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Customer journey mapping

We often receive briefs from our clients which are focused on mapping and optimising a specific ‘as is’ customer journey.  The specificity of such a brief suggests that the journey in question is universally defined and understood across the organisation; however, in our experience, this is often not the case.

You might be asking, ‘Why is this a problem?’  Let’s think about a geographical journey – how can you plan or map out your route (and hope to have the best possible travel experience) without an understanding of…?

  • …Who’s traveling (and what kind of travellers they are – needs, preferences, etc.)?
  • …Where you’re setting off from (your starting point)?
  • …Where you’re trying to get to (desired destination)?
  • …Who and what can help you to get there?

The same principles apply to adopting a customer journey approach.  Critically, before starting to map and optimise its customer journeys, a business needs to ensure that journeys are a) universally defined across the organisation and b) that journeys are defined by customer goals (as opposed to a specific channel/ internal process/ product or service). 

A business should therefore begin by building their ‘Customer Experience (CX) Landscape’- a key (yet often overlooked) first step.

What is a CX Landscape?

A CX Landscape documents (at a high level) the key components of the organisation’s CX – based on current state and including both the ‘front stage’ and ‘back stage’ – and shows how key components relate to/ integrate with each other.  More specifically, a CX Landscape is a framework which provides a business with a clear view of:

1. What customers are aiming to achieve with the organisation (on the ‘front stage’)
2. How the business is currently set-up to support and deliver the CX (‘back stage’)


Why is building a CX Landscape important?

Building a CX Landscape is a critical first step as it:

  • Provides a clear definition of a business’ customer journeys representing a consensus on how many journeys the business has, how they’re defined, and where each journey is perceived to start and end. This, in turn, provides a framework for everyone to work from and a clear scope for any subsequent customer journey mapping (CJM) activities
  • Clarifies governance and ownership – and highlights those areas of the CX which are not currently ‘owned’ or where there are differences in opinion regarding ownership and accountability
  • Provides an overview of current measurement activities, which can then be built upon via detailed deep dives/ evaluations (of individual customer journeys) that help to identify the right metrics and measurement approach for the business
  • Highlights any gaps and overlap in terms of measurement, ownership and processes, etc.
  • Informs customer journey prioritisation – with the best will in the world, a business may not have the resources to map or optimise all customer journeys and/or at best needs to know where to start. Once all journeys have been identified, additional data (e.g. relating to drivers analysis, commercial value, customer volumes, customer segments, etc.) can be overlaid to inform journey prioritisation and categorisation (the nature/ current state of individual journeys may demand different approaches)

What should your CX Landscape look like/ include?

Lifecycle phases


Customer lifecycle phases: the typical steps experienced by customers throughout their end-to-end relationship with the organisation


Journeys

Customer journeys:

  • Defined by what customers are trying to achieve with the brand(s)- i.e. customer goals/ intended outcomes
  • Plotted horizontally to show where they sit across the customer lifecycle, with a (perceived) view of where they start and end
  • Including those which are ‘core’ (to the relationship) and ‘ad hoc’ (only experienced by customers in specific circumstances)
  • With a summary of the key channel(s) that each journey can be experienced through


Metrics

Metrics: what are you measuring and where are you measuring it?  I.e. key metrics (customer, operational & commercial) that help the business to assess the extent to which customers can currently achieve their goals




PeoplePeople: who within the business owns each part of the CX – and who else is responsible for shaping, delivering, and managing it?





processes


Processes:
how and where do internal processes align to, and support the delivery of, the CX?





Tech & tools

Tech. & tools: which systems and tools enable the business to support customers in achieving their goals?






Want to find out how we can work with you to build your organisation’s CX Landscape?  Need support with defining your business’ customer journeys?  We’re here to help – hello@thisislens.co.uk or 0113 344 8640…

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Customer journeys, customer-centric, data, Digital customer experience, tech

Our clients come to us at many different starting points and with a range of different business challenges.  Here is a summary of just some of the questions that a customer journey approach has helped our clients to answer…

Business challenges_May 2018 (2) 
































  • What do our customers want to achieve with us and how are we delivering? Customer journeys are defined by customer goals (intended outcomes).  Defining your journeys from a customer perspective identifies why your customers are engaging with your brand – and the goals that you do/ don’t currently help them to achieve.  The extent to which you’re delivering against customer goals should be an ongoing measure of success
  • How do we attract/ convert/ retain more customers through our CX? Many businesses, particularly those with a digital presence / focus, have lots of data on where customers come in to / ‘drop out’ of their CX; however, it is only when we take a journey approach that we truly understand why customers come in or ‘drop out’.  This is often due to the cumulative impact of different touchpoints or the extent to which the business is meeting customers’ rational/ emotional needs throughout the experience
  • When, where & how should we communicate with our customers? The comms / contact strategy and the customer journey are intrinsically linked. A CRM strategy should also therefore be aligned around the customer journey and should be both an input and output of a customer journey mapping exercise
  • How do we improve our CX and where should we prioritise?  The customer journey is a framework that enables businesses to connect all relevant sources of data and insight – customer, operational, and commercial. This provides a business with a holistic picture and enables prioritisation and decision-making
  • How do we deliver a consistent experience?  And where can we differentiate? Many businesses have a brand promise and a CX vision…and some may also have a set of CX principles.  An understanding of customer journeys is then required to ensure that a) these are delivered consistently across the customer lifecycle and b) the business is able to identify the key moments where they can differentiate the experience through ‘signature actions’ that tie into the brand
  • We have a new idea/ product/ service – how do we design the right CX? With start-ups and fintech businesses on the rise, innovation is all around us!  An approach that applies the principles of design-thinking will be invaluable here; taking a human-centred approach and starting with the ‘jobs-to-be-done’, overlaying the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success
  • What should the ideal ‘to be’ experience look like and how do we close the gaps?  With industry trends/ changes (e.g. open banking), innovation and competitor activity in mind, businesses are understandably looking to the future – understanding the ‘as is’ versus desired ‘to be’ customer journeys informs the CX roadmap and clear actions required to achieve the business’ aspirational state
  • What should our channel strategy be?  How do we future-proof our CX?  There are lots of emerging channels and new tech. that can support the delivery of the CX – AI, machine learning, chatbots, and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) are all hot topics.  However, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should – a customer journey approach helps to understand the role of different channels and tech. across the CX and identifies where digital is key vs. where phone/ F2F human contact (etc.) is required by customers

Is your business currently facing any of these challenges?  We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to chat through your challenges and how a customer journey approach might be able to help…

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customer experience, Customer journey, Customer journey mapping, Customer journeys, Customer research, customer-first
CJM Pitfalls slides_AS IS




















1. The journey map as the ‘end goal’

The common mistake

  • If the production of a journey map is the main aim, and hopes are on the map to ‘turn insight into action’, then this will lead to disappointment
  • The map might as well be a report, or another way of presenting some information, perhaps just a bit prettier and more visually engaging
  • In this instance, a journey map has no more guarantees of driving action than any other form of an insight-led report or document – a map isn’t magic

Avoiding the mistake…

  • Customer journey mapping should be part of an overall commitment towards taking a customer-first approach
  • Outputs such as the map and action plans are the tools that will support this – only then, will the map become magical
  • The ‘end goal’ for mapping customer journeys should be to provide the business with a way of understanding, improving and managing the customer experience (around customer needs)

 

2. A customer journey defined by a product, channel or service

The common mistake

  • We have witnessed many briefs over the years with requirements to map specific journeys such as the ‘contact centre’ journey, the ‘mortgage’ journey, the ‘personal advisor’ journey
  • This approach is an ‘inside out’ view of the customer journey, whereby the journey is viewed from a business and operational perspective, rather than from how the customer would view their experience
  • Taking this ‘inside out’ approach to mapping a journey would be a mistake and would result in not achieving the true benefits of a customer journey approach

Avoiding the mistake…

  • Customer journey mapping requires an ‘outside in’ view to be taken from the offset; defining journeys according to what customers are able to / want to achieve with a brand
  • Once a business has defined their journeys according to this, customer journey mapping will come in to its own, enabling a business to:
    • Map the end-to-end journey – the start and end points of the journey from the customers’ point of view and all that happens in-between, and not just the interactions with the business itself
    • Understand the role of channel(s), why customers use specific channels and when (by choice or being forced due to issues in other channels), how customers move between channels
    • The needs and wants of customers across the journey, and the intended outcomes – how these differ and the extent to which a brand is delivering on this (according to different goals / intended outcomes) e.g. ‘Outside in’ view: ‘Mortgage journey’, ‘Inside out’ view: ‘I want to buy my first home’, ‘I want to remortgage my house’ etc.
    • The true opportunities to optimise the journey through understanding the emotional and rational context (not just the physical interactions) and the aspects of the experience that a brand could potentially play a role / stronger role in (that they may not know exist or are viewed as ‘out of their control’)

 

3. Building a view of the customer journey through use of existing insight only

The common mistake

  • Use of insight and data that is held internally across the business is critical – in both building an initial view of the journey and to continue to monitor performance of a business’ customer journeys
  • Using this as the only source of insight, however, means that
    • The business does not actually engage with customers as part of the process of mapping journeys, they don’t witness actual customer experiences and the true impact these are having
    • The experiences may be ‘out of date’ – we have been through journey mapping exercises with clients ourselves and witnessed changes to internal processes that have been made internally by the business in-between the time we have mapped the ‘as is’ to the point in which we were optimising
    • The detail gets missed – the detail that can reveal some pretty ginormous issues with the customer experience. A specific example we have come across is where routing of customers between channels appeared so much more complex than the business viewed it. This revealed that the no-one across the business was actually managing the process that enabled customers to successfully book an appointment in the channel of their choice.
    • The emotional context gets lost – ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’ – with emotion believed to account for 70% of the CX (McKinsey – “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”). Without this understanding of emotion, how will a business be able to delight customers and truly innovate around their needs?

Avoiding the mistake…

  • Existing insight that is held across the business will be hugely valuable as part of building the view of the customer journey and measuring performance moving forwards. This should not, however, replace the need to conduct primary customer research with customers who are experiencing / have experienced the journey
  • Every exercise that involves mapping journeys should involve direct engagement with customers, be it existing ones, lapsed and prospect – nothing will replace this! CUSTOMER journey mapping – the clue is in the name!

 

4. Customer journey mapping – another term for ‘workshops’
The common mistake

  • As a clientside professional once said to us.. “I’m sure you run a great workshop, just like every other consultant…”
  • Thank you we thought (!), but running ‘another workshop’ is the least of our concerns – it’s the 2000 pain point post-it notes that you are now having to ‘address’…
  • When establishing a clients’ starting point for customer journey work, we also sometimes hear… “We have mapped the journey already – we have run lots of workshops internally”

Avoiding the mistake…

  • Mapping journeys in business / stakeholder workshops are a tried and tested way of mapping the customer journey from an internal perspective – and it’s great to see so many organisations doing this
  • But to us, it’s not just a ‘workshop’, it’s a very strategically planned exercise, call it a workshop or not, it requires:
    • a significant amount of planning and set-up, executed in the right way
    • a very clear set of mapping guidelines and definitions – for mapping key components such as phases, stages, touchpoints, MoT’s etc.
    • an ability to manage and facilitate differing perspectives without it resulting in a ‘battleground’
    • an ability to consider all views without resulting in 2000 ‘pain points’
    • facilitated action planning and continued engagement on the back of the workshops
    • a well-thought out programme of continuous work and assigned responsibility that will make absolutely certain that the end result is not a journey map (in a drawer)

 

5. Frontline representation

The common mistake…

  • Understandably, frontline representation across a programme to map, optimise and/ or redesign journeys can be a challenge – be it a global cabin crew or a UK based small contact centre team
  • Due to resourcing challenges, clients often ask that we forego frontline representation as part of the mapping process

Avoiding the mistake…

  • Frontline are critical – they often have the closest grasp on the customers and they also shed light on the reality of processes, the workarounds and highlight the nuances and the detail of the experience (which can showcase just how inconsistent the customer experience can be)
  • Frontline employees are also the ones that will need to embrace any change so are the people you need to make feel involved from the offset and throughout for the whole exercise to pay off…
  • Plan ahead and accommodate in any way you can to make sure the frontline view is in some way represented as part of the business view of the customer journey

These are just some of the easy mistakes to make…We’d love to hear about your own experiences of customer journey mapping and discuss how to overcome any challenges you might be facing or have faced.

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customer experience, Customer journey, Customer journey mapping capability, Customer journeys, customer-centric, Digital customer experience, financial services, life insurance

The life insurance industry continues to face several long-standing and well-established challenges –  low levels of consumer interest and engagement, a lack of knowledge/ understanding of products, and generally low levels of consumer trust in insurance brands (to name a few). Today, in the age of the customer, life insurance companies are also faced with:

Recently named as ‘Best Online Life Insurance Provider’ at the 2017 Your Money Awards, Beagle Street are a company who have, since starting out in 2012, faced these challenges head on and are truly embracing the age of the customer.  A recent experience of purchasing life insurance with Beagle Street has enabled us to illustrate the key success factors that contribute to them getting it right…

#1 Strong and differentiated branding

I’d personally been putting off purchasing life insurance for months, having done some initial research via specialist online aggregators and then telling myself that I would ‘do it later.’  I was only prompted to think about life insurance again when I saw Beagle Street’s recent TV ad.  My initial reaction was, ‘Who?!’  Being honest, I’d never heard of the brand; however, their informal and friendly branding and tone of voice stood out against my perception that life insurance brands can be ‘stuffy’ – so it got my attention right away.  The ad. went on to build positive perceptions of the brand in two ways – 1) it spoke to me in my own language – plain English, not insurance jargon and 2) it highlighted Beagle Street’s free will service (amongst other things) which, to me, said that the business has integrity.  This wasn’t enough to convert me at this point…but it did put Beagle Street firmly on my shortlist.

Again, I waited a while before acting – prompted to re-engage with the sector by a text message from a (rather persistent) Independent Financial Advisor.  My further research, this time via one of the big four comparison sites, put Beagle Street at the top of the list on price (they were cheaper for a higher level of cover) – reaffirming my perceptions re. integrity. 

What stood out to me next was the ‘about us’ section on their website, which gave me the impression that their proposition genuinely had been developed based on a sound understanding of customer needs…and this, in turn, made me feel that I wanted to take the next step on my journey – a deeper exploration of how they might be able to meet my needs.

#2 A clear and simple explanation of products

I then decided to start the online application process, though wasn’t completely sure if I’d see it through to purchase at this stage.  It’s worth pointing out that I do know a little bit about life insurance, having previously worked with various insurance brands; however, this was the first time that I had personally purchased it – so I’m by no means an expert.

The clear and concise explanation of the different product types was therefore really helpful – not too much information but just enough to confirm that what I thought was correct…and there was further information available if I needed it. 

Image 1

#3 A quick and easy online purchase journey

The application process itself was super quick (it took me about 10mins from start to finish) and was really easy.  A couple of things that contributed to this were:

  • I was able to do a ‘quick quote’ before the full application
  • Throughout the ‘quick quote’ I was only shown one question at a time
  • Questions were displayed in a clear and visual way, using large icons (like in the screenshot above) and boxes
  • The application form was really intuitive (e.g. my personal details were pulled from the ‘quick quote’ through to the full application) and…
  • …finally, it felt like minimal effort for me as I didn’t have to do a lot of typing!

As well as the above specifics, it’s also worth noting that I was able to complete the end-to-end application form online – i.e. via my channel of choice – something that, even today, we shouldn’t take for granted.

#4 A memorable welcome

At the end of the application process a pop-up appeared, offering web chat with a message along the lines of, ‘Hello, welcome to Beagle Street, would you like to chat?’ I didn’t take them up on the offer as, at that stage, I didn’t feel that I needed to; however, it did make me feel ‘welcomed’ as a new customer.   You may argue that they could/ should have offered web chat earlier in the journey (when I may have still had some product-related questions to answer to inform my decision) – and there is definitely a case for this.  However, the fact that it was offered when they already had my business made me feel that they genuinely value me as a customer. They also followed-up quite quickly with an invite to complete a survey, which tells me that they are interested in my feedback – and, as a result, it re-affirmed that they value their customers.

#5 Clear comms. that set my expectations

And last, but by no means least, was the way that they clearly set my expectations at key points in the journey.  Upon completion of the application, I was told the three things I should expect to happen next, alongside my key policy details, who to contact if I had a problem, and three things I may want to do myself (see below).

Image 4

I’ve gone ahead and done the first of those two things and, on their part, Beagle Street both sent my documents and uploaded them online.  However, if I were to highlight one area for consideration, it’s the role that other channels may play in supporting this digital experience/ ensuring a connected experience across channels – e.g. I don’t recall them contacting me directly for my ‘welcome call’ (as promised above).

The impact?

I was left feeling genuinely positive about a) the fact that I had purchased life insurance and b) that I am now a customer of Beagle Street.  I now have high hopes about my experience moving forwards as I sense that Beagle Street values me as a customer – it will be interesting to see if or how they engage with me to remind me of how my policy meets my needs throughout life over the next few years…

 

 

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Customer journey, data, retail, retail customer experience, tech
Alongside KX, Asda, Telefonica (O2) and ResearchBods, we will be presenting at the KX Retail & Consumer Products event in Leeds on Tuesday 7th November. We’ll be talking all about connecting data and insight around the customer journey. If you’re interested in coming along, book your place here – 

https://kx.com/kx-retail-data-technology-event-november-7th/

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Customer experience awards, Customer experience strategy, Customer journey, Customer journey mapping, customer-centric, customer-first, Qualitative research

We recently had the pleasure of judging at the UK CX Awards at Wembley – a great experience, which reaffirmed how far Customer Experience (CX) has come over the last few years. With CX now widely-recognised as a key competitive differentiator, most organisations have established CX programmes, strategies, and/or teams in place – and the CX Awards are a great way to gain external recognition for your CX investments.  But how do you prove and articulate the impact of your CX initiatives, with a view to gain such recognition? 

Below we share our thoughts around what we can learn from this year’s finalists and winners, plus some key considerations for businesses looking to take their CX to the next level…

#1      Inside-out versus outside-in thinking

Examples of both inside-out and outside-in thinking were evident across this year’s entries:

  • Inside-out thinking – a focus on commercial and operational objectives and internal processes/ systems/ products
    • E.g. Several entries focused on the outsourcing of contact centre operations and associated impacts, with the initial decision driven by factors such as rapid business growth
  • Outside-in thinking – looking at your business from a customer perspective and designing products and services around customer goals and needs
    • E.g. The winner of the Utilities category described how they designed a Tracker and associated comms. to provide transparency and address issues around consumer trust in Utilities providers

Both approaches can have positive impacts on the CX, even if these impacts were not the initial aspiration or driver of the business decision.  However, it is those businesses who apply outside-in thinking, and have a genuinely customer-centric approach, who really stand out for CX.

Key considerations:  Do you have a clear CX strategy that considers your business from the ‘outside in’ – i.e. in terms of what customers are trying to achieve with your brand?  Does your business consider the customer throughout planning and implementing change? A strategy that is underpinned by a clear set of CX principles, and is supported by tools such as customer personas, will help to ensure that customer impact is at the core of decision-making processes.

#2      Connecting insight around the customer journey

Insight that can help to shape and optimise the CX comes in many forms in terms of types of data/ data sources and what’s actually being measured.  Many of the finalists are now using the end-to-end customer journey as a framework to connect insight, enabling businesses to cut across verticals, draw comparisons at different levels of the organisation, and unite around a more connected view of the customer. 

Key considerations:  Customer journey management is the future of CX optimisation and is key to driving customer-led change.  Have you clearly defined your customer journeys? Are these journeys defined by the customer perspective, not just your operational processes? Are your customer journeys being used as a framework to consistently manage your CX?

#3      The importance of customer input

Although many organisations hold a wealth of knowledge and insight on the customer journey, the most important rule of journey mapping is to use primary research to understand and define the journey from a customer perspective – in terms of customers’ goals and pathways/ routes taken.  However, it seems that some customer journeys are still being defined on an assumptive basis – i.e. how the business sees them.  Without customer input and leading with the customer perspective, businesses risk making decisions that are made on sizeable assumptions about what customers think, feel, want, and need.

Key considerations:  Are you getting customer input/ feedback on your proposition, brand, and experience when it matters most? Are you using the customer perspective to drive decision making across the business?

#4      Stories as well as statistics

Over the last few years there has been much debate about which is the ‘right’ CX metric – NPS/ CSAT/ CES, etc., with organisations coming to realise that there is no ‘perfect’ metric; rather a range of measures are needed to gain a holistic understanding of on-going CX performance.  This includes the growing emphasis placed on independent customer review sites, specifically Trust Pilot, with many of the finalists using their rating as a key customer metric across their organisation.

However, to really sell the positive impact of CX initiatives, statistics need to be accompanied with the art of storytelling – we often only get our message across when we can understand how various touch-points are experienced by, and emotionally impact upon, a real individual customer (ideally one who we can relate to). 

Key considerations: The role of customer immersion in facilitating on-going customer closeness/ understanding, and in providing impactful stories, cannot be understated.  To what extent does your business draw on qualitative research (including techniques such as co-creation and ethnography) to engage the business with the true impact of CX performance?

#5      A focus on the extremities of the experience

The Awards highlighted plenty of best practice examples that we can learn from when it comes to the extremities of the CX (i.e. focusing on the beginning and end of the customer lifecycle and/or particularly positive and negative experiences), such as:

  • Effective resolution and complaints handling
  • Proactive acquisition and retention strategies – e.g. recommend a friend schemes, loyalty programmes, and personalised marketing informed by customer segmentation and a Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) model
  • Leveraging Promoters – e.g. encouraging them to write reviews on consumer sites via links at the end of a customer survey
  • Understanding the issues affecting Detractors, e.g. via text analytics and root cause analysis

Key considerations:  What is your business doing in relation to these areas? What are you doing to maintain and optimise the CX for those customers in the middle?  And how do you ensure that you’re not resting on your laurels – i.e. how can you shift your CX from ‘good’ to ‘great’?

#6      Employee engagement

When it comes to CX, we know it’s not just customers who are important. The Awards presentations included great examples of employee engagement initiatives – from ‘employee recognition Friday,’ to dedicated areas (e.g. feedback walls) for employees to make suggestions, to Facebook pages to reach frontline teams. 

To deliver a consistent and branded CX, your employees also need to really understand your CX vision/ brand values (and what they mean in practice) – and need to have a reason to deliver that experience.  For example, the winners of the Hospitality, Leisure & Travel category now include their new values within their employee appraisal process.

Key considerations:  Have you equipped, empowered and motivated your employees to deliver on your CX vision?  Do your employees have all the tools they need to deliver a consistent, branded CX?

If you’d like to discuss any of these areas in more detail and consider how you might set yourself up for entering for an award in 2018, please just get in touch – hello@thisislens.co.uk

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B2B customer experience, Customer experience strategy, Customer journey, Customer journey mapping, Customer journeys, customer-centric, customer-first, start-up businesses

UK start-up businesses are on the rise – 2016 saw a record number (650,000) of new start-ups, with this trend predicted to continue in 2017. Alongside this, customer experience is being recognised as a driver of growth amongst B2B service providers, yet less than 25% are excelling and only 23% of B2B organisations claim to have a customer-centric approach. With last week marking six months since starting up ourselves as ‘lens’, we wanted to reflect on some of our own experiences to illustrate:

– Why we firmly believe that a ‘customer first’ approach is so important
– How getting the customer experience ‘wrong’ can have a negative impact on customer behaviour, loyalty, and advocacy
– …And why/ where significant opportunities exist for B2B organisations who ‘get it right’

Here, we take a look at some of the fundamentals of a customer first approach and illustrate how they played out across our own experiences when starting out…

#1 – Understand your customers’ mind-set and needs

Taking the plunge into ‘start-up world’ brought about a whole series of conflicting emotions – we were in a place that we hadn’t been in before…a totally different ‘mind-set’. We were very focused on an overall mission – ‘To set-up our business so that we were ready to go on day 1’. This meant creating a ‘to do’ list which included things like registering the business, buying (and setting-up) the right IT equipment, taking out the right business insurance, and setting-up business banking, etc.  Each item on our ‘to do’ list represented an individual customer journey that we would go on, with each journey involving different organisations.

Our mind-set very much shaped our needs, which was somewhat different to what we would want/ need as a consumer – we were a different persona.  In general, we felt that very few of the organisations we dealt with really took the time to understand this.  Some of the banks got off to a reasonable start – they suggested that they had products for us by having the word ‘business’ in the naming of their accounts and, with some, we could then look at accounts for ‘start-ups’ versus those who were ‘already running a business’ or ‘switching providers.’  Beyond this, the questions they asked us were pretty much about facts and figures (e.g. ‘What will your turnover/ net profit be, will you be dealing in cash?’) and not about what we actually needed.

The impact?

First impressions count.  We started out feeling that we weren’t fully understood and that the banks, in particular, weren’t all that interested in us as a business. Turns out, that feeling became a reality…

#2 – Design around customer goals, not a product or a process

After understanding who your customers/ target customers are, the next question a business should ask is, ‘What are customers trying to achieve with us?’  This leads to the identification of customer goals, which define individual customer journeys, e.g. ‘to set-up our business banking.’ 

It quickly became clear that the bank had designed their experience around their product and associated process, not around us achieving our goal.  This was most apparent in terms of where we each perceived our journey to end – to us, being ‘set-up’ meant that we had everything we needed and knew how to access and manage our accounts; to the bank, the emphasis seemed to be on our account being open – they sent out the necessary comms. and then it felt like ‘job done’…

The impact?

In the short-term, we had some issues with setting-up and support was hard to find – we were unsure who to contact, which lead to us sending several emails and making quite a few calls.  This quickly descended in to feelings of ‘what have we done…’

#3 – Map the end-to-end journey, not just interactions with your brand

It’s also important to note where our business banking journey had started, which was before we got in touch with our chosen bank.  We’d begun by researching and comparing bank accounts online and seeking recommendations from other businesses, meaning that we came armed with information, perceptions, and expectations.  This vital context surrounding interactions, including the ‘route’ taken to get to the brand, is often missed by businesses, who often perceive that the customer journey starts at first contact with their organisation. 

The impact?

In our case, setting-up business banking was also just one of the journeys that we were on in our ‘quest’ to achieve our overall mission – and many of these journeys were dependent on each other, e.g. we couldn’t set-up our direct debit for insurance without our bank account details.  Therefore, when we had to wait 4 weeks for an in-branch appointment, it may not have seemed like a big deal; however, to us, this was part of a much bigger picture – meaning it was more of a ‘pain point’ than the bank is likely to have anticipated.

#4 – Understand the rational journey – i.e. the thought process and support needs beyond the product/ service

The bigger picture, and the journeys themselves, were also about much more than the physical interactions (touch-points) we experienced – the more touch-points we went through, the more questions we had…and the extent to which we could get answers dictated our behaviour. 

When it came to laptops, we wanted to know which one was right for us.  We started off in store, where one retailer provided attempted to provide some POS guidance – laptops for different ‘purposes’ (none of which mapped to what we needed).  We reverted to comparing laptops online and managed to narrow our options down by seeking recommendations from friends and family in business and applying some guess work.  To make our final decision, we decided to go in back in to store, where we chose the most expensive of our shortlisted options.

The impact?

You could argue that this was a win for the retailer as we bought the most expensive laptop from our shortlist.  However, we also needed an ‘all-in-one’ printer/ scanner, a cloud-based storage/ file sharing system, and various software…cue more questions. We’d have happily bought them all in one go if we’d have known we could get the answers we needed.  However, the lack of proactive help from the ‘advisor’ in-store meant we decided it would be ‘easier’ to go back online and purchase the other items we needed from elsewhere – so, does this really count as a ‘win’?

 #5 – Understand what matters most (and why) to build an emotional connection

Across the different journeys, we expected to feel a ‘healthy level’ of anxiety – but there were some stages/ touch-points where we felt more anxious.  In some cases, this felt natural; in others, this was due to, or at least ‘heightened’ by, poor customer experience. When we started our business banking account journey, we wanted an in-branch appointment initially – we called to make one, the contact centre ‘pushed us’ back online…and even when we were (finally) at our appointment, it was suggested that an online application might have been better. Whilst online would be our preferred channel in ‘consumer world,’ this was different – we were in a new territory and we had to get this right. 

The impact?

We wanted to use specific channels for specific reasons. Whilst digital channels will enable us to manage our accounts ongoing, at this point we wanted face-to-face contact with someone who would be on-hand to answer key questions we had and would be accountable for helping us to achieve our goal. For the bank, this was a real opportunity to connect with us and start to build a relationship – whilst in the end, they gave us an initial face-to-face meeting, it was with reluctance and we certainly didn’t feel valued. Our stance now is that we’ll stay with them for the free banking period offered by the product; however, beyond that, our decision will depend on how well they respond to what matters to us in future.  Building an emotional connection where/ when it matters most is so important in terms of customer loyalty and advocacy – people will forget what you said or did but will remember, and talk about, how you made them feel.

#6 – Measure the right things and prioritise based on key drivers

The things that matter most to customers should be amongst the things that a business measures – this means focusing on key stages/ touch-points (‘moments of truth’) and the drivers of satisfaction across these interactions. 

The impact?

Our experience has led us to question whether the organisations we have dealt with have designed around the things that are important to start-up businesses specifically… Interestingly, none of the organisations that we have dealt with have approached us to ask us for feedback on our experiences.

Some final reflections…

So… we didn’t have the best customer experiences and we wouldn’t recommend the bank or the retailer…or any of the businesses we dealt with for that matter.

As the start-up market continues to grow, it’s time to take things seriously. Adopt a customer-first approach; Get the customer experience right, identify opportunities to fulfil other needs at the right points, create reasons for business customers to be loyal, and build advocates of the future.

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Customer journey mapping

What will it take to build a customer journey mapping capability within your business?

It is predicted that, by 2018, 60% of large organisations will have their own in-house customer journey mapping (CJM) capabilities.  But what are ‘CJM capabilities’? And what will it take to build CJM capabilities within your business?  

Read about the ‘5Ts’ here: Building a Customer Journey Mapping Capability – lens


Front pic - CJM capability










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Customer journey mapping, Training

Customer journey mapping training – now available to book!

Are you considering how
 customer journey mapping could add value to your business? Book your place on our introductory training session to help you to plan your next steps: 

Date: Thursday 27th April, 2017
Time: 9.15am to 12.30pm
Location: Leeds 

To book your place: Email – vickysmith@thisislens.co.uk

lens CJM introductory training session_April '17

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Customer experience strategy, Customer journey mapping

Looking back over the last few years, Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) has risen as one of the latest ‘trends’, with businesses becoming increasingly interested in their own journeys – 86% of senior-level marketers now say that it is ‘absolutely critical or very important’ to create a cohesive customer journey.

With new ways for customers to touch brands continuing to emerge, sources of data continually expanding, and consumer expectations rising, CJM will be fundamental in enabling businesses to continue on their path to being truly customer-centric throughout 2017 – and beyond.

For CJM to be embedded within a business and achieve its true potential, there are a number of factors that will be critical to successful implementation:


#1 A universal customer experience (CX) strategy

Beyond the fact that CJM continues to be a ‘hot topic,’ why the interest from businesses in their own customer journeys? The ideal answer to this question is that CJM has been identified as a key ‘tool’ required to execute a clearly defined Customer Experience (CX) strategy – a strategy that has gained buy-in from stakeholders and employees across all levels of the business, and is directly linked to the overall business strategy. In our experience, the success of CJM initiatives ride on the level of investment in this upfront work. A good, solid CX strategy outlines:

  • The overall experience that the brand wants to deliver to its customers – articulated by a clear CX vision, priorities, and customer-centric measures of success
  • How the brand will deliver its vision to customers – a set of CX design principles which act as a framework to drive consistency across all journeys and channels and are grounded in how customers want to feel about their experiences with a brand
  • What customers can achieve with the brand – a customer journey framework with journeys defined from a customer perspective, based on customer goals or the ‘jobs’ that customers are trying to get done

Getting the CX strategy right positively impacts the bottom line – 73% of marketing leaders say adopting a customer journey strategy achieves revenue growth.


#2 Customer journey management

Although it means time and investment – in cross-functional teams with journey owners and dedicated resource – creating a customer journey management structure is the best way of ensuring CJM drives change. ’This structure also brings about consequential benefits that will aid a business on its path to customer-centricity, including:

  • A shift in mind-set – once journeys have been defined from a customer perspective, mirroring the way that your customers see you as an organisation should result in the business thinking and feeling like a customer, rather than by the way the business operates (in terms of products, channels, processes and systems)
  • Collaborative working – cross-functional journey teams (that include frontline representation) cut across siloes, pooling expertise and encouraging knowledge sharing in pursuit of shared actions
  • Cohesive thinking – decision making at all levels geared towards delivering against customer needs, rather than individual agendas

#3 Emotional profiling of customers – segmentations and personas

Winning at CX is about building emotional connections with customers. We see personas used extensively in CJM and experience design as a way of understanding customer types and thinking more ‘emotionally’ about:

  • Customers’ wants and needs – building a deeper, more empathetic understanding of the customer
  • Customer experience – which journeys each customer segment is likely to experience
  • Personalisation – how to better ‘connect’ with customers and tailor the experience at the moments that matter to them most

The risk is, however, that developing personas is often an isolated exercise for the purpose of a CJM project – to form yet another version of customer segments or ‘types,’ which are often different to what the insight team holds, and different again to what the digital team uses.

This is where the ‘reignition’ of segmentation needs to happen – utilising the wealth of data within a business so that ‘segmentations of the future’ not only include demographics and history with the brand, but also knowledge of customers’ wants, needs, and desired experiences. By combining historical and predictive data in this way, brands will be able to build a more emotional profile of their customers that, in turn, will enable greater personalisation of the customer experience.


#4 Primary customer (and employee) research

At the point of embarking on a CJM programme, we are often faced with the challenge of ‘convincing’ clients that such an exercise should be informed by primary customer and employee insight. Whilst businesses often hold a huge amount of existing insight, and this is often invaluable, the benefits to making primary research (qual and /or quant) a key step in the process should not be underestimated:

  • For providing the full picture – existing insight often only covers the parts of an experience that the business is directly involved in, rather than the end-to-end experience as the customer sees it – the end-to-end often highlights unaccounted for drop offs, missed opportunities, the cumulative impact of touchpoints and the true impact of key ‘moments of truth’ (both positive and negative), to list a few
  • For buy-in and alignment – making sure everyone is aligned and bought in to the ‘as is’ journey as a platform to move forwards from
  • For closing the gap between internal and customer – to go through process of establishing the gaps between internal and customer view – this is a hugely valuable exercise to facilitate between a cross-functional journey group
  • For generating customer-led solutions – without primary customer insight we can only assume how and why customers are impacted in certain ways and what the ‘fixes’ or future design solutions should be

#5 Connected insight and data

Lastly, but most critically, to realise the true benefit of customer journey mapping, it must be the tool that creates the framework to connect all sources of insight and data, providing a single view of the customer experience and a way of managing the CX.

Initially, the challenge is often the number and variation of sources and types of data that a business holds and/or the way it is often held (in siloes) – resulting in a business not always knowing what it holds or even sometimes holding it ‘secretly.’

Using CJM to connect insight and data will mean that the customer journey cannot be mapped overnight – it requires an iterative process, with buy-in to the customer agenda across the journey team, with the time and dedication to audit the journey, using data and insight to…

Map the ‘as is’ journey initially…

  • Validate and understand the extent of the issues raised through primary research / existing insight
  • Establish the root cause of an experience and the ability to address
  • Create the business case for change – through linking the customer journey directly to backstage operations and processes

Manage, measure and re-design the journey on an ongoing basis…

  • Review how we get the right / relevant sources feeding in to the journey on an on-going basis to inform the correct customer picture on an ongoing basis
  • Establish where there are gaps and where we need to start using data to inform
  • Set the baseline, manage the customer experience and measure the impact

We believe customer journey mapping should be a way of life for a business – used as a tool to connect a business around the customer and a way to successfully differentiate through the customer experience.

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