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Too many see journey mapping as an employee workshop.

What is journey mapping?

That may seem like a strange question from a blogger whose title is “Mapper-In-Chief,” but there’s so much confusion on the topic that it’s a question that needs to be asked.

This confusion is fueled by vendors who offer “journey mapping workshops.” This is a half- or full-day workshop where you gather a bunch of employees who each adopt a customer persona and use Post-It Notes to document your perceptions of that customer’s journey. Oracle hosts this type of workshop, and by all accounts it’s a ton of fun. It’s possible they mention the need to actually talk with customers, but the attendees I’ve spoken to don’t remember them saying that.

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CX + EX (Employee Experience) = Great Experiences

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. – Simon Simek

This quote reflects one of the biggest disconnects in customer experience – focusing only on the customer experience.

It makes sense. Heck, that’s our name! Why wouldn’t we? But focusing only on the customer without regard to the employee experience leads to missed opportunities and sub-optimized efforts.

I had the great honor to co-present on this topic with Darin Byrne, Wolters Kluwer’s VP of Client Experience. We made three primary arguments to our CX audience:

  1. CX Fails Without Engaged Employees
  2. UX is Critical to Employee Experience
  3. Employee Experience Needs to be Part of Your Day Job

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Stuck? Here are Three Ways to Gain CX Traction

As one of the CXPA’s CX Experts, as well as a journey mapper, I’m often called by companies trying to create momentum for their CX program. Sometimes it’s a midsize manufacturer trying to start their CX program. Other times, it’s a Fortune 50 company who has a program, but seeing its influence wane.

I wrote a white paper on starting a program, in conjunction with Intouch Insight. In it, I walked through the CXPA’s six CX disciplines (CX Strategy, Customer-Centric Culture, VOC Customer Insight & Understanding, Experience Design Improvement & Innovation, Metrics & Measurement, and ROI & Organizational Adoption & Accountability). All six are critical to a successful program.

But most people who call know they need to do all this. That’s not the question. What they really want to know is: how do they build momentum? “How do I break through the noise, in order to get the company’s attention, so I can get permission to build a CX-focused design and governance program?”

If you’re stuck and can’t get the attention, focusing on all six disciplines equally is the surest way to stay stuck. To gain this attention, you need to hit your employees – and your executives – in the gut. You need to create a visceral connection to your current customer experience and its limitations. And the best way I know to do that is through visual voice of the customer. Read more

The Top 10 Reasons Customer Journey Mapping Fails

While the journey mapping practice is maturing, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Here at Heart of the Customer, we have spent our careers researching, learning, and applying the best practices for customer journey mapping. So much so, we wrote the book on journey mapping!

Based on our 2016 study of customer experience professionals, over two-thirds of respondents did not rate their journey mapping project as successful. The reason? A lack of action from the mapping endeavor.

Successful customer journey maps drive customer-focused change like improving customer experience, developing a new way to deliver value to customers, or reducing the cost to serve current customers.

In the spirit of sharing best practices, we put together our Top 10 Reasons that Journey Mapping Projects Fail, a la David Letterman.

Why Journey Mapping Fails

10. Not doing your homework. Too many try to rush into journey mapping projects, without taking the time to dig out what’s already known in the organization today. And we don’t just mean existing customer research. Call center logs, operational KPIs, social media complaints – all should be included in the approach. This effort lays the groundwork to show business impact for your CX program.

9. Treating it as a market research project. Let’s be clear here. While creating journey maps uses some market research skills, there’s a clear difference between your typical market research project and best-in-class customer journey mapping. Journey mapping is more comprehensive than a typical market research project, including customer videos, action planning sessions, and graphic journey maps. Our experience is that most market research focuses on the report, while customer journey mapping focuses on the action that is a result of the mapping.

8. Boiling the ocean. In our interviews with companies who have run successful journey mapping projects, this one phrase keeps coming up over and over. Focusing on a specific scope that allows you to drive customer-focused change is critical to make a difference. Read More >

7. Forgetting executive engagement. I love the story of a bottoms-up customer engagement revolution as much as the next person. But they’re not common. Sustainable action requires sponsorship. Jumping into the program without engaging executives is a sure way to ensure your journey map sits on a shelf.

6. Leaving out the nay-sayers. The surest way to get stuck driving action is to only include the true believers in the journey mapping project. It’s rare that legal and compliance are part of journey mapping efforts. As a result, they have no context, making it easy to say no to the ideas that come out of the effort. Starting with friendly faces is a really good way to get going quickly – leading to a crashing halt when those other teams have to sign off on your changes. Involve them up front to ensure engagement when it comes time to do something.

5. No defined business problem. Don’t take on a project until you can define a business problem – including KPIs – that you want to attack. We’ll often work with companies that haven’t yet reached this level of detail, and will sometimes spend months defining the right business problem, journey and customer to map. Too often companies get so excited to do journey mapping that they don’t take the time to identify what they want to be different afterward.

4. Not including customers. It’s called customer journey mapping for a reason. Do we really have to discuss this? Apparently so, because we continually run across these maps that were done by talking to internal employees only.

3. Using a small team. “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” That’s probably true if you’re making chili. But you need a broad team to ensure success. Also see #6.

2. No governance. You don’t need governance to do journey mapping – as long as you don’t want to do anything with the results. But it’s hard to engage the organization in change without it. Executive governance ensures that changes are made – and sustained – coming out of journey mapping.

And the number one reason customer journey mapping fails?

1. It’s treated as a project. Projects have defined beginnings and endings – programs don’t. Effective journey mapping is the beginning of a continuous program to put your customers at the center of how you operate. When journey mapping is a project, it leads to some quick wins – but long-term benefits are lost.


Interested in journey mapping? Read more about our journey mapping approach, take a look through our research, and Contact Us to start a conversation.

Three Tips for Employee Journey Mapping

Journey mapping is powerful. A clear visualization of your customer’s journey helps rally the company to support a new vision of your customers’ challenges, and how you can make it easier to be your customer.

But why should customers get all the love? If it’s such a powerful tool, shouldn’t we find other uses for it?

Employee journey mapping is often neglected. Or, worse, it’s done in a haphazard way, foregoing the discipline we use for our customers. But there’s no shortage of research on the linkage between the customer and employee experiences. Consider using your journey mapping process for customers.

Three Tips for Applying Journey Mapping to your Employees Read more

White Paper: Designing a World-Class CX Approach

What does it take to design a customer experience (CX) program that drives business results? 

The CXPA identifies six disciplines as core to an effective CX program: 

  • CX Strategy 
  • Customer-Centric Culture 
  • VOC Customer Insight & Understanding 
  • Experience Design Improvement &Innovation 
  • Metrics &Measurement ROI 
  • Organizational Adoption & Accountability 

This CX white paper, written in conjunction with Intouch Insight, walks through the six disciplines, with tips on how to use them to build a roadmap to success.

Kris LaFavor Journey Map Designer

Designing Customer Journey Maps: An Interview with Kris LaFavor

We sat down recently to chat with Kris LaFavor, Heart of the Customer’s Data Visualization Designer, about her work designing journey maps.

What do you do when you start the process of designing a customer experience journey map?

It’s important for me to have context before I start. I make sure I understand the background material and information in regards to what the client wants to map and what they’re trying to achieve with the map. This understanding ensures that I’m not mapping extraneous information. The high-level information is plotted out first and hierarchy flows from there. Read more

5 reasons why CX should focus on the B2B Pre-Sales Journey

In the Harvard Business Review article, “The New Sales Imperative,” the CEB reports that in just the last two years the average number of people involved in a B2B purchasing decision has increased from 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today. This change has made the journey far more complex, creating longer sales cycles and an overall more challenging sales process. 

This is the chance for customer experience (CX) to make a measurable difference to your company, by bringing in CX tools such as journey mapping to a very real and very visible business problem. 

A perfect opportunity. But one I don’t see many CX operations focused on.  Read more

Use Commitment Science to Drive CX Change

At Heart of the Customer, our team is reading Influence, the classic book by Robert Cialdini. While it’s an older book, it has a ton to offer to anybody looking to build action, including in the area of customer experience (CX).

This week we’re up to Chapter 3, Commitment. Cialdini uses a ton of examples, including Chinese prison camps in Korea, fraternities, and small kids playing with toys. Through these examples, Cialdini shows how by convincing others to publicly claim their support for a specific philosophy, you are leading people to subsequently act in a manner consistent with that philosophy – even if they previously did not strongly support such a position. Read more

B2B Companies: Focus on Onboarding First

In any customer experience, certain phases have more impact than others – either positive or negative – and create a measurable impact on the rest of the relationship. Positive results lead to customers who trust you, are more willing to forgive mistakes, and are more interested in your other products or services. But if they don’t go so well, customers are more likely to stray; they pounce on every mistake, and they’re very reticent to use your other offerings.

The moments that matter vary by experience, and even by individual. Effective journey maps show these Moments of Truth. But even if you don’t have a journey map – or if yours just isn’t very good – there’s one area that is consistently important in B2B experiences: The new customer onboarding journey. Read more