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Journey Mapping to Hypothesis Mapping: Creating Better CX

hypothesis mapJourney mapping is a great way to visualize and truly understand your customer’s journey as they interact with your organization. But when you start a journey mapping project, how do you know where to start? Where do you investigate?  It begins with a hypothesis.

A frequent practice is to end a journey mapping process with a workshop, and that’s definitely a good idea. It cements the learning, and adds depth to your maps. It also helps create ownership with your internal teams. These workshops pull together the data that’s been gathered to create an immersive and empathetic view of the customer experience. But there’s another way to apply the principles of journey mapping, this time to the beginning of the process – hypothesis mapping. Read more

Don’t Let Scripts Ruin a Great Customer Experience

script_customer-experience-Depositphotos_14056910_sLast week I had a computer problem that required me to contact technical support. I was sure I would have to send my computer in, but they were able to quickly solve my problem.

So why was I so annoyed? And why does this matter to you?

I started with phone support, but after hearing there would be a 13-minute wait, I fired up chat. After greeting me, the technician said, “I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” “Great!” I responded, and gave the details.

I then waited for two minutes while she was obviously working with another customer. Eventually she responded, “I’m sorry for the wait. I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” She then proceeded to apply an update to my computer, telling me a third time that she will give her best effort to resolve my issue.

While the computer was rebooting I received a call from phone support, so I switched to this mode.

That’s when this new tech said it: “I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” My customer service alarm immediately went off. Read more

Guest Post: What does your retail pricing say about you?

Shawnby Shawn Phillips

As a self-professed retail geek, I’m always noticing prices and deals that retailers offer. More than that, though, I notice what these prices really mean. What are you saying to a customer when you set the price of a product? It’s a good question, because you end up saying a lot.

Price is, of course, one of the central touchpoints of retail. But it’s a lot more complex than it seems. The customer wants to feel good about the amount they paid for their purchase, and while this can mean that they feel like they got a great deal, it can also mean that they feel like they paid a fair price for a premium product. If your customer feels like a high-quality product is priced too low, they might start to doubt the quality. Read more

Interview with DST Health Solutions CXO Lisa Crymes: Creating a Multi-Layered Customer Advisory Board Approach

Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are a terrific way to get consistent customer feedback, and are particularly popular with B2B firms. An effective CAB strategy allows you to stay in tune with what your customers need, and also gives you a forum for bouncing off ideas before they get too far down the road, providing an early warning before investment into a misaligned idea is too high.

One challenge to a CAB is its make-up. Does your CAB include senior leaders or day-to-day contacts? Do you focus on strategic advice or instead measure how you’re doing? DST Health Solutions looks at these options and says “Yes” to all of them, by building a multi-layered approach to CABs. Read more

A customer journey map is a story

Amanda-Purchasing-Insurance-Journey-Map-v2A question I get asked a lot is, “What exactly is a customer journey map?” Considering that my official title is Mapper-In-Chief, it seems like I would have a short, clean answer ready and waiting. Or at least a short overview, with the caveat, but there’s more to it than that. In reality, though, I only have the caveat, and not the actual answer—because there is, in fact, more to it than that.

A journey map can mean a lot of different things. Despite the word “map” in its name, a journey map doesn’t have a set design or layout—in fact, design plays a critical role in creating the map. Because what it’s mapping is the customer and their emotional journey—a highly individual process, and one that defies a set template. It is the customer’s needs that drive the action of the map, and therefore by nature each journey map is an individualized diagram of a customer’s interaction with your company.

Read more

It’s time to rethink transactional surveys

Greensboro_MarriottAs a CX profession we’re addicted to surveys.  We want to know more about our customers, and a survey is our first response.

A survey by itself is neither good nor bad.  But what we forget is the unintended side effects of our surveys.  Remember – how you survey your customers is another part of your customer experience.  It does no good to learn how you’re doing if the result of your survey is a worse customer experience.

What Did They Want?

Take my recent stay at the Greensboro Marriott.  It’s a nice hotel, and I probably would have given a 9 or 10 on their survey.  Until I received this email (emphasis theirs – not mine): Read more

“Customer experience is all about culture change”: An interview with Mark Smith

Mark Smith 2014How do you create change when you’re the first customer experience (CX) leader at a highly successful business with a history of customer focus?

That’s the challenge Mark Smith faced when he became GE Capital Fleet Services’ first Vice President of Customer Experience a year ago. His response? Focus on the culture, because that’s what will sustain your experience.

Fleet Services’ primary customers are fleet managers who outsource some or all of their fleet management to the company. But they also have a B2C-like relationship with the drivers of those vehicles, who contact the company for everything from password resets to maintaining their vehicles. To build a customer-focused culture, Mark focuses on Listening, Sharing and Collaborating. Read more

Customer journey maps are all about expectations

Picture2Nobody likes surprises.  Even positive ones can ruin your customer experience.

Here’s a case in point. I was teaching at an insurance company when an employee told me a story. A customer filing a claim told him, “my agent said I don’t have rental coverage. Now I have to pay for the stupid rental car.” The employee informed him that the agent was wrong – he did have rental insurance. But instead of thrilling the customer, it frustrated him.

His relationship is with the agent who sold him his policy. That’s where his trust is. Instead of being happy that he now has rental coverage, he’s confused – who does he trust? How does he know who’s right?  And if the rental coverage is wrong, what else might be?

Map it Out

That’s where effective customer journey maps can really help you understand and prevent customer problems. Effective journey maps show customer expectations and highlight when they’re not being met. They isolate those moments of truth when customer expectations are dashed. One of my first customer journey maps was the health savings account journey (HSA). My client had a “single sign-on” for their health plan and their HSA. For some reason, customers felt this meant they only had to sign in once to get to their HSA (I know – strange, right?).  Of course, that’s not how it worked.  While they only had to enter their username once, they had to enter a second password to get to their account. Surprise!

A surprise for the company was that website login was the number one cause of customer attrition. Their customer journey maps highlighted the issue. Luckily they were able to quickly make at least small adjustments to improve the process, combined with an educational campaign.

That’s the power of effective customer journey maps. And I’m not talking about Excel or Visio boxes on a chart. Or PowerPoint slides with a few bubbles.

No, clearly understanding your customer journey and their challenges requires a well-designed map to instantly show your reader where problems are. Notice how Jane’s inability to order a product above results in a significant drop in engagement.

Do you fully understand your customer’s expectations today? Or will you be as surprised as they are?

Refunds are for cowards

No-refund-online-legal-serviceTuesday I had a major issue with my host provider Inmotion Hosting. I discovered that my beautiful new site no longer looked so beautiful, instead offering searches for heart valves and similar terms. Obviously, they were no longer hosting my domain.

I immediately called support, and my tech acknowledged their systems did not execute my domain renewal. He emailed their hosting provider and told me I’d be fixed within 24-48 hours. I had a focus group to attend, so hung up and asked to have a supervisor call me. After a few hours with no call I called back. This tech understood my urgency and had the problem resolved within 20 minutes.

On thing that’s interesting is that Inmotion Hosting doesn’t do surveys. Instead, they send an automated email from the tech asking me to email the supervisor if I had great service.

Aftermath

Oh, I emailed the supervisor. I told her my tech was great, but that this was a mess. It’s their job to discover when they mistakenly fail to renew a domain, not mine. That’s customer experience 101 – reduce your customer’s effort.

I wish I could say she understood the problem and called me back as I requested. Instead, the next thing I saw was a refund “as I requested” for the $11.99 domain registration fee with no explanation.

Yippee! That certainly made up for my website and email being down for 4-6 hours! Read more

Boardroom

Not ready for customer experience governance? Then you’re not ready for CX

BoardroomAs a passionate customer experience (CX) advocate, I frequently get to meet with companies just beginning their customer experience journey. I can consistently predict their future success when the conversation moves to governance.

Governance is the active involvement of senior leadership to guide the program and knock down barriers on the way to an improved customer experience. We all love the idea of a bottom-up approach, but it’s pretty much impossible to sustain change without customer experience governance.

An Effective Customer Experience Program Changes How Decisions are Made.

If you don’t change the decision-making, you really aren’t changing the customer experience. And the most important decisions happen above your pay grade. That’s why you need customer experience governance. Read more