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Create Your CX Vision through Journey Mapping

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

Yogi’s quote applies to much more than baseball – it gets to the heart of what limits so many customer experience (CX) programs. When I ask most CX leaders what they’re trying to accomplish, I get a general statement like, “We’re working cross-functionally to create a better customer experience, in order to create more loyal customers.”

That’s an awful statement because it doesn’t actually say anything. Read more

Moving up Gartner’s CX Pyramid with Journey Mapping

Last week I wrote about the Gartner CX Pyramid, an interesting maturity model. This week I’ll go into how to use journey mapping best practices to move up the model based on Gartner’s description of the model on their public website.

Selecting the right journey mapping approach requires you to understand where you are on the model and where you aspire to be. An inaccurate assessment will create waste; attempting to create a Proactive-level approach with only a Communication-level infrastructure will be expensive and ultimately frustrate customers instead of creating loyalty. Similarly, using a lower-level approach won’t have sufficient impact with higher-level design capabilities. Journey mapping doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it requires enough staffing and leadership to implement the changes that come out of it. Read more

Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

This is ironic. Journey mapping is a fantastic tool to break down silos by creating a shared view of the customer experience.

Except when it isn’t. All too often, companies focus on small teams to move quickly. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” they argue. “Aligning all those teams will take time, and we need to be done in 6/8/12/16 weeks, and we don’t have time to educate HR, IT, Legal, or other groups about what we’re doing. We’ll catch them up afterward.”

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Journey mapping tools don’t address the most critical challenges.

There are a ton of journey mapping tools out there. I’m most familiar with Touchpoint Dashboard, but I’ve had demos from many others. They all excel at certain components of journey mapping, but they don’t (and probably can’t) address some of the largest problems.

That’s because the biggest reasons journey maps fail have nothing to do with digital problems; they’re analog. As we’ll discuss tomorrow, the biggest problem in journey mapping is that it’s done in silos. Small teams are created to do journey mapping. Those small teams intimately learn the customer experience, but because they don’t control the critical touch points, the effort fails to drive change.

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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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We still have challenges navigating trade-offs when deciding what to map.

Most journey mapping projects fail to drive change. That’s what we discovered when we surveyed practitioners who have conducted such projects (learn more about this survey in our white paper, “Driving Change Through Journey Maps”).

One leading success factor is selecting the right journey to map, and it’s the first place that problems occur because it requires trade-offs. Do you want an end-to-end map or one of a specific sub-journey?

An end-to-end map is interesting. Seeing the customers’ journey from beginning to end helps us to understand where the points of friction are and helps prioritize places where issues need to be fixed. Unfortunately, that end-to-end view isn’t always the best way to improve the customer experience.

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Journey mapping has become a must-have approach to customer experience

Before it became a business five years ago, Heart of the Customer was a blog I started when I was leading CX at a Fortune 100 company. Along the way I learned about journey mapping, and created the post Customer Journey Map – the Top 10 Requirements to reflect the limitations I saw at the time. That post has since had over 108,000 views, including over 4,000 in the last year. When I started the business, that post drove us to number 1 in any Google ranking on the topic – journey map, customer journey map – even “journey mapping software,” we didn’t even offer software!

Since then, journey mapping has become even more popular, as you can see from the chart on the right.

Journey mapping is now the go-to customer experience tool, and has been discussed in Forbes, the Harvard Business Journal, and countless other journals.

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Reflections after Five Years of Journey Mapping

Last month we celebrated Heart of the Customer’s 5th year anniversary. The team got together to share where we are, discuss best practices, plan for the future, and—most importantly—to celebrate! We were also grateful to have Angelica Bonacci from Allianz come to tell us about the ways her organization is using our journey mapping work to drive internal change.

This led me to reflect on what has occurred over the last five years in terms of journey mapping as an art. Next week, we’ll have five posts discussing journey mapping and how it has changed. The five are:

  1. Journey mapping has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have in customer experience.
  2. We’re still challenged by navigating trade-offs when deciding what to map.
  3. Too many see journey mapping as just a workshop.
  4. Journey mapping tools still don’t address the most critical challenges.
  5. Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

These all reflect, to varying degrees, the five journey mapping questions that you should consider before embarking on a project: Read more

It’s not Necessarily a Design Issue

I regularly receive emails that go something like this: 

I have almost completed my organization’s journey map! Can you give me some design suggestions before I share it with my company?

This request comes from a good place, a desire to educate the company about the customer’s journey, but after a few questions, it quickly falls apart. There are at least three problems with this request. 

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Why do you need to talk to customers?

I was talking with a prospective customer last week, and I walked through our customer journey mapping process – first you collect companies’ hypothesis and existing data, then go out to their customers to interview them in their places of work (they’re a B2B company), and finally bring that voice of the customer back to your teams to drive change.

He had attended a journey mapping training class and truly drank the Kool-Aid. He talked about how he put together a workshop and wanted to expand the methodology. Then, at the end of the conversation, he asked: “Jim, I trust you; you do this professionally, but why exactly do you need to talk to customers in journey mapping?” Read more