Posts

How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer Journey Mapping Book

Worst Example of Inside-Out Thinking Contest

How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer Journey Mapping BookAs CX leaders, fans and enthusiasts, we naturally believe that everybody should embed the voice of the customer in decision-making. Unfortunately, we know that isn’t always a reality. Sometimes, companies “follow their gut,” doing things that clearly don’t stem from customer needs.

So we’re reaching out to you in the CX community. What is the worst example of inside-out thinking you’ve seen? The top three examples will each receive a copy of our book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?

Enter here.

How do you operationalize “Customers are our #1 priority”?

I recently moved to a new part of town, and the local Wendy’s has “We love customers” on their placard. My dry cleaner has the same message printed on their hangers.

Who cares?

What is the purpose of such a generic statement? Do other dry cleaners have hangers that say, “We’re really indifferent about customers, but thanks for using us”? Do they expect an emotional connection to result from this supposed outpouring of love? I guess it’s possible – but very unlikely. 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.

Fees are rational. Customers aren’t.

I love the book Nudge. It’s a great reference on how to use small actions to make big changes, discussing such domains as 401(k)s, the environment, and health care. It’s a great read that has tons of applications to any change agent.

Unfortunately, one of their principles of choice architecture is frequently misapplied – using incentives to change behavior.

I’m not referring to the area that CX leaders get to see up close – the gaming that happens when you put too much emphasis on surveys. That’s a critical issue – but for another day. No, this post is about using fees to change customer behavior. It’s a rational approach that makes a lot of sense in theory – but can create havoc when not done carefully.  Read more

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

“If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!” – Lessons from a journey mapping workshop

I had the opportunity to conduct journey mapping with a state agency working to transform the employer’s unemployment experience. The group followed our first rule of journey mapping – always make sure the customer is included in the process – by conducting multiple levels of research, including in-depth interviews with employers who were new to the process and usability interviews.

Streamlining Your Process

Next they engaged us to map out the existing employer’s journeys. I knew they were the right type of people for this work when I overheard one say, “If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!”

Unfortunately, that’s not always the approach.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve run across a broken process, and the response is, “We need to train our customers.”

The reality is, our customers are already trained.  They’re trained by Amazon to have a streamlined process.  They’re trained by Apple to expect simplicity. And, if we’re not careful, they can be trained by your competition to expect something better.

The irony is, this came from a state agency with no competition. But they understand that while loyalty may seem irrelevant, it really isn’t. Being loyal in this context doesn’t mean using their services more – nobody wants to use unemployment insurance any more than they need to. No, in this context, loyalty means being less costly to serve. It means less calls, and less irritation when those calls happen.

That’s what journey mapping is all about – making customer-focused change to improve the process for everybody. And, if the state gets that, then there’s hope for the rest of us, too!

Put an End to Customer Frustration and Build Real Loyalty

Frustrated-Caller-Stocksy_txp7d4c1ddePjP000_Small_493953

I was talking with a call center manager who made a startling comment: “We have some problems with our website. But we deliberately don’t fix them. That way, our customers call us and we can fix their problems and delight them.”

Wow. This was one of those situations where I wasn’t really sure how to react. Who really believes that’s a good thing?

The myth of the Service Recovery Paradox is apparently alive and well. This is the belief that when you do a great job fixing customer problems, they become more loyal than they were before they called. It’s a reassuring belief. At call centers we spend so much time resolving problems that we want to believe that we’re building loyalty. But maybe a better way to view it is that we’re saving loyalty. Read more

4 ways to bring the customer into your journey mapping workshop

A journey mapping workshop is a powerful way to build customer intelligence and to create customer-based capabilities.

Journey mapping workshops bring together members from different parts of your company to walk through a particular customer’s journey, documenting your customer’s steps and emotions throughout. Where these workshops really show their value is by documenting how your silos impact your customer. Are there missed handoffs? Perhaps you have redundant emails coming from different departments, or conflicting incentives that lead to contradictory programs. They also show the systems and groups that impact that customer, and are a superior way to create alignment on your needs. See here for more details on how to conduct a journey mapping workshop.

Diving In

Done right, what differentiates a great journey mapping workshop from a process flow discussion is this focus on your customer. And this focus can be really hard to create.

We spend 30-50 hours a week interacting with our internal processes and procedures, and only a small fraction of that time actually talking to customers. It’s hard to leave that behind to really put yourself in your customer’s shoes. But you need to find a way to do that to make your journey mapping workshop successful.

For example, when I was leading a workshop, we started by identifying the customer steps. Our first volunteer began by, “Well, of course the first step our customer takes is to call us.”

That’s when we had to call a pause. From his perspective, what he said was true. This is his first step in the process, so it’s a natural place to begin. But by accepting this, we cut off our best opportunities to make improvements. Read more

Two Customer Experiences Gone Wrong – LinkedIn, Arby’s

LinkedIn Invitation

Two national companies have created lessons for all of us.

First, from LinkedIn

#1:  I received the email on the right from LinkedIn today. I don’t actually know anything about the LinkedIn Contacts feature yet.  It’s probably really good.  But can’t they be more selective in choosing a contact to display? Since it’s unlikely I’ll use LinkedIn as “an opportunity to say hello” to my wife!

They probably did not deliberately select somebody with my same last name, but they should definitely weed out contacts who do.

The lesson:  It’s impossible to think through every possible result of your campaigns, but do you test them thoroughly before launching?  Had LinkedIn sent this email to all employees first, they would have found this problem before going live to customers.  Do you test before launch?

Next, from Arby’s

#2: Have you bought something at the Arby’s drive-through recently?  A polite woman’s voice comes on asking if you want to order whatever product they’re promoting.  You say “No thanks,” and the conversation continues in a very different voice.  Apparently, Arby’s uses an actress to pre-record the offer to start the conversation, then uses an employee from there on.

My local McDonald’s also tested this idea, but abandoned it quickly.  Who could think this is a good idea?  If the lift gained from the actress’s invitation so great that it makes up for the jarring experience that follows? My favorite is when the accent-neutral actress’s invitation is followed by a Hispanic man asking if I want curly fries with my order.

The lesson: While most of us don’t have a drive-through, do you create a similar jarring customer experience when we conduct the inevitable hand-offs?  More importantly, do you take the time to personally walk through your customer experience?  Because one walk-through should be all it takes to realize this is a mistake.