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“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!

Use Journey Mapping to Kill 50 Ideas That Suck

2016-04-13 21.53.33-1We were leading the Action Workshop, finishing a journey mapping project with a client.

Whereas they had a very strong overall experience, they were struggling to retain Millennials, a key demographic for them (and for many clients).  The journey mapping process led to a clear picture of the pain points for this demographic, and pointed the way to some quick wins, as well as very strategic approaches to really engage this group.  Unfortunately, the challenge came when we engaged the local staff. They were already receiving so many initiatives from various sources that they were struggling (and often failing) to keep up.  As a result, the customer-facing staff was so busy doing reports and filing emails that they really didn’t have time to be customer-facing anymore.

That’s when a participant finally said it. As we were brainstorming, he put up the post-it note: “Kill 50 ideas that suck.” 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

BCBSM Customer Experience Room

CX people are digital, customers and employees are analog

BCBSM-Customer-Experience-Room-3-300x199There’s been an ongoing discussion on the CXPA’s LinkedIn group around an article listing the most effective journey mapping tools.  Tools mentioned were Visio, a presentation tool and a spreadsheet. But this discussion isn’t really just about journey mapping. It goes to the heart of how we communicate with the rest of our organization.  And it shows that sometimes we fall into the same traps that we try to keep the rest of the company out of: thinking about ourselves instead of our customers. Read more

Photos from Journey Mapping Workshop

I had the opportunity to lead at yesterday’s Minnesota Government IT Symposium.  The topic was Journey Mapping Workshop: Reduce User and Customer Effort and Increase Satisfaction, and we had a great time creating maps of various customer journeys. Just check out the proud groups with their Customer-Centric Change Charters!

Participants went through an interactive form of Customer Journey Mapping Made Easy, where they learned how to create a journey map, as well as the importance of including actual customers in your research.

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It’s time to get journey maps right

This is a journey map rant. It’s time we stopped calling employee workshops, Post-It Notes charts and PowerPoint and Visio documents customer journey maps. And we need to realize that design matters.

I recently read an article on journey mapping. It had some good points, but ugly maps. Then I hit a sentence that stopped me altogether:

Focus less on how pretty it is, and more on how valuable it is. Inevitably, someone from design will see this project and want to jump up in there. Suddenly, the conversation will turn to legends, color codes, formatting, and more. Avoid the rabbit whole [sic] that is visualizations and bring it back to the data. If you have valuable data, the visualization is just a vehicle for the valuable story.

Just a vehicle?” Clearly, this author doesn’t understand that design is part of what makes a journey map effective. Although I knew that the moment I saw his maps. It’s not just about data. It’s about telling your customer’s story in an effective way. And you can’t do that with ugly maps. Read more

“It’s up to you” – Choices can ruin your customer experience

20141016_170140Choices make or break your customer experience. Design them well and they make life easier on your customers. But leave them to chance and they can drag down your customer experience.

I’m teaching a series of customer experience workshops for an insurance company. We were looking for an example to bring it all together. So, being a good partner, I went out and got rear-ended. Now I have a great story. (Note to my insurance company: it really wasn’t deliberate!)   Read more

Celebrating #CXDay

I hope you had a terrific CX Day!  I really enjoyed the online content – if you didn’t get a chance to view it, I highly recommend going to www.CXDay.org for a chance to review them. Here in Minneapolis we had an amazing event, with over 80 participants learning about what to do when your customers are tired of talking to you (survey fatigue).

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Who Was There?

I posted earlier about local events at Wolters Kluwer and ShopHQ.  Today I have photos from two other celebrations – at UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement and Allianz Life.

united-healthcare-logoOne of the UnitedHealthcare activities was a booth in their commons area. They engaged employees in quick conversations about grounding their decisions based on VOC and stressed the importance of plain and simple language in communications. They completed by asking for a commitment of what they will do to make the experience better for our consumers.  As Lisa Wilson, Senior Director of the Member Experience explained, “We aim to keep it fun, simple and impactful!”

They also hosted several of the CXPA webinars throughout the day. Lisa wanted to make sure I said, “Thank you to the CxPA for providing such a suite of opportunities to help us raise our game here at UHC!”  Below are two photos of their day – love the selfie!

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Allianz also had a great celebration.  I’ve posted about their strong communications program in the past, and it was evident on CX Day as always. They have televisions throughout their offices, and for this day they focused exclusively on customer experience topics. I’ve included one example below, which links to more of their posters. Because this is also Customer Service week, the rest of the week they are focusing on service, with numerous activities designed to engage and recognize employees who work in Operations, including in the Call Center.

Allianz CX Day Poster

Recap

Lastly, Director of Customer Experience Barbara Norrgard explained, “We also recently ran a contest where we asked people what they are doing to achieve our aspiration and we ran the article today.” Winners were announced to the entire company, celebrated for the impact they have on the customer experience.

So there you have it – two more excellent ideas you can use for next year.  We’re down to only 363 planning days before our next CX Day!

Case Study: Using Journey Mapping Workshops to Drive Change in City Government Customer Experience

2275992Kelly Ohaver is the Client Experience Manager at the City of Centennial, as well as an active CXPA member. Her mission is to introduce customer experience principles to improve the city’s experience for its citizens and clients. She describes her job as “the most fascinating, challenging, and rewarding job ever” as she strives to bring an outside-in focus to the city. “It’s so rewarding when you see people get caught up and excited.”

I could (and probably will) write an entire article just about Kelly’s role. But one particular activity of hers caught my ear. Kelly recently ran a journey mapping workshop that serves as a great case study for how customer experience tools can be used for internal clients as well as external.

A quick refresher: Journey mapping is an exercise to understand your customer’s true steps, as well as the emotions that actually make up that journey. Some organizations use customer research, while others use workshops to help employees try on their customer’s shoes.  Kelly created the internal session after attending a workshop on the topic.

This was her first journey mapping session in her role. It surrounding a challenging IT transition with four newly-elected council members. Read more

Create Better Customer Outcomes through Journey Mapping Workshops

This post was originally shared through the ICMI (International Customer Management Institute) newsletter. You can view the original version here.

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Call center managers have seen it before. Customers form an expectation from your sales channel or marketing literature, receive a different experience through operations, and then call your contact center where they may receive a third perspective.

It’s the setup for a rough call, and an even rougher customer experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Great companies have found a way to create a consistent end-to-end experience. They align their silos, creating a consistent experience from start to finish. How do they do it?

Enter customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping is a series of techniques that map out your customer experience from start to finish. It follows your customer across silos as they go from initial awareness through the sales process into ongoing engagement.

A popular way to conduct journey mapping is through a workshop. Read more