More and more companies today are investing billions of dollars in customer experience (CX) programs. Executives are evangelizing the importance of delivering a more seamless experience, recognizing that CX is now the new battlefield in business.
And yet despite all the focus on CX, most companies are failing. According to a recent report from Forrester, for instance, only 25% of CX programs improve customer experiences. Another report, from Bain, suggests that only 5% of customers agree that companies provide a great experience.
So what is causing this discrepancy? According to Annette Franz, founder and chief experience officer of the consultancy CX Journey and a respected thought leader in the industry, one big issue is the fact that many companies haven’t set up the foundational elements required to have an effective and scalable CX strategy. Most businesses, for instance, haven’t taken the time to map out and understand the customer journey.
In a recent webinar, Annette shared a step-by-step process to creating a CX strategy that’s rooted in customer understanding. We received many questions from the webinar—some of which we didn’t get to. In the Q&A below, Annette shared her additional thoughts.
How do you prepare to do a journey map for a client or a stakeholder in an industry that you do not have experience in?
The mapping process is the same, regardless of company or industry for which you’re mapping. You may adapt or tweak parts of the process depending on whether the client is B2B or B2C and based on scope and objectives, but in general, the overall process translates from one industry to the next.
In terms of preparation, do your homework. Research the company. Research the industry. And conduct interviews with customers and employees. The bottom line is to educate yourself. Learn what you can about the company, the products, how customers interact with the business, what their pain points are, etc. I mentioned in the webinar that the customer feedback and data, as well as the customer personas, feed into the journey maps. Review their data and personas to get an understanding of who their customers are and what the experience is today.
You spoke about the importance of mapping customer journeys. How do you know which journey to map?
This is a great question. Typically, we start with known issues or pain points for customers and then move on to known issues or pain points for the business (think outcomes). You’ll likely start with some of the low-hanging fruits to establish those quick wins, but you’ll also want to look at survey feedback to identify areas/journeys of importance to customers that are low performing.
In selecting the journeys, be sure that you select those that have a point A and a point B; in other words, they have a clear scope or task with a clear start and end.
Securing executive buy-in for your CX strategy is important, but those leaders will want to see results they can take to the board. How do you showcase the effectiveness of your customer journey map to the leadership team?
Absolutely! Executives will want to see results. The first thing you’ll do after you’ve selected the journey to map is to identify the objectives of the journey map: Why are you mapping? What are the desired outcomes?
Any time we’ve got goals or objectives, we’ve got to identify what success looks like and how we will measure it: How will you know that you’ve achieved those desired outcomes? The answer to your question lies in your unique success metrics. In other words, you’ll measure effectiveness by looking to the desired outcomes and whether or not you’ve achieved them.
What are the most effective ways for CX pros to deliver actionable feedback to the business?
You may have heard the saying, “Data that is not actionable is just data.” So, first things first, the data needs to be actionable. Ask actionable questions on your surveys; ask about things you can change in a way that isn’t confusing to the person responding to the survey or reading the feedback. Find data in your company’s systems that is useful and meaningful, and, when used, gives the employee insights to create a better experience for the customer. Analyze the data and break it down for better understanding. Pull the insights and tell the story.
There are multiple ways to socialize the data and insights, but be sure to tailor the delivery method and the insights to the audience.
- Role-based or individual dashboards in your CRM system, VOC platform, or other data democratization platforms give the right people the right data and insights.
- CX Champions can help to get the information out to their departments; they’ll know how to communicate with their teams.
- As a delivery method, use stories. Tell a story about the customer and what you learned and how that impacts the customer and her ability to complete some job or task.
- Hold regular meetings to share insights, tell customer stories, answer questions, brainstorm on how to use the insights, etc.
- Create a customer room and post details there.
- And, most importantly, create a communication plan that includes ways to best communicate within your organization. Not all data socialization methods work the same in every company the same. Figure out what works best for your company.
CX teams are responsible for bringing customer feedback to the business. Once that’s done, what role does CX have in fixing issues in the customer journey?
The CX team works to identify the issues and get the feedback and insights out to the business, but they don’t do any of the work to redesign the experience or fix the issues.
CX will conduct future-state mapping sessions with both product/service teams and customers in order to design the new experience and can also facilitate service blueprint workshops (internally), but the product/service teams must take what’s learned and identify new workflows, tools and resources needed to facilitate the new experience.
The CX team might work with them to facilitate root cause analysis, ideation, action planning, etc. But usually, once the issues are identified, the product/service teams are left to do the work; they are the subject-matter experts and are best equipped to problem solve and fix.
CX can provide additional insights and learnings to aid in the improvements. They will maintain a master list of issues and improvement owners. And they will hold the product/service teams accountable for making the changes. The product/service teams must close the loop with the CX team.