Jun 8, 2018

Read Time 9 min

Maximizing Customer Success Through Journey Mapping


This week we hosted a well-attended webinar on – Maximizing Customer Success Through Journey Mapping. The topics discussed included:

  • How are you defining Customer Success in your organization in context of the customer journey?
  • Why it’s so critical to understand your customer’s entire journey with your organization?
  • What insights Customer Success can uncover for the benefit of the entire organization?

No worries if you missed the webcast, we’ve got you covered. You can now view the webinar on-demand here.

The audience also engaged in some great Q&A with our speaker Jeannie Walters, CEO at 360Connext. Below is a recap of the webinar Q&A.

Q: Who within an organization should own the overall customer journey?

A: Well, that’s a million-dollar question right now because, I think a lot of organizations are grappling with this. Often, we talk about having a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or Chief Experience Officer to own the customer journey. However, what I’ve seen is that a lot of times this falls under different accountability. So, sometimes its Marketing who is told to own the customer journey. However, they are typically trained to focus on pre-sale. So, we need to make sure that if that does happen, they are told exactly what that journey is. Sometimes it’s the CEO who must own it. In an ideal world, there would be one C-level person and they would have a team to support them. Unfortunately, I don’t see that all too often. So, it kind of depends. But one of the things I’m very passionate about is letting everybody know that – you can change your corner of the world within your organization.

For example, I have seen this in an organization I worked with. They were a huge logistics company – who had trains and boats and everything that you can imagine going all over the world. They had an enormous call center for logistical questions. And what we did was, we just talked about the call center and how it could be improved. They created their own customer experience mission and they really got into understanding their part of that customer journey. And so just from that, by osmosis, things start changing because, people start realizing this really works.

So, if you are looking for a champion, I would try to figure out – is there somebody who is customer-centric at that C-level? Bring them the numbers and say – I want to help you here! The other thing to do is really look at folks like Marketing or folks that have a lot of purview. Sometimes it’s the Chief Technology Officer these days, or the Chief Digital Officer. They look at things in this way, that they think they are owning the journey and they might be owning part of it. But really understanding that if you all work together this can happen.

And finally, I’d say you can also do this through a cross-functional team. You still need a leader but, you can have a cross-functional team that meets, twice a month or once a month. You can look at – here are all the challenges we’re working on – here’s all the feedback we heard prioritized – and here’s what we mapped out this month. If you can all work together, that’s where you start seeing a lot of the insights shared. You will find that brainstorming can be a very exciting way to get started. So, I wish I had a more solid answer on that, but I think all companies are kind of grappling with that right now, so you aren’t alone.

Q: Do you have any advice on journey mapping for someone who works for a startup as the first Customer Success employee?

A: Wow first of all, go you! I think the first Customer Success employee should be thinking about – how do we set up our customer feedback loop for success? Meaning what can I do to make sure that we have channels for customers to provide feedback. And then, knowing what to do once we get that feedback. As Customer Success employee number one, I’d also be reaching out to as many customers as possible and building those relationships. I’d ask them – what is it that made you choose us?

When you’re building out the tools for Customer Success I would also say – think about what does the role really need? So that you can determine the different capabilities, the different best practices, and the different skill sets that are needed. Interview CSM candidates based on your customer mission. Interview based on the experience that you want to deliver, so that your customers succeed. Because, nobody’s going to come to you with a resume that says Customer Success major. So, look for those types of things that will set you up for success to build an amazing group and to make sure that you’re really serving your customers in the way that you want to. But also, just have faith. Hang in there. It’s going to be great! What a cool opportunity to be Customer Success employee number one at a startup.

Q: What’s the difference between a journey map and a process map?

A: Thank you for asking that question, that’s a great question. So, a process map often says things like – what happens on our side (on the company side). It often talks about the different servers that have to be hit or the different departments that are included and the truth is your customers simply don’t care about this information. They will never see it and they don’t care.

So, for an example – think about walking into a bank and depositing a check into your account (and I know none of us do this anymore but using this as a simple example). So, if you walk into the bank as a customer, maybe you stand in line, you go up to the counter. You hand them your check. You sign it. You have your deposit slip. You get your receipt and you walk out. If you think about that journey as a customer, their perspective is different. They’re standing in line – well, what does that mean? They might be frustrated. They might be impatient. Once they get up there, they realize there are no deposit slips. What does that mean? Once they deposit the check they feel really good because it’s a big paycheck that they haven’t had before, and the person is kind of like yeah, okay, thanks. That doesn’t really give them, thanks for being a customer or thanks for coming in. All of those points in the journey are from the customer’s perspective. Do you think about what’s happening from the teller side? She might be thinking – oh, I have to do this stupid deposit slip request because we’re out of deposit slips. So, on a process map it would basically say the teller has to do certain things. Interact with the mainframe computer when they deposit that check. They have to punch in numbers. They have to make sure it’s all done correctly. But that’s all from the company’s perspective.

So, process maps are really about what happens within your own processes within your own walls. The journey map from the customer’s perspective is literally from their perspective. That’s why I encourage you to use “I” statements. Because, it does shift your mindset. Also remember, customers are human, and we have real lives and all sorts of things can happen along the journey. We don’t just march through the process like we sometimes think they will. So, be sure to keep that in mind.

Q: How can you ensure handoffs between departments goes smoothly and doesn’t seem too disjointed to the customer in their journey?

A: These are really good questions. This is one that I think we need to consider the nuances around because, if you consider things like – you know how hard we work on building those relationships in a typical technology sale, for instance. We work really hard on those relationships. We have our salespeople work really hard. We have all these tools. We have all these triggers and processes that are all mapped out so beautifully. And then we say oh, yeah – you’ve become a customer, so I’m going to introduce you to Bob who’s your account guy. Well that can feel very jarring. So, what I always suggest is think about it as a Venn diagram. Think about the ways that you can overlap, in ways that are both logical and emotional on behalf of your customers. Because if Bob’s the right guy for the job of course you want that person to go to Bob. But work with Bob. Work with the different departments. Make sure that you’re explaining that to the customer in a way that isn’t about handing them off. Think about it from their perspective. Like – You know what? We want you to be really successful. You guys have a complicated business, and I know that I can’t support you with this anymore. So, I’m going to work with you to work with Bob.

For the sake of example, think about it as a Venn diagram. Where are the ways you can overlap to make sure that people feel comfortable? Sometimes, it’s helpful to think about your business as something else. This is an innovation technique. So, you can think of your company as a library. How would we treat people at a public library if they came in and we were saying – oh that’s not my department, it’s research. Let me walk you up there. Let me introduce you. Break it down into simple steps. Think about ways you can do that in your own experience. Also, the journey mapping exercise alone can help you look for opportunities to break down the experience and make it smooth for the customer.

Q: What tips do you have for training internal teams on the customer journey map so that everyone’s on the same page?

A: Another big huge question. I love this. So, journey mapping in general, some people get really into the process of it. They want to share. Some people are extraordinary at sharing it. You can also bring in outsiders, like me, who can help you. But sometimes, you have people on the team who are great at journey mapping. But often, they don’t then know what to do next and they don’t train how to actually use the map.

So, I would say two things. One – if you have somebody like that on your team, look for ways that you can then find the person who’s good at the execution part. Pair them up and make sure that if they are training people on it, they are doing it together. So, that everybody understands is not just about finishing the map or doing the map. It’s about what you do with the map.

And the other point is – always keep learning! There is so much to learn about this. There are so many resources. You can go to our blog at www.cxcontent.com. We’ve got a ton of content on this. But it’s also about just really understanding that there is no one perfect way. I think a lot of people get hung up on trying to find that perfect way to journey map. If you can get everybody in your organization to start thinking about the customer and using those “I” statements – that’s a win! Because just the thought process, just the mindset, will make changes that are positive. So, there’s not an easy answer on that because, it depends on so many things like, the team, the company, and what you’re trying to do with the journey map, and all of those things. But, I would say if nothing else – start asking that question – what is this from the customers perspective? Start role-playing. Start setting the example of turning that into a nice statement from your customer’s perspective and really trying to understand it for them. This process will increase empathy in your organization across the board.

About the Webinar Speaker: Jeannie Walters, CEO, 360Connext 

Jeannie is the Chief Customer ExperienceInvestigator™ and founder of 360Connext, a global consulting firm specializing in evaluating and improving the customer journey. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a CX Expert panel member for the Customer Experience Professionals Association, a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, and a TEDx speaker. She also co-hosts atop-rated podcast on customer experience and customer service, Crack the Customer Code.

She’s passionate about making the everyday interactions we all have as customers better and writes, speaks, studies and trains on customer experience and patient experience issues around the world. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”

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