Wednesday, April 25, 2018

From Journey Map to Experience

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Today's post was originally written for Brand Quarterly. It appeared in their November 28, 2017, issue. It has been slightly modified.

Customers are yearning for better experiences. But what are you doing to design a better experience?

How do you know what your customers’ expectations are? What are they trying to achieve? And how well is that going for them? Are you listening to customers? Are you mapping their experiences? How are you driving the necessary change within your company?

What is Journey Mapping?
Let me start with explaining what journey maps are not: they are not lifecycle maps, sales funnels, buyer funnels, buyer lifecycles, etc. Those are marketing tools and are too high level for customer experience design. Customer experience professionals require a lot more detail at a micro level in order to understand the pain points and to, ultimately, fix them. As such, journey maps are an illustration made by walking in your customers’ shoes to capture their steps, needs, and perceptions for some interaction they had with your company, some journey they were taking to achieve some outcome.

Journey mapping is a creative process that allows you to understand – and then redesign – the customer experience. The output is not just a “pretty picture;” once the map is developed, it is meant to be a catalyst for change.

Why Map Journeys
Mapping isn’t just a lame exercise; it’s a learning exercise. Companies learn about their customers and about the experience they put them through to interact with the business.
Done right, maps help companies in many ways, including to…
  • Understand experiences. You can’t transform something you don’t understand, is what I like to say. Maps bring understanding. They highlight and diagnose existing issues and opportunities; at the same time, they capture what’s going well, too.
  • Design experiences. Once you understand the current experience and moments of truth, maps help you prioritize and rethink existing processes and/or create new ones. 
  • Implement and activate new experiences. The maps become blueprints or statements of direction for the work to be done to improve and to redesign the experience. 
  • Communicate and share experiences. Maps are great communication and teaching tools. They can be used during onboarding, training, and other ongoing education opportunities to unite the organization around the customer, to teach employees about the current and the future experience, and to further ingrain the customer-focused culture of the business.
  • Align the organization. Use the maps to get executive commitment for the CX strategy, get organizational adoption of the customer-centric focus, provide a line of sight to the customer for employees, and help employees understand how they impact the experience.
One thing to note is that journey mapping is not just for customers but for all constituents, including employees, vendors, partners, franchisees, licensees, etc. It’s a tool - and a process - to design a better experience for anyone who interacts with your company.

The Benefits of Mapping Journeys
There are a ton of benefits of mapping customer journeys. They can probably best be summed up in the following five categories, which clearly overlap with the reasons you should map.

1. Align the organization
  • Executive and employees, as well: get everyone on the same page about the importance of delivering a better experience
  • Break down silos: get people collaborating and sharing data for the benefit of the customer
2. Understand the customer and his experience
  • Build empathy for the customer: when executives see the steps they put customers through to do business with the company, it’s an eye-opener!
  • Improve the experience: understand the customer, what she’s trying to do, and how well the company is performing against that so that you can redesign a better experience
3. Identify experience and process efficiencies
  • Identify and remove ineffective touchpoints
  • Kill inefficient rules, policies, processes
4. Optimize channels
  • Learn about the different steps customers take to purchase or use the channel that they use so that you can be prepared to deliver the expected experience at the right channel at the right time for the right persona
5. Shift the culture and the organization’s mindset
  • From inside-out to outside-in: maps are created from the customer viewpoint and are validated with customers; bringing their voice into the organization is the first step toward shifting that mindset
  • From touchpoints to journeys: think about the entire customer journey, the entire relationship with the organization; realize that journey thinking means to consider both what happened prior to this interaction that you’re mapping and what the customer will do next
A Catalyst for Change
Based on those benefits, you can really start to see how maps are a catalyst for change. There are so many different ways to use them as part of your overall people-focused culture transformation.

As you can imagine, this is a good spot to jump in and write about how to go from journey maps to a great customer experience. Let me start with some of the things you need to do before you even begin mapping:
  • Make sure you have the right people involved in creating the map. First and foremost, your customers must be involved; this can happen either during the initial mapping session or later, when you ask them to validate what we call an assumptive map that was built internally based on what we know and have heard from customers about the experience. Second, make sure you’ve got the appropriate stakeholders in the room, as well. No excuses; they must be there. Include folks from various departments in the room because you need to take into account what’s happening upstream and downstream from the interaction you’re mapping. And they need to have a reasonable level of influence on what actions need to be taken as a result of the workshop.
  • Similarly, ensure that they are committed to act on what they learn. I don’t really need to explain this one much more than that. If there’s no commitment to act, change, or improve, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time. 
  • Select the personas for which you’ll be mapping the experience. Personas are research-based representations of the customer type for whom you’ll be mapping; customer experience personas differ from marketing personas as they include details around problems to solve, pain points, jobs to be done, tasks they are trying to achieve, etc. 
  • Select the journeys to map. You’ll be mapping a lot of journeys over time, but select the most impactful ones to begin with. Where’s the low-hanging fruit? What journeys cause the most pain for your customers today? Where can you make the greatest impact?
  • Hold a prep meeting with stakeholders. Get everyone in the room before the session to ensure that everyone understands what you’re doing and what their role is/will be.
  • Outline the scope, objectives, and desired outcomes. Make sure attendees know what they’ll be mapping and why. And, most importantly, what they’ll be doing with the output.   
  • Give attendees homework. Have them start thinking about the journey and what the potential steps are. Have them “mystery shop” the journey themselves, if they don’t yet have a full picture of it. Ask them to get feedback, comments, and insights from their employees about the journey. They can also gather any customer feedback, insights, behavioral data, and emotional data about the journey. And have them bring to the session any artifacts (documents, audio files, videos, images, etc.) that support the journey and bring it to life.
  • Begin to formulate a plan for next steps. Go into the session prepared. What happens when you leave the room? How will you operationalize the findings? How will you assign ownership? Who is responsible and accountable? How will you manage the improvements going forward? Etc.
  • Line up process mapping or value stream mapping sessions. Process mapping should be done in conjunction with journey mapping. You can’t fix the front-stage/on-stage experience if the backstage processes aren’t efficiently and effectively supporting it.
Taking Action
I could write another full article on where to go after the mapping session is over, but I’ll give you a couple high-level bullets to get you thinking of where to go next.

Meet after the workshop internally to debrief on how it went, what people heard, action item brainstorm, ownership, action plan, etc.
  • Gather on a weekly basis to discuss quick wins, action plans for longer-term fixes, next steps, success metrics, etc. This is important to keep the momentum going, to lend oversight, and to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Identify the key moments of truth, those make or break moments during the journey that must be executed well in order to satisfy – and to keep – the customer.
  • Take the break points and prioritize in a systematic way; factors considered include: time to fix, cost to fix, impact on the customer, and impact on the business.
  • Assign ownership and teams for the improvement items. Develop project plans for each improvement initiative.
  • Get commitment from executives to assign resources.
  • Develop a service blueprint and a process map relevant to the journey you've mapped. Journey mapping can't be done in a vacuum; in order to fix what's happening onstage, you must understand and improve backstage and behind-the-scenes at the same time.
  • Map the future state to design the new experience – with customers.
  • Design the new processes to support the experience from behind the scenes.
  • Implement changes.
  • Pilot. Test. Fix. Roll out.
As you can see, there’s a lot to mapping and redesigning the experience. Don’t let that be daunting. It’s actually a fun process that has very tangible outputs and outcomes. When done right.

Never confuse movement with action. -Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CX Journey™ Musings: A Trojan Mouse and Your #CX Strategy

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Are you challenged in your efforts to implement organization-wide changes to improve your culture, the employee experience, and the customer experience?

Have you considered how a Trojan Mouse might help you gain traction in these efforts?

Trojan Mouse. What is it? And how does it differ from a Trojan Horse?

Well, right off the top of my head it seems like "Trojan Mouse" elicits an image of smallness, speed, and agility, while "Trojan Horse" makes me think of a larger undertaking that is a bit slower and more labored - in both planning and execution - and likely rejected.

Let's start with what a Trojan Mouse is. From
Much change is of the "Trojan Horse" variety. At the top of the organisation a decision is taken to introduce a strategic change programme, and consultants or an internal team are commissioned to plan it down to the very last detail. The planned changes are then presented at a grand event (the Trojan Horse) amid much loud music, bright lights, and dry ice. More often than not, however, a few weeks later the organisation will have settled back into its usual ways and rejected much of the change. This is usually because the change was too great to be properly understood and owned by the workforce.
Trojanmice, on the other hand, are small, well-focused changes, which are introduced on an ongoing basis in an inconspicuous way. They are small enough to be understood and owned by all concerned, but their effects can be far-reaching. Collectively a few trojanmice will change more than one Trojan Horse ever could.
What do you think of that?

I am immediately drawn to these two sentences: More often than not, however, a few weeks later the organisation will have settled back into its usual ways and rejected much of the change. This is usually because the change was too great to be properly understood and owned by the workforce.

Trojan Mice seem like a great approach to implementing change for a variety of reasons:
  • Trojan Mice address the last point in that second sentence - they are small enough to be understood and owned.
  • We often talk about quick wins and showing some successes before we do a full roll out of a CX strategy. Those small wins, those quick wins, are great examples of Trojan Mice, allowing for gradual adoption of - and engagement with - the larger journey.
  • Making small, nimble changes also limits risk or makes risk more tolerable as you design a new experience, develop new products, and find creative solutions to old problems. Think: fix fast, fail fast, fix fast.
  • You can deploy various changes at the same time, which means you can test which ones work and which don't - allowing you to quickly retract the ones that won't have the intended impact, learn from them, and redeploy with updates. Again: fail fast, fix fast.
  • Given that these changes are small and nimble, they will certainly help increase speed to market, i.e., you can get the solution out there quicker.
  • Small changes that are quickly accepted, understood, and owned will add up and make for a bigger impact quickly - and over time - than rolling out a Trojan Horse that baffles people and is immediately rejected.
People hate change. And if they don't know what it is or why it's taking place, they ignore it; they certainly don't want to be a part of it. Why not break it down for them, simplify it, and help them understand and own it.

As I've said before, improving the customer experience happens in baby steps; Trojan Mice - small, yet impactful, examples with tangible value - may just be the quickest way to successful adoption of the CX strategy and to transformation success.

Fail often so you can succeed sooner. -David Kelley, Founder and Chairman of IDEO

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Do Leaders Really Care About Their Employees?

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Does your CEO - and your entire leadership team - really care about their employees?

I had another blog post in the hopper for this week, but when this article came across my desk, followed by a phone conversation with Bob Chapman, I knew I needed to write something different, something that is top of mind for me now - and often - as I work with my clients.

The article?

"Beyond Nice,", which you can find in Conscious Company Magazine's Spring 2018 issue - or just click the article name to download the PDF. It features Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, and his approach to leadership that we can/should all learn from. Sooner rather than later.

I've written about Bob Chapman several times in the past, starting with a 2012 post about his TEDxScottAFB Talk:

Truly Human Leadership - Everyone Matters
Define Your Employee-Centric Culture
Employee Engagement Strategy? Nay! Leadership Strategy
A Customer Experience Carol
"Be Positive" is Not a Strategy
We Have a Crisis in Leadership

I have followed Bob since that first post back in 2012, and I've spoken to him twice since then. He's a very genuine and caring person, and I love how he's trying to shift the leadership paradigm. And, clearly, I believe he's on to something: we have a crisis in leadership.

Look at some of the stats:

- 88% of employees in the US feel they work for a company that doesn't care about them
- 75% of employees are disengaged
- 67% of employees don't trust their leaders
- 50% of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs
- 7% of people in one survey said they'd been hospitalized due to workplace stress
- 120,000 deaths due to workplace stress every year


Each one on its own is bad; all of them combined are insane. The problem: leaders don't care about their employees; instead, employees are viewed as a cog in the wheel to their success. Leaders drive to growth, to the numbers, and forget about the needs and the lives of the employees who help them get there.

Bob notes that...
We measure success all wrong in this country. Many people have made millions, billions of dollars, who have incredibly broken personal lives. Would we view those people as successful?
We are going to measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.
Imagine the employee experience if that was the case, if leaders cared about employees, their families, and their well-being! And measured success by how they touched their employees' lives! A little humanity and humaneness would go a long way.

How do leaders turn things around? First and foremost, it's a choice. Everything you do in your life, as a human, as a leader, is a choice. Choose to lead differently. Choose to align with the rest of the leadership team and the goals of the business. Choose to care.
  • Leaders must choose to put their employees' well-being ahead of all other goals and outcomes. It starts with the CEO and the executive team. The choice is theirs. 
  • Establish core values and guiding principles that set the tone for the company culture, a culture that puts people first. 
  • Create an environment based on trust, respect, and caring.
  • Adopt a servant leader mentality.
  • Take a look at the checklist in the article; it provides a dozen essential actions that leaders must take. Put a check next to those you already do, and look inward for the ones that you don't.
The bottom line is this: when leaders take care of their people, their people take care of the business.

When you look at somebody as somebody’s precious child that you have a chance to impact, it profoundly changes the way you view people. They are no longer a function for your success. -Bob Chapman

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Drive Real #CX Change with Journey Maps

Are journey maps a waste of time, or can you really use them to drive CX change?

There's a big problem brewing out there when it comes to journey mapping:
Too many folks view journey maps as useless, when instead, the maps should be seen as one of the (if not the) most powerful tools and processes in the customer experience professional's arsenal.
Done right, you can drive real CX change with your journey maps!

So, it was with great pleasure that I accepted James Dodkins' invitation to be a guest on his ROCKSTAR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE program via Facebook Live to talk about how to drive real CX change with journey maps. I think a lot of people talk about how to create the maps (even if they are erroneous in their ways), but not many talk about what to do next.

In the forty-minute interview, we covered a lot of territory, including:
  • What journey maps are and why they are so powerful
  • How journey maps differ from process maps and service blueprints - and why all are important to improving the customer experience
  • Why it's important to consider customer emotions - and why it's important to distinguish between what they do and what they feel
  • Which mistakes companies make while mapping
  • What to do after the mapping workshop to drive real CX change
  • What the difference is between personas and segments, and why we use personas over target segments in journey mapping
  • Why maps aren't just fluff and how to convince those who think so that they aren't
  • How to prep for and run a journey mapping workshop
  • What skills are needed to map journeys
  • How to get customer data and information for your journey maps
  • What the best strategy is for a successful journey mapping program
  • And much more!
 As you can see, we covered a lot of territory. The ultimate goal of this conversation is to help you realize that journey maps are:
  • the beginning, not the end
  • a catalyst for change
  • not just a tool but a process
Hopefully the interview helps you start to think a bit differently about how you're mapping or why you should map if you aren't yet.

I invite you to watch the interview - and to share your thoughts on it below. Thank you!

Customer experience is a journey. Only you hold the map.