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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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Healthcare Customer Journey Map

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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Heart of the Customer Team

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.

What’s the Problem Here?

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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

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

Creating a CX Capability Interview – Part 2

We posted part 1 last week. Here’s part two of Jim’s interview with Intouch Insight:

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In part-one of our interview, Jim – founder of Heart of the Customer and Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) – provides many great insights for customer experience (CX) professionals looking to build a standout CX program across their organization.

In part-two, Jim continues the conversation with:

    • How to lead change towards a more customer-centric organization
    • The biggest CX misconception
    • The business value of great customer experience
    • Where to invest first in your CX transformation

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Journey Mapping Best Practices

The Twin Cities Research Group (TCRG) asked Jean Fasching and I to present on Journey Mapping Best Practices. Jean is a HoC engagement lead with a strong research background, perfect for this audience.

The agenda:

  • Who we are
  • Why journey mapping?
  • What makes journey mapping successful?
  • Case study: Meridian Health

The presentation was given in-person, but the audio and slides were captured below (warning: the sound quality isn’t ideal):

You can also download the PDF of the slides here.

Enjoy!

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