Are you using Customer Journey Maps in Customer Service and Support?

David SeatonDavid Seaton VP, Service Level TransformationMember

Customer Journey Maps (CJMs) capture the customer's experience as they interact with your product or service. While Process Maps capture the steps in a process from the company's perspective, CJMs capture the customer's goals, thoughts, emotions and pain points as they interact with your company across multiple touchpoints. Done correctly, CJMs can identify the "Moments of Truth" that impact customer loyalty - giving you an opportunity to improve the experience and reduce customer churn.

Is your Customer Service and Support team using CJMs to bring customer insight into strategy decisions about processes, channels, and technology for support?

If so, who champions the creation and maintenance of the maps? Does Support own their own maps, or do you partner with Marketing or Commercial?

If you're not using journey maps, why not?

Best Answers

  • Steve TennantSteve Tennant Managing Director Member | Enthusiast ✭
    edited October 28 Accepted Answer

    @Dave Seaton Great question!

    I've worked with four large and midsize B2B SaaS and tech clients in service and support and facilitated workshops to create CJMs several times, so this one's near and dear to my heart! To your questions:

    Is your Customer Service and Support team using CJMs to bring customer insight into strategy decisions about processes, channels, and technology for support?

    • In my experience, CJMs are relatively new in service and support but becoming increasingly popular. It's a great idea to pursue and a powerful concept.
    • The key is to have internally-created CJMs validated by live customers (which many companies skip) in order to create powerful insights -- almost every time, it's something the teams were completely unaware of that make for the greatest improvement opportunities. @Doug Caviness and @Steven Forth are absolutely right with their focus on business outcomes and value delivered - when customers validate the maps, you can also validate customer-desired business outcomes and how value is measured, a foundational element most companies do not yet have to ensure value is delivered.
    • These insights result in a variety of pain points that can be addressed, usually through new or improved business capabilities (people, process, technology). I've found TSIA has been instrumental to help teams understand possible best practices to improve the Customer Success, Service and Support experience.
    • Transforming the experience has required investment, usually in technology, sometimes headcount. There are ways to fund this but few approaches succeed without executive sponsorship. So, your "bottoms-up" comment caught my eye.... Many teams spend time mapping all these things out, but if the executive sponsorship isn't there, you can't actually make the changes that the team recommends, which is a bummer for the team. It could make sense to develop CJM skills perhaps, and see if there might be low-hanging fruit, but manage your team's expectations along the way as to what might come from the effort to prevent disappointment.

    If so, who champions the creation and maintenance of the maps? Does Support own their own maps, or do you partner with Marketing or Commercial?

    • Every company is different here -- I suggest partnering with all willing participants and prioritize those who can drive change. The CJM is a "tip of the iceberg", a visible 5-15% of the effort -- under the water level, and not visible until the CJMs have been completed, are changes you and your team will want to implement to improve the customer experience. Some of these changes are where 85-95% of the effort goes, which require funding and internal partnerships.
    • As a result, the approach I've found best is to partner with executives that you believe will be required to implement the likely changes that the CJMs will suggest for the markets and products being explored. For my clients, functions like Marketing, Sales, Product/Engineering, Customer Service, Technical Support, IT, HR, Finance have participated in end-to-end transformations. We have brought each function's representatives into workshops to participate in developing the CJMs and underlying capabilities. The support functions are also needed: HR on culture change, Finance on business case development, and IT on capability development.
    • That level of End-to-end support for the whole customer journey requires a senior executive sponsor to get all the functions to play along. Depending on company size, it might be the CEO, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, even a highly regarded SVP of Marketing, Services or Support. The role requires passion and the ability to get others to make putting customer experience a priority and help fund the changes. It doesn't make sense to develop the program or bring functions together if there's little budget to affect change due to a recession, COVID, etc. Some prep work on potential strategies to fund capabilities is time well spent. If you can't fund changes, you can't make changes, and if you can't make changes, you're not going to be able to show results from the effort.
    • If it's not possible right now to get the full end-to-end cross-functional partnership due to competing initiatives or short attention spans, narrow your scope to the service and support phases of your customer journey and any other functions who will play along. You can still invite functions who may not yet have exec sponsorship to send a representative for part of the workshop (in my experience, this has most frequently been Sales and Product). We have said, "Our focus is to improve service and support but we want your representatives to help make sure we understand the upfront steps the customer goes through and the underlying processes and systems." Usually, while it's not our focus, we always identify simple changes that can be made in these other functions, too, that they were previously unaware of, which surprises them. They may or may not be able to fix depending on resources needed. But, the next time you ask (for the next target market segment, the next product, the next customer persona you focus on) they're more likely to join in because you showed results from the first time. If you have results to show, you may get the attention of one of those senior cross-functional sponsors the second time around.
    • Each map should represent one type of customer (persona) seeking one business outcome. So, in reality there are many maps. For a workshop, we might explore 3-4. It's confusing and not super helpful to have a map with every customer and every product. So who you bring in depends in part on the products and services being addressed.
    • Ideally, you want a complete end-to-end Customer Journey Map (current state, future state), maintained by anyone willing to maintain it! Most teams I've been on have someone with a lot of pride of authorship and ideally some "design flair" so they are used widely to communicate and the "owner" gets a lot of kudos. Initially, the owner has been a program office or experience design team, or someone familiar with CJMs, and eventually becomes part of the ongoing operations.

    I hope that helps!

Answers

  • Doug CavinessDoug Caviness VP, B2B Strategy & Partnerships Member | Scholar ✭✭

    At cleverbridge our strategic marketing team is leading -- as part of a cross functional effort involving most major functions of our company -- a fresh look at our customer journey to identify the various needs of our client throughout their lifecycle and then to properly align our touch points and solution delivery to these needs (desired outcomes). CJMs will be part of this process. Like many organizations we've already implemented some fundamental changes to our organizational structure to ensure this client-centric approach is orchestrated for our client, but this is an ongoing journey.

  • David SeatonDavid Seaton VP, Service Level Transformation Member

    Thanks, @Doug Caviness and @Steven Forth. It's exciting to see organizations taking a top-down and cross-functional approach to journey mapping. We are taking the opposite path - starting small within our Support Services organization and building up.

    I like the added swim lane for value communication, delivery, and recognition. With the "skills required" lane, is that because you're a service provider vs. a product or technology?

  • Doug CavinessDoug Caviness VP, B2B Strategy & Partnerships Member | Scholar ✭✭
    edited October 20

    @Dave Seaton in the case of cleverbridge we are technology company that offers a full service ecommerce solution (tech+ services + insights) for global online selling, such as renewal automation for longtail customers. In many cases clients rely on us to run their ecommerce channels on their behalf. This is why for us we really try to take a broader approach to ensure that we're orchestrating and delivering on client outcomes. Another aspect of this might also be that in most cases we're also interfacing with of a variety of personas, each of which might have very different needs or success criteria.

    Does this help answer for question?

  • Steven ForthSteven Forth Managing Partner Founding Partner | Expert ✭✭✭

    Hi @Dave Seaton

    The skills required by the customer swim lane has proved to be most useful for our software platform (it is a platform that combines skill profiles with skill and competency models). Out users get more value as they become more proficient with with our platform. So at each touchpoint we define what knowledge and skills a user should have. This helps us work out how we can support them in gaining and applying those skills.

  • Doug CavinessDoug Caviness VP, B2B Strategy & Partnerships Member | Scholar ✭✭

    @Dave Seaton, in the case of cleverbridge we are technology company that offers a full service ecommerce solution (tech+ services + insights) for global online selling, such as renewal automation for longtail customers. In many cases clients rely on us to run their ecommerce channels on their behalf. This is why for us we really try to take a broader approach to ensure that we're orchestrating and delivering on client outcomes.

    Does this help answer your question?

  • David SeatonDavid Seaton VP, Service Level Transformation Member

    @Steve Tennant Thanks for the detailed response!

    My "bottoms up" comment was about our approach, rather than our sponsorship. In other words, we've started by mapping small "micro journeys" in which a customer is interacting with a single functional area in our company (support) to achieve a specific outcome. Building on that success, we are growing in scope and beginning to map journeys where the customers transits between different functional areas - i.e. the transition from implementation to support.

    This is in contrast to the approach @Doug Caviness and company are taking, beginning with the entire customer lifecycle across functions and working down into more specific maps.

    I really appreciate your comment about having customers validate the maps. Too often we make assumptions about what customers want without really knowing. That's why we're starting all our CJMs with customer interviews conducted by a dedicated team. Workshop participants will have to listen to the interviews and create an empathy map before we develop the persona and journey map. Then we'll validate the output with the customer.

    Sounds like you're doing exciting work! Thanks for sharing.

  • Steven ForthSteven Forth Managing Partner Founding Partner | Expert ✭✭✭

    I like this comparison of a bottom up and top down approach. One key is to get everyone responsible for a value stream or a chunk of functionality used to working with journey maps. It should become a standard, flexible and well understood tool. Stitching these micro journey maps together then becomes a place to find disconnects where information is dropped and there are discontinuities.

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