Read More: Mapping Experiences by Jim Kalbach

51p+yVB0O+L._SY402_BO1,204,203,200_I’m halfway through the book Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach. It’s a really good book to help you better understand alignment diagrams, such as service blueprints, journey maps, experience maps, mental model diagrams, and spatial maps, and when to use each. I helped edit the chapter on journey maps, but didn’t get a chance to read the rest until I received my copy just recently. And I’m really enjoying it – even the chapters that aren’t about journey mapping!

I especially like James’ discussion on benefits, including his statement that “Your ultimate goal is creating an inclusive dialog within the organization, not creating the diagram itself. Mapping experiences has many potential benefits. These include building empathy, providing a common ‘big picture,’ breaking silos, reducing complexity, and finding opportunities.”

The journey mapping section also includes a case study of our work with Meridian Health. Read the case study, then follow that up with my recent interview with Chrisie Scott, VP of Marketing, to learn about the long-term change brought about through journey mapping!

You can hear more from James Kalbach on his blog,

Journey Mapping: Start With Your Hypothesis

20150429_163805-1I’m on the plane back from the CXPA Insights Exchange – our annual conference where we get to share best practices and help develop as CX professionals.

I had just led a discussion on journey mapping best practices, where representatives from organizations as diverse as telecommunications, healthcare, and even government swapped ideas and asked questions about the best way to use journey maps to drive change.

Journey Mapping and Hypothesis Mapping

One member shared how he tried to get his B2B customers to come to a journey mapping session, but none of them agreed to come. He had the time set aside, so he instead used his customer-facing staff to build their idea of a journey. At Heart we call this “Hypothesis Mapping,” and he shared how this really helped them set up the framework that they were then able to use once they were able to finally meet with clients.

Another member chimed in how she was really happy she had learned this language. She joined a new organization, where they proudly shared their “journey map.” She asked them how it was developed, and they discussed how they all went into a conference room as a team to develop it.

Rather than simply squash this inside-out process, she used their enthusiasm, responding, “I love that you’ve developed this hypothesis map. Let’s test this as we go out to customers and get their perspective.” Read more

Use Journey Mapping to Kill 50 Ideas That Suck

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.” Read more

Creating a Culture of Empowerment: Letting Your Employees Help Your Customers

E19F7DF02B-1Guest Post by Scott Carlson

On a recent trip to a local bookstore I was having trouble finding a particular title. Not seeing any nearby store associates, I walked to the centrally-located Help Desk hoping to find some assistance. Unfortunately the Help Desk was not staffed and there were already two customers queued up ahead of me. Noticing two idle associates at the checkout counter, I walked there and asked one of them to check if the title was in stock. After a brief title search she indicated that the book was indeed out of stock but that it could be ordered – not by her but back at the Help Desk. I walked by the still unstaffed Help Desk with two customers in line and left the store empty-handed wondering why it was so difficult to do this relatively simple task—and whether I would be returning anytime soon.

Failed CX in Action

On the outside, the store seemed like it would pass any customer experience test: the store looked great and the staff was friendly and likely executing their duties as defined. But while clean stores and friendly and competent employees are of course key elements of any good customer experience, customer experience goes much deeper than that. Read more

Journey Mapping = Effective Customer Service Strategy

Maps_70172637_m-2015It’s no secret around here that journey maps are key to a successful customer service strategy for your business. We do a lot of customer journey mapping, using data straight from your customers. But there’s more than one kind of journey map, which can lead to questions about what kind of map to create—but also, how to integrate more than one type of map to better understand each facet of your company, employees and customers, to improve your customer loyalty and business outcomes as a whole.

While you’re probably familiar with customer journey maps, employee journey maps are ideal complements to get the entire picture.

You might ask yourself, how do I actually merge customer and employee journey maps in a way that actually gives me valuable information? It’s not always an easy journey, but if you keep a few basic guidelines in mind, it can be a streamlined process with a significant effect on how you understand your company. Read more

So You Want to Make a Journey Map

HP2P95KQGX - 1In just the last year we have seen a dramatic increase in journey mapping’s popularity, as more and more organizations realize what an effective tool it can be. But as more and more journey maps are getting made by more and more people, two critical questions arise—who and what to map. These are the first two questions we ask when we work with prospective clients.

First, which journeys to map? This may sound like an easy question, but it seldom is. Quite often organizations wish to map every journey. Which sounds like a great idea at first. Unfortunately, you can’t map every journey. Not only does this become prohibitively expensive, there is also the question of the organization’s ability to act against the results of multiple journey maps at once. We typically recommend starting with one journey, creating action, then moving to another.

You may ask yourself: Why focus on such a small subset of customer journeys? Won’t that limit the usefulness of your results? As it turns out—no. Bruce Temkin has created a great visual for helping determine what approach to use for each of their maps. Your most important journeys require research, to understand exactly what your customers need, and their true pain points and moments of truth. But the next tier down are best served with a workshop, and some do not even warrant a full-day workshop – journey thinking is the right approach for that.

Use this graphic to help you prioritize – those most critical items warrant research. Then, within this set, prioritize those which your organization most needs to focus on. How do you do this? Read more

Exemplary Customer Service: It’s All About the Journey

journey_11868817_m-2015-1“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer” – Peter Drucker

Sometimes, it seems that companies focus exclusively on the first half of this equation. Sales to new customers are exciting, and resources are appropriately targeted to land new customers. Look at the continual offers coming from TV service and internet providers.

But the second half is just as critical.  In fact, for organic growth, it’s even more so.  In The Economics of E-Loyalty, Bain & Company reports that a 5% improvement in customer loyalty leads to a growth in profitability of 25-90%.

Clearly, customer loyalty is critical, and service is central to building it. However, Forrester Research, Inc. reports that only 48% of companies say they have any kind of customer service strategy (The State of Customer Experience, 2015). If over half of companies have no strategy for serving their customers, what does this mean for the customers themselves? Read more