Mapping your customers’ support experience

Guest post by Annette Franz, CCXP; founder + CEO, CX Journey Inc.





I mentioned in my last post that customer service is not only an important part of the customer experience but also of the success of a business. Get it wrong and a lot of other pieces of the customer experience and the customer relationship with your brand might (will) fall apart. And I introduced a tool and process that you should use to ensure you understand the support experience and are able to design and deliver a better experience going forward: journey mapping.


In this post, I’ll guide you on the path to journey mapping success, to ensure that the journey map becomes the catalyst for change that it is meant to be.


Planning


Fail to plan, plan to fail. There’s so much truth in that statement. The planning you do for your journey mapping workshop is as important as the work you’ll do in the workshop. In the planning step, you’ll need to identify the following:

  • The scope of the map: in this case, it’s the customer support journey, but you’ll need to identify the start and end point to keep the map from wandering.

  • The objectives, outcomes, and success metrics of the map: why are you doing it, what will you do with what you learn, and how will you measure success are all important considerations before you begin.

  • Customer participants: for which persona(s) are you mapping, and which customers will you invite to the workshop to map the journey?

  • Stakeholder participants: which stakeholders, both direct and indirect, will be observing the workshop?

  • Mapping platform: how will you map? Assuming this is a virtual workshop, using a platform like Mural or Miro while participants join via Zoom works well.

  • Prep call: have a prep meeting with customers and then with stakeholders to set expectations about the workshop and to assign homework (ask customers to start thinking about the experience and bring any artifacts, e.g., pictures, videos, invoices, that might help to bring it to life).

  • Customer interviews/data: what feedback do you have about the experience that can be added to the map after the workshop? Conduct customer interviews about the experience to add validity and to ensure the learnings are more robust and quantitative.

  • Invitations: invite customers and stakeholders. Consider what type of incentive you’ll offer to customers who participate.

The workshop


During the workshop, you’ll ask customers to do most of the work and the talking. This is all about them; it’s all about their perspective and experience. Stakeholders who are observing should do just that, observe. There will be time for them to ask questions or interject later.


Have customers map what they are doing, thinking, and feeling as they walk through the customer support experience. Ask them to go step by step – more details are better. You want to really understand the experience, what’s happening, how it’s going, etc.

  • Next, have them capture the people they interacted with, as well as any systems, tools, or documents that they used. Ask them to indicate which channel they used for each step along the way. And then have them estimate the amount of time each step (or chunk of steps) took to complete.

  • Once they’ve finished mapping, have one customer volunteer do a readout of the experience so that you can also hear the explanation in their words.

  • After the readout, give stakeholders time to ask questions and get clarification about anything that occurred along the journey.

After the workshop


Just because the map is finished doesn’t mean your work is done. It’s really just beginning. After this workshop, you’ve got to do the following.

  • Identify and prioritize the key moments of truth, those make or break moments that are a decision point where the customer decides to continue to not.

  • Research issues and conduct root cause analysis to get to the heart of the matter.

  • Develop action plans, and then assign owners and deadlines to the plan.

  • Owners need to come back to the team involved with a work plan on how they will resolve the issues that were uncovered.

  • Implement the changes. Train employees on how to deliver the new experience. And let customers know how the experience has been improved.

This current state map is really all about near-term tactical fixes that will hold things over until you can redesign the experience to be the ideal. That requires a few more steps in this journey mapping process:

  • Creating a service blueprint that corresponds with the journey you just mapped. You can’t fix what’s happening on the outside, what the customer is experiencing, if you don’t fix what’s happening behind the scenes. Service blueprints capture the people, tools, systems, and processes that support and facilitate the experience the customer is having. This should be done in conjunction with the root cause analysis.

  • Conduct future state mapping workshops with customers to design and co-create the ideal experience, and create a service blueprint for the future state experience design.

  • Prototype and test the new experience design with customers. Iterate until it meets expectations.

  • Train employees on how to deliver the new experience.

  • Close the loop with customers to reset expectations and help them understand how they’ll be interacting with support going forward.

You’ve got to work through this entire process in order to transform the support experience to be what customers deserve and expect.


To help you get started with journey mapping, we’re providing a template to ensure you capture the essential information from your customers about the experience. Remember, they need to be the ones to tell you what the experience is. Don’t fill a room with employees and create the map that way. This is all about your customers and what their experience is, not what you think the experience is.



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