The Customer Journey Mapping Workbook how to make your business truly customer- centric

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1 The Customer Journey Mapping Workbook how to make your business truly customer- centric A Whitepaper by Customer Faithful Limited 2013 All rights reserved

2 How should businesses get underway in defining their customer journey? The starting point is a commitment to becoming a customer- driven organisation, set from the very top of the business. Customer journey mapping (CJM) is the cornerstone of customer experience design the discipline that defines what it feels like to be your customer, to do business with your organisation. It s also a key diagnostic for identifying what customers really care about and how well such factors are being delivered. And it s a level of understanding that is much needed, with research indicating that whilst 80% of companies are convinced they provide a superior customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree! So how should businesses get underway in defining their customer journey? The starting point is a commitment to becoming a customer- driven organisation, set from the very top of the business. In practice, this means getting out of an internal mindset, and to shift from thinking about products and services in terms of how you deliver them, towards listening to how customers experience them. In making this transition, firms should seek to identify the end- to- end steps in the journey that customers take, including things that until now, your organisation may consider is out of its control, and even none of its business (!) A simple example is observing customers buying goods on a website. They may pause during the visit, to go somewhere else online in order to compare items, prices, delivery time, availability, credit options and beyond. This extra step is still important to the original web retailer. They should be seeking to understand not just which items cause this behaviour, but why customers act in this way, and what might meet their needs to avoid doing it. In a similar way, organisations should be seeking customer feedback not just about their products and services but the way that their brand makes customers feel about purchasing them. At its simplest, this might be the realization that an existing customer journey may be functionally effective, but could lack an added value additional step such as an aftersales call to check everything went smoothly, or that a delivery is half- an- hour away. I remember working on a car service experience for a large automotive dealership and recalling how much their customers appreciated a valet parking space ready and waiting for them on arrival with their name on it. Little things like that can make a customer feel special, and warm to a service environment rather than be wary of it. 2

3 Where should customer journey mapping data come from? Existing customer surveys can certainly provide some context for how satisfaction may or may not be improving. But surveys tend only to scratch the surface. Often, they simply target already- known- about issues, rather than uncovering new thoughts. When Customer Service and Operation teams own the management of surveys, they usually ask about things that are easy to measure. "Was the item you were searching for in stock?" "Did you have to wait for your appointment? If so, for how long?" Because these questions are often based around achieving standards or service levels common in the industry, your competitors are likely to be aware of them too and may well be targeting the same performance. Even if you achieve what you set yourself, how much will it really differentiate your offer? The less known customer insights tend to come from open conversations where the discussion isn't already framed in today's focus group study or last year's survey questions. You might find such insight in social media, from what people are saying about you on Twitter or Facebook or writing in their blogs. Better yet, I try to have that open conversation in the context of their lives and that means if, say, the subject was about washing machines, I might hold that conversation in the kitchen or in the utility room where the appliance sits or an environment that the customer feels is relevant. This type of approach is known as ethnographic, which means seeking to understand behaviour and culture set in a real- life place and time context. I conduct a lot of research in healthcare. If you ask patients to assess what it is like to live with a health condition when having the conversation in a hospital, you risk framing the conversation in a sterilised world of wards and waiting rooms and conditioned behaviour. Instead, for most of the time, patients live with their condition in their own homes or perhaps at work. These are places where the environment can stimulate the participant (your customer), to think and reveal what really matters in a natural way. Adding Structure The difficulty with open conversations such as these is that they lack the easy structure of surveys. It requires more work to find themes to organise clues set in a customer story. Thankfully we can lean on sociology and psychology to provide techniques to help with this. Within Customer Faithful, we have developed method called Lifelines, which uses a technique known as Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This method, in the hands of a skilled, trained researcher can turn conversations into structured issues. We can then use the outputs of IPA to build quantitative surveys to test how representative such themes are. In this The less known customer insights tend to come from open conversations where the discussion isn't already framed in today's focus group study or last year's survey way, we add the robustness of responses to validate the ideas from perhaps 25 interviews, without coming from the same old starting place that causes that industry group- think in the first place. Validation & Segmentation The purpose of a validation survey is to explore the relative importance of ideas and issues from the interviews. It identifies which ones are the most important, and where they appear in the customer journey. And it can also show how well these issues and needs are being met currently. We call the difference between the importance and delivery of each issue the experience gap. So once the gaps are identified, we can go and try to close them, right? Well not so fast! If your business was such that all customers' needs were pretty much the same, AND if every customer you surveyed gave you the same answer then fine, go ahead. But this is where too many customer journey mapping efforts fall down. First - customers are rarely the same. Industry marketers have been segregating customers for decades now with good reason. Therefore customer journeys maps need to be able to quickly and easily show how the experience varies across different types of customers. This might be at the detailed level (one particular issue or journey step) or perhaps even the whole shape of the customer experience. For instance, consider the experience needs of a regular business traveller going through an airport every week, compared to those of a family going on holiday once- a- year. Some parts of the journey map could be similar after all, everyone goes through customs and security, and everybody boards the plane and touches down at the same time. But other parts could be very different, including how passengers use their waiting time, where and when they require food and entertainment, and so on. 3

4 The devil is in the detail, so organisations need to be able to easily access both micro and macro views of their customers. The second and probably the most common flaw in customer journey mapping solutions that I have seen over the years is the exclusive use of averaged data. For example, imagine trying to design a healthcare experience for people living with a condition that required an operation as part of their treatment. I worked on precisely such a project, and found that one of the issues raised as very important was whether the operation was conducted using a general anaesthetic or not. In other words, did the patient want to be conscious during surgery? I asked the patients to score the importance of being conscious for that operation where zero is not important at all and ten is very important. Consider if 50% of patients recorded a score of 10 (they would strongly prefer a general anaesthetic and didn't want to know what was happening) and the other 50% recorded a zero (they wanted a local anaesthetic and to be awake). Using averaged data, this would show a score of five. And yet this would accurately represent not a single participant studied. So the distribution of scores is vitally important which may well combine or create segments of customers as discussed earlier. That is why, for every issue, you should review that distribution, to drill down into the shape of the mini- lifeline. The devil is in the detail and organisations need to be able to easily access these micro and macro views of their customers. journey delivery falls below customer need but also highlight the gaps where the need is highest. Yet still, the assessment of where to start is not finished. We need other stakeholders' input here too. What are the businesses own objectives? What is its mission? Why does it exist? Here is an example. Imagine if certain customers of a supermarket stated that, during the checkout step of the journey, they wanted two plastic bags for every one full bag of shopping. Suppose they said that because today s plastic grocery bags are so thin, they don t trust them not to break. This need, whilst understandable, might not fit with the supermarket s sustainability goals. So we need to map customer need against business purpose because if we offer something that isn't right for our business then it won't be authentic to our brand. By adding this brand overlay, a solution for this particular customer segment could be to sell them reinforced and free- to- replace plastic bags at cost (as many UK supermarkets have done). Here s another example from Amazon, one of the most successful retailers in the world. CEO Jeff Bezos has always said he wants to provide the best information to give customers the right answer. It was this goal that drove the provision of Amazon Marketplace where other sellers can offer their goods alongside Amazon's own offerings, effectively putting competitors' prices right alongside Amazon on their own site (Amazon take a commission of course for any items sold). The Marketplace initiative matched both a customer need to shop around for best price, as well as Amazon s business goal of providing better market information to the customer, and the Amazon customer journey reflects this. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of Net Promoter Score (NPS). This works on the same principle. NPS is a one- question survey, asking customers whether they would be willing to recommend your company, on a scale from 0 to 10. Nines and tens are promoters, sixes and below are detractors, leaving sevens and eights as indifferent, aggregating them into three groups. Priorities In a thorough customer journey mapping study, there may be 50 or even 100 touchpoint issues raised within the journey steps identified. Where does a company begin its change activity? An organisation needs priorities. It is for this reason that quantitative scoring needs to ask customers to describe which issues are more important, relative to others. In this way, we can not only identify gaps where customer 4

5 By exploring customer issues with staff, organisations can uncover employee intuition what a firm s own people instinctively feel customers are looking for. Employee and stakeholder input into journey mapping For a company to behave in an authentic way, it will need not only regular customer feedback, but also to understand employee insight and attitude too. I ve worked with more than one company that had an edict to its staff to delight the customer, without giving employees any clear guidelines for either how to do that or feel comfortable knowing how far they should go in achieving it. What if staff feel afraid that they will break some rule? Or that they will offer too much compensation.. or too little? To successfully and consistently implement an improvement in the customer journey and its experience, this usually requires front- line employee input. This could include taking an issue from the customer journey and co- creating an initiative with staff to improve it (this will help get their buy- in and support too). It may involve asking employees "What do you feel really comfortable implementing? How come? Why is that?" By exploring such issues with staff, organisations can uncover employee intuition what a firm s own people instinctively feel customers are looking for. However, my advice is not to try and build another whole experience curve here. The employee input is needed and valuable, but so is a simple, internal communication device too. Remember the objective here is to serve customers; we simply want to do that successfully. As the organisation matures, other stakeholders inputs can also be added. A firm might explore ideas from its suppliers for how remaining customer experience gaps could be closed by working more closely together. Businesses can even champion customer needs by lobbying for a change in legislation if they feel it is holding back customer need. One example of this in action is how retail trading hours have changed in the UK and Europe in this regard. Another is retail price maintenance and the net book agreement. These were both mechanisms where manufacturers and publishers controlled the pricing of medicines and books until lobbying pressure on behalf of customers interests forced legislation to eventually remove this control. Measurement and Communication Two things remain for successful customer journey mapping development. First, any suggested change or initiative to close these gaps need metrics and targets. For instance, imagine that shoppers told a home delivery retailer that their need for accurate parcel delivery arrival times were not being met. The firm might work with employees and delivery partners to provide a message to let the customer know that their delivery is on its way. But what should be the metric parameter of this? How soon? Ten minutes before? An hour? A day? By phone? By text? By ? And what is the firm s target here? To send a message to 95 per cent of all customers? Or 100 per cent of all customers? These metrics and targets are important for many reasons. Organisations may need to build a business case, and metrics may affect the investment needed in order to make change happen. Firms will also need to communicate the metrics, the targets, and perhaps even some incentives to drive success. Such measures will need monitoring, and probably review points (e.g. monthly dashboards). And of course, companies will want to assess the impact. Did it achieve the result or the impact that they were looking for, such as more frequent repeat orders or lower service costs? In addition to measurement, organisations need to make the whole activity of customer journey mapping clear, relevant and compelling to its employees. It must give them explicit permission to get involved in the continuous improvement of the customer experience, and to flag problems or obstacles if and when they arise. 5

6 In Summary Customer journey mapping provides the backbone for underpinning a customer experience. This document has covered seven steps to guide this: 1. Get into the customer mind- set, and away from an internal perspective. This provides valuable insight into what customers value, even when it includes steps in the customer journey that are perceived as beyond the direct control of the organisation. 2. Openly explore the detail. Listen to first- hand stories of being your customer. Explore this insight as a customer narrative, rather than a response to standard customer service questions, as this is where clues lie to be able to differentiate a proposition. 3. Structure open- ended insight to enable validation this will provide some robustness and scale, using a quantitative survey. 4. Segment the responses. Explore the distribution of scores. This may uncover new segments that have not been seen before, which represent the customer data more accurately. 5. Prioritise the gaps between importance and delivery. Be sure to include not only customer scores but also the fit with company and brand values, as well as the employee experience. Consider how you could involve suppliers or lobby government and trade bodies to support this. 6. Set metrics and targets and commit to monitoring both the achievement of these and the resultant impact on customer attitude and behaviour, as well as business performance. 7. Create communication activities to engage your employees. Empower teams and individuals to deliver the customer experience in an authentic way that both customers and staff can trust and believe in equally. 6

7 About the Author Rick Harris is founder of experience design agency Customer Faithful. His work is focused on enabling organisations to identify what drives the beliefs and behaviours of its customers and employees towards its brand and business. His work has helped a wide range of industry sectors and international brands to achieve their commercial goals by staying faithful to its customers needs and inspiring its employees. Rick is perhaps best known as the architect of the Lifelines methodology a technique that chronicles peoples needs and attitudes to show where brands can connect to customers lives. Lifelines has been widely applied in retail, healthcare, as well as housing, transportation and leisure. In addition to his design work, Rick is also a regular speaker at customer insight seminars and conferences across Europe. Rick is an alumnus of Durham University (1988) and a graduate of the Strategic Leadership Programme at Green College, Oxford University (2000) Customer Faithful Limited 48 Brampton Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 4PT United Kingdom Web: customerfaithful.com

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