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CX for Skeptics

Three Ways to Show Business Impact for Your CX Program

CX for SkepticsHere’s a story I’ve seen played out multiple times:

An executive believes in the power of customer experience (CX). Perhaps they read an article, or they heard about a CX program another company offered, or saw a competitor speak at a conference. For whatever reason, the executive saw the light, and wanted a CX program of their own. They hire someone to run it and tell them, “Just drive change. I’ll take care of making sure the other executives are on board.” Their employees implement surveys and work to engage the business, confident they’re making a difference. They present their survey results to whoever will listen, and lobby other silos to improve the experience in order to improve survey results. All is good.

Then that executive leaves. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not. Read more

How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer Journey Mapping Book

What Does Journey Mapping Do for You?

How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer bookI was recently in a call, and an executive new to her company’s journey mapping initiative asked, “Exactly what does this $150k I’m spending on a journey map buy us?” Luckily, our client had a ready answer, but that’s not always the case.

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Journeys are for Action, not Maps

In preparation for the upcoming Customer Contact Week, CCW shared their special report on journey mapping with me. Given our focus and expertise on journey mapping, I’m commonly asked to review these types of reports. Unlike most, however, CCW’s special report truly gets to the heart of the matter – journey mapping is not about creating a map; it’s about driving customer-focused change in your organization.

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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.

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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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.

Driving Change Through Journey Mapping

Too much journey mapping is done in an intuitive manner. Which is why half of all journey maps fail to drive action. We surveyed over 100 practitioners and vendors to learn the best practices, and published them in this white paper. You can see a summary in the attached infographic. Look for this year’s journey mapping survey to go out next month!

Customer Journey Map Round Table Review

I had the opportunity this week to host a CXPA round table on Best Practices on Customer Journey Mapping for B2B and B2C. We had great participation from a number of companies, including Fidelity, Thomson Reuters, and ServiceNow.

We discussed two very different meanings for the term, “Customer Journey Map:”

  • A research activity where you work with customers to understand the steps they take as they experience your journey, and the emotional impact of each step along the way. I wrote a white paper on the topic here.
  • A workshop where you bring members together to lay out the customer journey, often involving the people and systems that impact that customer journey. These workshops are also called Customer Ecosystem Map workshops, and I put together a SlideShare on the topic here.

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Your Customer Experience Infrastructure is Crumbling

We are facing a management crisis.  And our customers and employees are paying the price.

The mantra over the last 20 years, but particularly during the Great Recession, has been “Do More with Less.”  Financial pressures have led to gutting anything that doesn’t show a direct return, from business investments to labor in retail stores.  But as documented in my white paper, what looks good for 3 months ends up with long-term consequences.

Management is another casualty.  Reorganizations and management shake-ups are a regular occurrence.  The role of a professional manager who has the time to develop her people is a relic of the past.  And that’s negatively impacting both our employees and our customers.

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