-level approach won’t have sufficient impact with higher-level design capabilities. Journey mapping doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it requires enough staffing and leadership to implement the changes that come out of it.

Moving from Communication to Responsive

Moving from the first to the second stage involves helping customers solve their problems from your perspective. Make it easier for customers to solve their problems with less-expensive self-service tools. While it does help your customer be more efficient, the primary focus is to save on expensive call center or sales resources. While this approach does create customer value, since it’s more efficient for them, that’s incidental. The primary goal is to save on costs.

The Customer Effort Score is an effective measurement tool here. You’re not creating delight, but you are removing friction. Said differently, you’re not building emotional loyalty, but you are removing causes of disloyalty. There’s value to this, especially for companies who are earlier in their CX maturity.

A warning to regular readers: You may be surprised by this paragraph. This is the one situation where I will ever endorse using employee workshops as a journey mapping methodology. If your only goal is to identify ways to decrease costs in existing journeys, you can probably accomplish this by putting a bunch of employees in a room and giving them Post-It Notes. But you won’t solve customer problems, and you’ll never realize the promised benefits of journey mapping. Having employees guess what customers do isn’t a customer-centric approach.

Moving from Responsive to Commitment

This is where you start seeing the benefits of a strong CX program; this move is aspirational for most companies. Making this step requires you to listen to customers and resolve their problems in the way they want them resolved. This requires talking with customers to understand their most important needs, and then involving the team to look for solutions. Solving these problems can consistently create an emotional connection that leads customers to stay even if they could save money with competitors.

But, involving customers in journey mapping isn’t enough – moving to Commitment means solving customer needs at specific points in the journey. To do this, map a specific sub-journey and get targeted information needed to solve customer problems. Our survey on CX leaders’ experience with journey mapping showed that 60% mapped the end-to-end journey. For most companies, this will be too general to solve specific problems. To fix these issues, a team needs to go deeper and understand specific customer needs at precise points along the journey, whether that’s first-time usage, asking for help, or mastering usage of the product or service. Trying to cover all three stages in one effort will return diluted findings – a customer who is trying to master your product can’t effectively remember what it was like the first time she used it.

Moving from Responsive to Commitment requires involving customers in journey mapping and having a narrow focus to ensure you fully solve your customers’ problems. It’s probably possible to skip Responsive and move from Communication to Commitment, but it will take a huge effort. Skipping any more steps is impossible; you need to build the infrastructure to solve customer needs before attempting to become consistently Proactive. Establishing your company at the Commitment Level requires consistently doing an excellent job solving customer needs. Trying to go to Proactive without this consistency will result in overpromising customer benefit while serving an inconsistent experience that varies in delivered value.

Tomorrow we’ll move onto using journey mapping to reach the top to two levels of the Gartner CX Pyramid: Proactive and Evolution.

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