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Think Customer Journey Mapping is a Waste of Time?

Imagine your team spent half a day (or more) building a customer journey map and then nothing changed. After the workshop, things went back to business as usual. You might be thinking: I don't have to imagine. That's happened.

If so, you're not alone. Customer Experience expert and speaker Annette Franz says she talks to leaders all the time who are frustrated by the "failed" process of journey mapping; which is why she'll be delivering two Customer Experience deep-dive workshops on November 12 at ICMI Contact Center Demo.  If you've ever felt overwhelmed by journey mapping or thought it was a waste of time, you'll want to attend these sessions!

Ahead of her workshops, we interviewed Annette to get her take on all things customer experience--from common mistakes to customer data, and more.

You write and speak quite a bit about journey mapping. Why do you think customer journey mapping is so important?

AF: Quite simply, you can't transform something you don't understand, and journey maps are a powerful tool to help you understand the current experience customers are having as they interact with your brand. Without understanding what's going well and what isn't today, it's difficult to design a new experience for tomorrow.

Annette Franz

In addition to helping you diagnose the current experience, maps are used to design new experiences, becoming the blueprints or statements of direction for the future-state experience. They are also used to teach and train employees about the customer experience, and they help to align the organization around the customer by giving everyone, front line and back office, a clear line of sight to the customer and to how they impact the customer experience.

What role should employees play in the customer journey mapping process?

AF: To answer the question, I'm going to assume that you're referring to non-stakeholders, i.e., employees who are not stakeholders that participated in the mapping workshop or were not directly involved in the development of the map.

Peripherally, employees are capturing feedback from customers as they interact with them. That feedback, if captured in a VoC platform, entered in a CRM system, etc., can then be included in the map to allow for better measurement of the steps of the journey.

Beyond that, after the current state map is created and the future state is then designed, employees directly involved in the specific experience that is being redesigned will be involved in brainstorming, developing, and implementing new processes to support a better experience for customers. Other employees will learn from the map about the new experience to be delivered.

In general, for employees not involved in creating the maps, the maps are blueprints for designing the new experience and then teaching tools to learn about expectations for the new experience.

Contact centers are often drowning in data. How can contact centers leaders cut through the clutter and make better use of the data they have to drive improvement?

AF: First things first. Just because you have a ton of data doesn't mean that it's all useful or meaningful data - or the right data. When it comes to using data to drive improvements and to deliver a better experience, quality reigns over quantity. The first rule of order is to outline which data or data types you'll need, based on your objectives and desired outcomes. Then you've got to inventory the data (what do you have and where is it?), centralize it so that it can more easily be linked, and then analyze it and share the insights with those who will need to act on it.

Contact center data can then be used to make customer listening and analysis more robust by linking the interaction and transaction data with customer feedback. Also, the contact center can be used in journey maps to bring the map to life and help to identify where things are going well and where they aren't. The data can and should also be used to personalize experiences for customers.

When it comes to customer experience, what's the most common mistake you see brands make?

AF: Oh gosh. I can think of several, but I'll go with the fact that brands fail to realize that the employee experience comes first, that happy employees create happy customers. Focus on the employee experience, and your employees will, in turn, deliver a better customer experience.

What's on your radar for 2019? Are there any small steps companies can take now to prepare for the future of customer experience?

AF: For me, my radar stays pretty consistent from year to year, for better or worse. I still focus on the basics with my clients because there are just so many companies that are still there - at the beginning, setting the foundation for a great experience. There's a lot of talk about trends and predictions for the upcoming year, but in reality, most companies still can't get the basics right.

On my radar are the foundational elements: There must be CEO and executive commitment for the work that lies ahead; without that, the transformation journey ends pretty quickly. Beyond that, there must be a clear CX vision and strategy, a governance structure to provide guidelines and oversight for the work ahead, a focus on improving the employee experience along with the recognition that employees drive the customer experience, and a people-first culture. And finally, companies must take the time to understand both employees and customers, act on what they learn, and embrace outside-in thinking, weaving the customer and her perspective into all they do.

You're delivering two half-day workshops this November at Contact Center Demo. What can attendees expect to learn?

AF: I'm excited about both workshops!

In the morning workshop, I look forward to taking attendees through the five steps from data to advantage. What does that mean? You've got a ton of data; what do you do with it? How do you use it to deliver a better experience for customers and to create a competitive advantage for the business? Those are just a couple of the questions I'll answer.

In the afternoon workshop, I'll take attendees through the journey mapping process. Yes, process. A journey map is a great tool, but after the map is created, there's a critical process that must take place for the map to become the catalyst for change that it is meant to be. So many folks claim that their maps have failed them. I'll take participants through the steps of the process to ensure that the maps are not a waste of time!

Want to join Annette at ICMI Contact Center Demo? Register here by September 28 and save $200!

About Annette:

Annette Franz is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc., a boutique customer experience strategy consulting firm specializing in helping clients ground and frame their customer experience strategies in employee and customer understanding. Her passion lies in teaching companies about customer experience and helping them understand the critical linkage between the culture, employee experience, leadership, and a great customer experience. She has 25 years of experience consulting with clients to help them improve both employee and customer experiences.

Annette was named one of "The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter" by Business Insider and is regularly recognized by companies around the world as a top influencer in Customer Experience. She co-hosts the weekly #CXChat on Twitter, serves as an executive officer on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, mentors other professionals in this field to help them advance their careers, and is an official member of Forbes Coaches Council. Annette is also a speaker and an active writer; you can find her work not only on her own blog but also on Business2Community, CustomerThink, Quality Digest, APICS Magazine, and more. She is also a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP).