Two weeks ago, I delivered a webinar called “The Path To Journey Management” in partnership with Intouch Insight, a CX management solutions provider. (You can still register to watch the replay.) We got a ton of great questions about the content I presented. So many, in fact, that I didn’t have time to answer them all on the webinar itself.
I hope you’ll watch the webinar if you haven’t already — and that you’ll find the answers below helpful on your own path to journey management.
Journeys & Journey Maps
There are various schools of thought on how granular a journey should be. What is the “right” level?
I look at journey maps as storytelling devices — and stories need different amounts of detail (or “zoom”) depending on the intended audience and the storyteller’s desired outcome.
If you’re trying to make a business case that your organization should focus its customer experience investments in post-sales support, then you’d want to create a journey map that compares that part of the end-to-end journey with other high-level phases. But if you’re advocating for specific technology, policy, and process changes that will enable more effective and efficient communication during the post-sales support journey, you’d need a map that showed those communication breakdowns within the context of your customers’ specific goals or tasks.
We use awareness, consideration, evaluation, conversion as the phases of the journey and connect to relevant touchpoints/marketing mixes. What are some of the phases you have seen based on the journey goals?
I’m actually not a fan of terms like awareness, consideration, or conversion when they’re applied to customer journeys. When we’re in a journey mindset, we’re thinking about things from the customers’ point of view — not the marketers’. And no customer has ever woken up and said, “Honey, we need to develop awareness of our retirement options today” or “I’m so glad we converted on our home loan yesterday.”
In the archetypal customer journey framework I developed several years ago, I list nine stages of the end-to-end journey in language that customers would conceivably use: Need, Seek, Choose, Give, Get, Use, Fix, Love, and Leave. However, you should use whatever language you hear you customers using, like “Order supplies” or “Track shipment.”
Why is it a journey manager, and not a director?
I look at this role as being structurally similar to that of a product manager. So just as you might have many product managers, several directors of product management, and a VP of product management in an organization, you should theoretically be able to find journey management positions at various levels of a corporate hierarchy. We’re also currently doing research with several large firms in the US that have oversight for key journeys at the top executive level.
In the journey manager role synonymous with that of a customer success manager? If not, what’s the difference?
There’s definitely confusion around these terms right now. I’ve heard of one company that gave each of its account managers the title of journey manager — and another that gave its customer support reps customer success titles.
As I see it, journey managers set the strategic direction for a journey — like onboarding — and work across the organization to ensure that improvements to both front-end onboarding interactions and behind-the-scenes onboarding processes/policies/tech/etc. get prioritized and implemented.
In contrast, customer success managers help specific customers go through a journey — like onboarding — as smoothly as possible.
Any idea which department typically houses the journey manager role?
That’s a great question and one that’s part of our current research. Stay tuned!
Would you put journey managers under the head of user experience, or put the UX effort under the journey manager?
These two functions are related in that they’re both focused on creating more effective customer interactions. UX folks are generally focused on designing specific digital touchpoints, like a website or a mobile app — and this work is made better by understanding how those touchpoints fit into the context of a larger journey (that likely involves both digital and non-digital touchpoints). And journey managers need to enlist UX to improve specific parts of the journey they’re responsible for.
But while UX and journey management must work together towards their shared objectives, I see no inherent organizational hierarchy between them.
Do large organizations generally have multiple journey mapping managers?
Yes! Just as large organizations need multiple product managers to oversee all of their products, so do they need multiple journey managers. Here are a few data points from our The State of Customer Journey Managers, 2018 report: Air New Zealand, BBVA, Fiat Chrysler, Greenpeace, Lloyds Banking Group, and Qantas Airways each had 3 journey managers. John Lewis, LATAM Airlines, Nestlé, Barclays and British Gas each had 6. And Royal Bank of Scotland alone had more than 70.
(We’re currently working on the 2019 version of our journey manager report. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear when it’s out.)
Are you familiar with any activations of this role in the real estate management field?
Yes, in our 2018 research we found journey managers at IWG plc (Commercial Real Estate in the UK) and Lennar (Real Estate in the US).
Should journey managers first be focused on creating magical, differentiating experiences or solving for the things that are broken?
You need to have a basic level of customer experience hygiene before you try to “surprise and delight,” as some in the CX field like to say. Delivering a mix of “broken” and “magical” will only confuse your customers — and won’t produce the business results you’re after.
Do you start the journey map by analyzing data and establishing benchmarks to improve upon?
I love that you’re asking about benchmarks, because far too few journey maps include quantitative data or metrics. Here’s how’d I suggest approaching this from a process perspective:
- Use your organization’s existing data (customer feedback, operational data, and financial data) to steer you to problem areas in the customer experience and help you determine the journeys you should map.
- At this point, you should be able to identify the business reasons for examining this journey and, as you said, establish benchmarks, such as: For the equipment installation journey, we want to decrease calls to the contact center by X% or increase service plan upsells by Y%.
- However, you may not be able to identify of all of the important benchmarks until you conduct research with your customers and uncover the factors that are most important to them. So, be sure your KPIs aren’t locked in stone until you’ve completed the research phase of your journey mapping initiative.
What is the best or most common way to determine the health of your customer touchpoints?
First, we need to define “health.” When we’re talking about customer experience, it’s easy to focus solely on customers’ needs. But a truly healthy touchpoint meets both customers’ needs AND the business needs. A touchpoint that’s delighting customers but costing the company millions isn’t healthy — nor is one that’s cheap to deliver but turns customers off.
As I alluded to in the question above, you need to combine different types of data to get a complete viewpoint on the health of any given touchpoint or journey.
- Customer feedback will tell you what customers think and feel.
- Operational data (top reason codes that customers call into your call center, how long inventory sits on the shelf, etc.) is the bridge between customer feedback and financials. It helps to fill in the blanks about what’s really going on.
- Financial data (sales, churn, etc.) will tell you whether this touchpoint is ultimately making your organization successful or not.
By the way, since your question was specifically about measuring customer touchpoints, please see my post Why You Need To Measure Journeys—Not Just Touchpoints.
What are best practices for measuring ROI when making improvements to the customer journey?
This answer builds on my answer to the previous two questions:
- Create meaningful benchmarks by…
- Combining multiple types of data.
Of course, to show ROI, you then need to:
- Fix what’s broken.
- And then once again, combine multiple types of data and compare with the benchmark.
Of all of these, steps 3 and 4 are the hardest. Step 3 is difficult because it requires people from across the organization to buy into your plan and willingly collaborate. This is much more easily accomplished when you add operational and financial data to your customer feedback.
Step 4 is difficult because many executives lack the patience to wait a year for step 3 to happen, and even longer to see measurable change. For this reason, my suggestion is to combine short-, medium-, and long-term improvement projects in your journey management plans.
What would you consider the top 2 steps to show value of journey mindset?
- Pick journeys that your executives care about. Is your executive team laser focused on reducing customer churn? Acquiring new customers? Slashing cost to serve? Head straight for a journey that you believe (based on combining the three types of data discussed above) has a good chance of significantly impacting your organization’s strategic objectives in a positive way.
- Make all your journey efforts cross-functional. I often refer to customer journeys as “silo busters.” Leverage the inherent cross-functional nature of journeys and encourage organizational adoption through by including a broad set of team members in journey management initiatives.
Are there 3 – 5 top pain points to get customer experience into an organization?
I assume you’re asking about business pain points. And yes, there are generally two main pain points that organizations are trying to solve for when they introduce and adopt customer experience practices.
- We’re not making enough money. CX is introduced to get existing customers to buy more or stay longer (i.e., build customer loyalty) and to attract new customers.
- We’re spending too much money. CX is introduced to alleviate issues that drive people to high-cost service channels.
Can you help create a B2B value proposition for CX where you have a near monopoly, and there is no cross-sell up-sell capability due to government regulation?
Yes! This is where business pain point #2 above comes in. No matter what the business model, every organization can save money by improving its customer experience. And government regulators love that!
Anecdotally, we worked with a major water utility that conducted journey mapping because they wanted to build up a “trust bank” with its customers in anticipation of a time when something would inevitably go wrong — and at that point, they wanted to have their customers and the greater community on their side.
What are emerging trends with respect to creating digital strategies that align customer experience with back-office operations?
A customer journey is just one part of the picture. To use a theater metaphor, it’s the “on-stage” interactions. There’s also a “backstage” that represents that back-office operations — the people, processes, technology, and other behind-the-scenes factors that either support or thwart that customer journey.
Service blueprinting is a complementary methodology to journey mapping that helps organizations identify and examine the connections between on-stage and backstage activities. The resulting service blueprints enable organizations to either document the existing backstage or define one that will support a future-state journey.