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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

B2B Customers are not just Consumers 2.0

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m into all things journey mapping, regularly reviewing articles on the subject. So I was particularly interested in How to: Create a digital customer journey map by Henning Ogberg, the senior VP EMEA of Sugar CRM. As it’s published by B2B Marketing, it’s obviously targeted towards B2B (business-to-business) audiences.

In general, it’s a great article. I especially like four of his five tips:

  • Accept that it won’t be simple. We find this is true of journey mapping in general – not just B2B. In our recent analysis, half of all journey maps weren’t successful. While we didn’t have sufficient numbers to compare B2B vs. B2C (business-to-consumer), business journey mapping is newer, so it seems likely that there would be fewer successful journey maps in this space. Business journeys are significantly more complicated than consumer journeys, since they involve more participants over a longer amount of time.
  • Capitalize on the insight and support of your team. Yes! In the post It Takes a Broad Team to Improve Customer Journeys I talk about the importance of involving a large cross-functional team in your journey mapping initiative. Not only does this provide better input to your map, it also helps to ensure your various teams are prepared to act on the results.
  • Don’t fixate on sales. I don’t often hear this advice, but I definitely agree. Focus first on understanding your customers – then look at your business opportunities.
  • Embrace the opportunity of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This is a timely piece, since just last week we featured our interview with Dawn Mergenthaler on how to sync up CRM and CX (Customer Experience) in your organization. It’s the only way to institutionalize the insights in your organization.

As I said, I really liked four of his five tips. Read more

Just because your customers say it isn’t important doesn’t make it so

photo-1414919823178-e9d9d0afd0acThe intangibles matter. Don’t let bad research ruin your customer experience.

Bad research can wreak havoc with your customer experience. It can lead you to ignore a critical moment of truth while working on something with less impact.

In one journey map project, we were hired to extend a Big Research Company’s research. They had created an (ugly) journey map, and we were asked to replicate the findings in a local market. Which meant we had to use their methodology.

The way they conducted the research (and still conduct research today – this terrible method is rampant in journey mapping) was to ask customers to rate the importance and satisfaction of each touch point. The touch points with a significant difference between importance and satisfaction were “moments of truth.”

What’s Wrong With This?

What a terrible idea. First, moments of truth are interactions with disproportionate impact on ongoing loyalty. You can’t discover them with this method. Most companies aren’t terrible at moments of truth – they just aren’t as good as they need to be. In addition, moments of truth aren’t always identified as important. It’s not whether they’re that important at that point – it’s whether they have long-term impact. Nearly every moment of truth we have discovered would not be identified using this method.

But just as important is the mistake of asking customers to rate the importance of steps in the journey. Read more

Journey Mapping Case Study: You’ve Got to Be in It to Win It

document-1446078_640In B2B transactions with large companies, it’s all too easy to forget that no matter how big (or even faceless) a company might seem, individual decisions are still made by individuals, just as surely as if it were a mom-and-pop shop up the street. Journey mapping is the perfect tool to explore the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of those individuals, to boost sales and enhance business relationships.

Case Study on Journey Mapping

Our client, a well-respected powerhouse in the financial services industry, offers software that accelerates manual process. They called on Heart of the Customer for a kind of company “tune-up,” to ensure they were staying one step ahead of the competition, and to grow sales by gaining insight into their customers’ software-selection process.

We began the journey-mapping process by interviewing both existing clients and prospects. This data-gathering phase helped us identify the different phases of the decision-making experience, and to identify the two key segments (or “personas”) that made up our client’s customer base: Frustrated Frank and Inclusive Anne. Read more

Your Moment of Truth

In every customer journey, some interactions matter more than others. There are certain moments that cause customers to leave you, some that potentially lead to stronger engagement, and some that cause a customer to be much more expensive to serve.

 

Moments of Truth

We call these key interactions a “Moment of Truth,” and it is one of the most important findings of customer experience research, including journey mapping. Because these moments have a disproportionate impact on long-term loyalty, you need to make them a focus of your attention.

The term Moment of Truth has been used in different ways. We trace our usage back to P&G’s work. They described product packaging as being the first moment of truth – that is, the packaging often determines whether a customer decides to purchase or not.

Moments of Truth vary between customer segments. We’ve found that Moments of Truth are disproportionately found in three stages of the journey:

* The beginning

* The end

* When hand-offs occur between silos

If the beginning goes badly, it may also be the end. In P&G’s case, a bad package could mean the customer never buys. But the end of the journey has equal, if not greater, importance. As Daniel Kahneman discovered in his Nobel Prize-winning research, the ending is one of the key determinants to how we remember the journey. This can then have a very strong impact on whether we’re willing to use this company for future journeys. The third occasion likely to see a Moment of Truth is during a hand-off, which may be rife with frustrating problems for the customer. Read more

The best (and worst) uses of journey mapping workshops

ccexpo_0581We often get calls from organizations who want to hold a journey mapping workshop, but have no time or budget for research.

Our willingness varies depending on what the client is looking to accomplish. There are times when a workshop is absolutely the best journey mapping methodology – and times when it’s a train wreck. Let’s start with the best ways.

#1 As a way to internalize research results

We frequently end our research projects with mapping workshops. After sharing the research results, we have participants map out the customer journey, using the voice of the customer as their guide. Read more