Posts

Not Making CX Progress? Start Saying No

Too many customer experience (CX) programs get stuck. 

Stuck with no influence. No change. No leadership buy-in. 

We see it all the time. As a CX leader, you’re spread so thin, trying to juggle dozens of balls at once. You’re building a new measurement program while sharing your existing scores with anybody who will listen. You’re creating new training programs. You’re in meetings to support the new portal, the new customer campaign, the Customer Advisory Board, and the new loyalty program. 

You’re incredibly busy. You burn through your unused vacation time just trying to keep up. But when you get to the end of the year, the most important thing – customer loyalty – remains unchanged.  

A year filled with effort, but no actual change. 

That’s a problem.  Read more

Driving Change Through Journey Mapping

Too much journey mapping is done in an intuitive manner. Which is why half of all journey maps fail to drive action. We surveyed over 100 practitioners and vendors to learn the best practices, and published them in this white paper. You can see a summary in the attached infographic. Look for this year’s journey mapping survey to go out next month!

Bringing the Voice of the Customer into CX Design – an Interview with Beth Berg

I met Beth Berg—a customer experience researcher—at a journey mapping round table at this year’s CXPA Insight Exchange, and really enjoyed her approach. So, I invited her to get together and discuss her approach, and she agreed.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

My area of expertise is bringing the voice of the customer into customer experience design efforts. As part of the CX team within a company, I provide research support to our CX efforts. I work primarily via qualitative research, providing data the company can use, but I also work to bring in research conducted by other parts of the company that’s useful to our CX work, such as marketing research, analytics, and competitive intelligence.

It’s great that your company has a dedicated CX team—it sounds like they’re committed to using CX within the company. Where are you and your team brought into the CX process?

I’m fortunate to work for a company that has support for CX at the executive level. CX absolutely has a seat at the table through strategy development. We involve VPs and Senior VPs from across the company in CX design through workshops—all facilitated by a CX Architect and informed by research. Read more

Life Insurance Journey Map

Select the right type of map to drive the right kind of change

Before you can start a successful journey mapping initiative, it’s critical to think through the specific journey you want to map. Participants in our Best Practices in Journey Mapping survey referred to this as “Select the right journey to map.”

This takes deliberate thought. If you go too broad, you may not have enough detail to move the needed parts. If you go too narrow, the impact may be too small.

Types of Maps

There are three types of maps to consider:

  1. An end-to-end Experience Map
  1. A specific Journey Map
  1. A limited Touch Point Map

Let’s talk about each of these in turn, then discuss how to decide.  Read more

The Best Way to Learn from Your Customers? Sit Down and Shut Up!

We all like to talk. It’s part of being human. We like to share ideas and concepts. It’s natural.

It’s also a terrible way to learn from your customers.

This may seem obvious. But then why do so many do this wrong?

I was reminded of this in a journey mapping round table I recently led. About 15 to 20 practitioners and vendors participated, going over journey mapping practices, and sharing how we all went about the process. Unfortunately, not all methodologies are created equally.

Read more

You can’t have a customer journey map without a customer

At a CXPA event my good friend Lisa told me about a conversation she recently had. She was talking about the need to do some journey mapping, and mentioned how a good map takes 12-16 weeks. Her conversational partners’ response was, “What do you mean? I have the software – I can have that knocked out in a half-day.”

You can probably guess Lisa’s response, and it wasn’t positive. And Lisa’s not alone. In our survey of journey mapping best practices, CX practitioners agreed that involving customers was one of the top three requirements for a successful journey map (the other two were to involve a broad cross-functional team and to select the right journey to map). Yet, so many people seem to think it’s about the map itself.

Let’s set the record straight. Yes, the map is critical. The right map is a strategic tool in the hands of a CX leader. It helps her engage stakeholders and help them understand customers’ critical moments of truth – those points in the journey with a disproportionate impact on loyalty. And we spend a lot of time making sure that our maps clearly call out the customer needs.

What Really Drives Chnage?

But as powerful as a journey map can be, it’s the mapping itself that truly matters. Getting your teams to hear the literal voice of the customer is a critical driver of customer-focused improvements. Customers’ open-ended feedback on the journey offers a goldmine of information that can showcase where you’re building loyalty – and where you’re destroying it.

The right method of involving customers vary. I love a good digital ethnography, as reported in last week’s post. In-home (or in-office) interviews are also powerful, since they show the customer in his or her natural setting. Even a focus group can sometimes work wonders, although I’m not a huge fan of that methodology.

But the most critical component of any journey map is that it’s based on the raw voice of your customer. And that’s not going to happen in a half-day in your office.

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

Bottom lines are important, and a good measure of how business is doing. But there’s something that might come before the bottom line, and might make more of an impact on the strength of your business: customer service.

We all know what negative customer service experiences—or poor customer journeys, as they are known—especially with the advent of social media, can do to your brand. Take a bad restaurant review, for example: Posted on a travel-specific site, an angry customer can turn off countless other customers that you might never even have known about.

So what can you do to understand and enhance the customer journey? This graphic can help.

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

Buying Models Frame Your Customer Experience Approach

Marketing is a critical ally in your effort to build an improved customer experience. They regularly communicate with your customers. If you don’t effectively engage marketing, you’re fighting an uphill battle. They also tend to have influence in the C-Suite, making it even more critical. This may explain why many CX organizations report through marketing.

But even when you are part of marketing, there’s a tendency for a division, especially if marketing is focused on new sales while you’re trying to drive loyalty.

To truly understand how marketing thinks about the customer journey, learn about the buying model they use to organize their efforts. This should tell you a lot.

Buying Models Breakdown

Marketers use buying models to map customer interactions and to target marketing content. The model shows the stages a customer goes through on the way from a trigger event to awareness to purchase and (hopefully) ongoing loyalty. There’s no standard. We’ve run across many variations, some very detailed, others very general. Read more

Building Customer Empathy: An Interview with Natalie Schneider

Anthem, Inc. is in the middle of customer experience (CX) resurgence. I had the chance to catch up with Natalie Schneider, VP of Customer Experience, to learn more about their efforts to help build customer empathy in their employees.

Tell us a little about what led you to start working on customer experience.

A few years ago we at Anthem realized that our company’s growth was going to have to start coming from consumers—a B2C approach, rather than what we had been doing, which was largely B2B. Once we saw that, we quickly realized that our B2C operations were completely unsatisfactory—it was a kind of “OMG” moment for us, and so we started really investing in customer experience and putting together a team to try to fix what we were lacking.

We had a lot to learn—we hadn’t been looking at things from the customer’s perspective at all, and had a very insular, inside-out perspective. To buy a product on our website the customer had to go through 22 clicks! But we moved the needle. When we started, there were probably fewer than ten associates who even knew what the term Net Promoter Score even meant—three years later and we’ve improved our NPS by double digits, and business leaders talk about it constantly, across the company.

Read more

Case Study: Journey Mapping Unleashes the Power of People

 

Journey maps are extremely valuable tools. They provide key insights into the thoughts and feelings of customers during their interactions with your company, and they point the way toward cost-effective solutions to problem areas. But like any tool, they won’t do you much good if you take them home and stash them in a drawer.

To turn what’s on the page into a dynamic and fruitful change in company philosophy, you need to have the whole company on board. And the key to doing that is to ensure that everyone is invested in the process. The maps are starting points, not destinations.

Heart of the Customer works with companies to get all their stakeholders on the same page right from the start. We tailor our methodology to build the trust and consensus needed to propel change. Journey maps are more than just attractive, easy-to-digest compilations of important findings. Used optimally, they become a rallying point that can usher in a new era of strategic collaboration, with both immediate and long-term rewards. Read more