“100 Bad days made a 100 good stories…AJR – The band
100 good stories makes me interesting at parties”
Journey Mapping is really about telling stories from an individual’s perspective. You may have started reading this post because you identify as a top executive or perhaps you are striving to be one. If either the case, you’ve helped me prove the theory; people are interested in content based on labels they identify with – or in those types of personas they strive to be. If you started reading this post for other reasons than the C-level distinction, by all means read-on as hopefully you too will learn something! My goal is to help others realize the value gained from the journey mapping technique(s) by providing some examples from the myriad of corporate sessions I’ve been involved with. I want to focus primarily on why the technique works and provide a few generalized examples of the benefits I’ve witnessed in some of the one-day introductory sessions.
Why it works
1.) Face it. You’ve been labeled.
You may not like being labeled the “Top Barney” at Moe’s Tavern, but Moe certainly appreciates your patronage. OK, a mindless example, but the point is you’ve been labeled as a restaurant’s top customer. Nowadays just about every brand has a loyalty program. Are you Platinum this or Diamond that? Even non-consumer based companies classify their customers and provide preferential treatment to the best customers. The beginning of any good journey mapping session for your business is understanding who your top customer-(types) are and how they interact with your brand. Identify your customer buyer-classification types, select one of these members, and create their specific journey-with-your-brand from your marketing efforts-through-current state; whether it is good or bad. I promise you will learn a lot about your business from this activity. Labeling works.
2.) It’s Captivating.
Following that Persona through a Story… is Simply Just More Interesting. It has become more well-known that having an emotional connection to a story makes it more memorable. Living in Colorado, I know the ski areas love to hear about fresh powder falling from those nimbus clouds in the sky. The resorts try to attract families who will spend money at their resorts; on hotels, tickets, events, and dinners. We can make a more emotional connection when we hear the story of how Stefan the “powder-chaser” followed the local Ski-App to see where the most snow will fall over the weekend so he can successfully book a last-minute room for his family-of-four at a ski-in/ski-out lodge. He wants to have access to the first run of the day and allow his entire family to benefit from the local attractions and ski amenities his kids enjoy; like the local ice rink and outdoor-heated-pool. The details of a specific person and their unique activities help us relate more to the story and allow us to recall more details.
What isn’t interesting nor memorable is to hear is that “a family found a deal and booked it.” Detailing the story with the specific highs and lows of Stefan’s journey provide huge insight into your customer, their behaviors, and your business. Which App did he use? How’d he book it? Were their issues with payment or reservations? Was customer service or chat available to help up-sell or upgrade services based on Stefan’s personal likes? Were the service contacts courteous or the service tools easy to use? All these things help you understand your customer better and provide your business a way to delight your customers with the optimal experience.
Loyal customer journeys are fun to create as you can find ways to capitalize on those boom moments; however you probably benefit even more from those jagged journeys which can highlight ways to keep customers rather than lose them. Where can you improve on those processes or technologies to avoid mistakes of the past?
Customers who abandon your brand are important stories to tell as well; albeit probably not as fun as your loyalty stories. Regardless of the positive or negative story that develops from your customer journeys, this process has helped countless organizations better serve and get to know their customers.
Journey Mapping Results:
A brief sampling of ideas I’ve experienced in different Journey Mapping sessions are provided below to highlight some of the realizations Executive Management teams have discovered. These revelations aren’t that unique to each business, but still remarkable discoveries as even small improvements in these areas can produce enormous value in time, money and satisfaction. It is typical to see dozens or more ideas cultivated from these sessions.
Innovation: Uncovering New Programs and Technologies
- Efforts to leverage more Social Media channels, and more often, to capture those positive boom moments that can be shared with your prospects and customer-base
- Utilizing chatbots for repetitive training demands, i.e., guided assistance for onboarding
- Utilizing chatbots and robotics for common customer service inquiries and interactions, i.e., “Welcome to Fast-Food-Are-Us, can I take your order?”
- Development of customer-based Apps to simplify the customer’s interactions with the brand
- Discovering the impact of Partners and the need to further build effective Partner Programs.
Discovery of Unknown Broken Processes
Another common discovery from these journeys is uncovering unknown broken processes that often management didn’t know existed. Some examples:
- Retail /grocery store managers who have had to stop doing part of their job to watch for shoplifters
- Call center agents keeping customers on hold 10 minutes to log into billing systems to get necessary information
- Warehouse employees tracking down lost equipment
- Field Service employees accommodating a-typical or unexpected location issues; simply put, “hard to reach locations”
Although some of these examples may sound extreme, I guarantee your organization at some point has uncovered some messes. I’ve heard where managers and executives say, “I didn’t even realize my employee was required to do this step.” A lot of time can be wasted to these unknown tasks.
Truly my favorite quick-wins are a result of bringing different level of employees together and removing silos to discuss the customer journey. Employees are given a reason to talk with departments they may not typically interact with directly. A few examples I’ve seen include:
- Data Entry Solutions. This is a biggie. Almost every organization has multiple departments or divisions re-keying the “same” data time and time again. Sometimes re-keying the same customer data six times between marketing, sales, service and so-on. Also, if you’ve ever shadowed a call center or order management department, you’ll find the many different ways a representative can search and enter data. Some reps are more efficient than others. If you’re lucky, the result from various reps has the same outcome. But often sales orders will vary resulting in inconsistency to your customers and creating a risk to your margins.
- I didn’t know you did that? Sometimes, employees state duties they perform that shouldn’t belong to them or that management didn’t even know their employees were doing. Often these issues get resolved quickly if you have the right management in the room.
- I thought that was your job? Similar to the prior bullet, defining ownership of previously un-owned processes often gets resolved in these sessions when you have the right executives in the room.
- Call Center Routing fixes. I’ve witnessed staff resolve some quick issues based on bad routing processes, however call center fixes in general can get much more complex.
- Sharing of Best Practices and Techniques. Make sure to have a good representation of the business to include your top performers who can call out the disturbances created by other misinformed employees. They can often act as a coach and make corrections that can be applied to the future-state journeys. Until that future-state becomes reality, they can continue to help refine the correct existing behaviors.
- Broken Process Resolution. By just mapping the journey, sometimes the location of a kink in the chain can be easily identified and a plan can be taken to resolve the issue. One area of weakness I commonly see is the lack of attention to Partner Program processes. This is an area I’ve seen companies leave a lot of money on the table by not optimizing this channel or having the proper internal liaisons to facilitate partner needs. Acknowledging the kink and assigning an owner can result in some quick-win benefits.
It is an incredible feeling to be able to quickly solve a few problems when employees (and partners) have the opportunity to get together. The objectives set forth by the C-suite for your company’s journey mapping workshops may include much broader goals; however, the quick-wins are often a pleasant, un-intended consequence that all can benefit from.
Ideally, customer journey mapping becomes part of your culture, if it isn’t already. Because these workshops involve multiple departments as well as different levels of employees; the customer-centric focus helps drive the customer message to all employees. The C-level suite understands that the entire organization benefits from learning about those personas who act as customer evangelists for your brand. The C-suite can adopt the right tools and environment to facilitate the broader message. There is tremendous value in aligning the customer experience to the company goals and business, so what are you waiting for?
CX Products Addressed:
– Commerce Cloud
– CPQ Cloud
– Sales & Service Cloud
– Field Service
– Loyalty Cloud
– Marketing Cloud
– Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
Sample KPIs Addressed:
– Call Handling Times
– 1st Time Resolution
– Employee Satisfaction
– C-SAT Scores
– Retention Rates
– Win Ratios
– Quality of Lead
– Opportunity Conversion Rates
– Data Quality %
– Increased Sales Efficiency
– Order Errors Reduction %
No proprietary information has been shared. This post and this blog are solely the opinion of the author.