A good customer experience with smooth lines of communication, and easy-to-access support can do wonders in making your business memorable for customers. In this presentation, Annette Franz talks about the importance of auditing your interactions with customers, and identifying what works and what doesn't. She  talks about how communication is as vitally important in the business-customer relationship as any other and how to make it easier for your customers to reach you. 

This keynote  was delivered by Annette Franz, the Founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc., at the Freshworks Refresh'18 event. CX Journey Inc. is a consulting firm that helps businesses helps put the "customer" back in "customer experience". In this presentation, Annette talks about the need for businesses to separate "Customer Experience" from "Customer Service". 

The duration of this presentation is 37 minutes.    



If you'd prefer to read the presentation rather than watch the full video, we understand. Here's the transcript. If you'd like to download a PDF version, please subscribe to our Support 101 series and we'll send it to you. 

So thank you for joining me at the end of the day here. I know it's the end of the day. So pros and cons.

Pros: It is the end of the day

Pros: I can talk as long as I want, because I think I'm the last speaker in this room.

Cons for you: Yeah, exactly that. But if you get bored, I wore some great shoes, so just enjoy the shoes if you get bored.

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All right. So I think we're going to start here with a little bit about me. I am, as Joe said the CEO and founder of CX Journey Inc. It is a customer experience strategy consulting firm. I've been in this space for 25+ years. I started when I was four at JD Power and Associates and I am also an executive officer for the board of directors for the Customer Experience Professionals Association. It's the professional association obviously for customer experience folks. I'm a certified customer experience professional, which is a certification that's offered through the association and I am an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council. And I think we're going to kick things off right now with a video.

<Acura's "We Know Safety" commercial plays>

<Annette to co-ordinator offscreen> Thank you

I have no association with Acura, but I have to tell you, every time I watch that video, I get goosebumps and I apologize that I didn't bring tissues for you guys. But this is what my presentation is about. It's about putting the customer into customer experience, right? And this is a great... I think this video spells out exactly what I'm going to be talking about for the next 40 minutes or so, okay?

So, let's start.

Are we stuck on the... okay. All right. So I'd like to start every presentation that I do with the definition of "Customer Experience". There are a lot of definitions out there about customer experience. But I want to just make sure we're all on the same page as I'm going through the next 30 to 40 minutes here. 

"Customer Experience is a sum of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization, over the life of the relationship with that organization. And probably even more importantly, the feelings, the emotions, and the perceptions of those interactions."

Now, I'm going to say something that probably a roomful of customer service folks don't want to hear. But I need to clarify this. Customer experience and customer service are not the same thing. They are not one and the same. Customer service is one of those interactions, okay. And if you really need to, you know, explain this to folks in when you go back to the office, I love to use this quote from Chris Zane. He's the founder of Zane Cycles here in Connecticut. And he says, "Customer service is what happens when the customer experience breaks down."

Why customer experience? Well, as Sam Walton says, There is one boss and that is the customer. Right now, in this, you know, in the world today, where products and services are commoditized, really the only true differentiator between brands is the customer experience. Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, right? And so price is no longer that differentiator. So customer experience is the one true differentiator for brands. But we have a problem. And as you saw in that video, again.... This video highlights the fact that we don't put the customer.... that, you know...

It personifies the fact that if we had to think about customers, when we design products, when we design service, we got to think about them not as dummies, we got to think about them as part of what we're doing. So we've got some problems that I thought I'd use the next couple of slides to outline some of the problems that I've seen. I don't, I'm not using a lot of this, sort of "common examples" that everybody has used in the past, or has seen or can cite going forward. But just a couple of examples of how we're not putting the customer and the customer experience today. The first one is this thing called... what I call "The Customer Experience Gap", our "Customer experience perception gap". It's actually... Bain & Company calls it "The Delivery gap". This is research that Bain did back in 2005. The numbers are still, you know, they may be up and down a little bit. But they're still pretty relevant and pretty in-line with what you see here on this slide. Basically, it says 80% of executives believe that they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of customers agree. So what's happening here?

Two things. First of all, companies are focusing on acquisition over retention. And when we focus on acquisition, when we focus on growth, when we focus on the things that we need to do to bring customers in the door, we're focusing on numbers, and the CEO says, "Hey, we're growing. We got 10,000 more customers than we had last month. We must be delivering a great experience."

Except the problem is, is that they're not focusing on retention. Retention is hard work. And that's where this perception gap is happening. The other thing that's happening is that... there are.... Every company is listening to customers today, right? You get surveyed from, you know, to go to, you know, go to the library, take your dog to the vet, go to the bathroom, whatever, you get surveyed for everything you do you know that right? But the problem is, is that what companies do with that feedback is they analyze it ad nauseum. And they do nothing with it. 

Or... they do two other things. Number one, they focus on the metrics. So it's, "I need to get my NPS up", "I need to get my CSAT up", "I need to get my customer experi... or my customer effort score up". And when you focus on doing what it takes to move the needle, you're actually asking your employees and your people to do things that you wouldn't normally want them to do. If you've ever been to a store or a car dealership, or any of these places where they say, "Hey, here's a candy bar", "Here's $5", "Here's a free oil change", "Here's a membership to Sam's Club.... because if you don't give me a 10 out of 10 on on the survey you're going to get after you shop here or had service here, I'm going to get fired. Okay?"

Any business that does that is focusing on the metric they're not focusing on on the customer experience. The other thing that companies do is they collect feedback, and you say, "Well, what's wrong with that?" Well, I liken that to collecting postage stamps Anybody here collect stamps? Your dad do?(sic). My... my dad... does. My dad collects stamps. So that's why I know about this. He goes to the post, you know, post office all excited because there's a new sheet of stamps that he wants to get. This has been a while to... He puts them in a book, puts the book on the shelf and sits there and collects dust. 

That's what companies do with feedback. They collect feedback. 

They listen, they bring the data in, they analyze it ad nauseum. And they do nothing with it. They've got this beautiful report that sits there, and nobody ever does anything with it.


This is an actual quote that I heard... a question that was asked in a webinar that I attended a couple months ago. "But if I focus on the customer, will that take away from my focus on the product?". 

I wanted to bang my head against the wall. It's all about the customer, right? If you're not focusing on the customer, when you're developing a product, then what's it for, you know? That... that product is going to die. Maybe not tomorrow, but it will die. Because if there's not a problem that it's solving for a customer,  helping some customer do some job/achieve some task, what are you doing it for?

This is a good one. I read this one a couple weeks ago. And I thought, wow, this is this is an interesting one. So this is from the CEO of Nostrum Labs. He said, "I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can to sell the product for the highest price." Now, Nostrum Labs makes a UTI antibiotic, and they sell it for $475. Their number one competitor, the brand version of this drug sells for $2400... I'm sorry, $2800. $2800.

So this CEO said, "Well, I need to raise the price. I'm going to raise it to $2400 because then I'm still the cheapest option. Because the other guy selling it for $2800."

And his logic was, "I'm in business to make money. I can do it because I can". You know, and not even thinking about or considering what the impact is on the customer. He's still the cheapest price around. So that's a problem. So...

What all these things are saying is that... These companies, these people are not focusing on the customer. And they're not thinking about the customer and the customer experience at all, or the impact of the decisions that they make on the customer. So then I asked, "Why are we in business?". And I like to remind folks that that old adage, that old management adage about "We're in business to maximize shareholder value" is no longer the case, right? Peter Drucker said, "We're in business, to nurture and to create a customer". That's why we're in business. If we focus on the customer, the shareholder will realize value. If we focus on the customer, the numbers will come. That's the key thing to remember.

So let's shift that focus, let's change the way that we do business and put the customer at the center of everything that we do. And I love that I've read the one pro about speaking at the end of the day, is that all of these themes, all of the speakers today... are kind of built on the next one, right? And this panel right before me talking about putting the "Human in the experiences" is awesome. So that's what we want to do here, we want to shift the focus and put the customer into customer experience.

So how do we do that? Well, first of all, in order to do that, any improvements or anything that we do... Create/Design products, deliver services, whatever it is, any improvements that we make in the business have to be grounded in data, insights and customer understanding. 

How do we achieve customer understanding? There are three ways: Listen, characterize and empathize. And those are the things that I'm going to talk about here for the next time, half hour or so.

So let's start with "Listen". First one is Listen. So listening to customers is about asking and listening. Asking, as in surveys, and interviews, and those kinds of things. And listening, such as you know, where the customer wants to be, right? Wherever the customer wants to provide feedback: Social media, Online reviews, Voice of the Customer through employee. I'd put CABs up there, but CABs can be both asking and listening. The other thing that we can listen to is customer data, right? We have tons of customer data. We capture data throughout all of the interactions and transactions that our customers have with our organization. That's another way to listen to our customers as well.

I love this quote from Susan Scott. She said, "The conversation is the relationship. If the conversation stops, so does a relationship." So, think about your own personal relationships, right? If your, you know, conversation, stops with your spouse, or your girlfriend, or your best friend... the relationship is over, right?

I'll speak from personal experience and say, "Yes, it is". So if we stop talking to our customers, if we stopped listening to our customers, if we stop having that conversation with our customers, listen, hear, act, you know, respond, act back and forth, the relationship is going to end. So number one thing we need to do is listen to our customers and act on what we hear.

The next thing... number two way to understand customers is to characterize customers. And by this I mean to develop personas and empathy maps. Personas can be... are the research-based personifications of your ideal customers, your ideal prospects. But it's research-based, right? You're going to do ethnographic research, you're going to do one-on-one interviews, you're going to do... you're going to use the customer data that you already have to develop these personas. Let me show you an example of a persona.

So this is this is just an example that I pulled off of the web. I can't use any of the ones that I've done. So I had to grab something online that was sort of generic. There's, so, there's just two types of personas. They're a buyer personas that marketing folks use. This is a buyer persona, it's very high level, it's, you know, who is the customer? Why did they buy? What are their goals? What are their preferences? Those kinds of things. And then there are design personas, these are the things that CX and UX folks use to actually design experiences, to design products. When we have design personas, what we have is a little bit more detail around, "What problems are the customers trying to solve?", "What are their pain points?", "What jobs are they trying to do?", "What tasks are they trying to achieve?"... Those kinds of things. And we get that by taking those personas (because that's good information), but then also also creating an empathy map. And the empathy map, as you can see, brings in a lot of that other detail. "What's the customer doing?", "What's customer thinking?", "What are they feeling?", "What are they saying?", "What are their pain points?", "What are their goals?"... This is such a strong and powerful tool to really help you understand your customers, and you can't do anything... you can't... I'll say it many times. You can't transform something you don't understand. If you don't understand who your customers are, and what their needs are, how are you going to be able to design a better experience for them?

All right. And the third way, and this is the one that I'm going to spend the rest of my time on here, is about empathizing with customers. And this is really about creating journey maps, walking in your customers shoes, and identifying where things are going well, and not so well in the... in some interaction with your organization. And the cool thing is, is that the first two things - the listening and the characterizing - the data that you get from those actually feed into the journey maps. And I'll talk more about that as I get to that slide. But, but the all three tied together and help you, give you really a solid understanding of the customer and the experience today. 

So what is journey mapping? 

Journey mapping is a way for us to illustrate the steps that a customer takes as they interact with our organization, it you know, it really is a timeline of that interaction. And it tells the story of the customers' journey through that interaction, and really helps to build the empathy for her struggles and her pain most of the time, unfortunately, as she's interacting with the brand, and then we also use your journey maps and to co-create new experiences with our customers,

We mapped journeys for, for basically five different reasons. I've kind of boiled it down to five different reasons. Number one is understanding experiences, which, which I've already talked about. Number two is to design experiences, I'll talk about that as, as I take you through my journey mapping process. But we use the maps to design and co-create with our customers. And we use them to rethink the processes and the steps that we take our customers through, you know, on their journey with our brand, we then use the journey maps as a blueprint for the new experience that we're going to implement. So you've now laid out what this new experience is going to be. And that's going to become your blueprint for the work that you've got to do going forward. We use journey maps to communicate experiences, we use them to teach employees about the current state experience, and what the future state experience is going to be. 

We use those maps, then an onboarding, training and ongoing education with our employees so that they can continue to learn about the customer and the customer experience. And then finally, we use maps to align the organization around the customer. And one of the first things that we we talked about here is around executive commitment. Executive commitment is so... you know, is like the number one thing you need in any sort of customer experience transformation journey that you're going on. And it's hard to get that executive commitment. But one of the tools that we use is journey mapping. And I'll give you an example, I had done a journey mapping workshop with a client, a few years ago, who was the CMO of an organization, and we were in an eight hour workshop. 

And... but for about an hour, in the middle of the day, the CEO came in and sat in and listen in on the on the workshop. And we debrief with him after that. And he was just amazed it was an eye opening experience, he was like, really, we put our customers through that. And the cool thing is, is that the next day I found out that the CMO got the resources the time, the... the human, the capital, the financial resources from the, from the CEO, to continue or to, really pretty much start their transformation journey, that they're on. So that's one of the things that we use journey mapping for. It's an eye opening, you know, experience for anybody who participates in that. 

We also use it to... give employees a line of sight to customers. So, a lot of times, we think that the only people who interact with customers or who affect the customer experience - is the front line. And that's just not the case. Journey maps are great, great way to show the back office folks how they impact the experience. 

So think about, for example, you're a bill, I'll say my Verizon Wireless bill, if I have an issue with that bill, I'm going to call Verizon Wireless, and I'm going to get their customer service team, I'm not going to get their billing team. I know I couldn't get their accounts payable team, right, I'm going to get customer service. But the accounts payable team is the one who designed the bill. And they're responsible for its accuracy, its thoroughness, its clarity... easy for me to understand as a customer. But I, but I'm not talking to them. So that's a way and think about, there are a ton of other departments in your... in your organization who do that they do things behind the scenes that customers never see. And they never touched the car, I'm sorry, that where they never touched, touched the customer. But they do impact the customer experience. So when we do the journey maps, and... and the follow up to that, which I'll show you here in just a second, employees really learn how they impact the customer experience.

So, what I'm going to do is I'm gonna take you through my six steps from journey maps to outcomes, these are the steps that I take my clients through to really understand to really transform the experience for their customers. Now, one of the things that I want to point out here is that journey maps are often thought of as a tool. And a lot of times, you might see headlines and say, oh, "Journey Maps are a waste of time", "They weren't successful", "I didn't get anything out of my mapping workshop", you know, those kinds of things. Well, those that happens when people just view journey maps as a tool. Journey mapping is a process. It's a powerful tool. And it's powerful process to understand the experience, and to change and improve the experience. So I'm going to take you through the six steps that you need to go through in order to make that happen.

All right, first step is plan. So "fail to plan/plan to fail" comes into play in any type of project that you are undertaking. So this... In this step, what we do is we define or identify the personas that we're going to map for, that's why we're doing... that's why we've done the personas, okay, because we're going to map for personas, we're not going to map for segments or target demographics. I always use this example, I heard a commercial that was targeted for men, 18 to 49 years old. I don't know about you, but I have a 16 year old son and a 50 something year old ex-husband. And the two of them don't, you know, they're close enough to that age group. But they have different needs when it comes to shaving and all these different things, right. So, so that is way too high level to design any experience for anybody. And you can't look at segments either. Segments are just buckets of things, right? They're, buckets of customers or buckets of people. They're buckets that... maybe there are some similarity, but the persona takes them down to, again, the jobs that they're trying to do the pain points, the problems they're trying to solve. So we really want to focus on journey mapping for the personas. And that's why we developed them to begin with. 

Next thing we're going to do is we're going to outline clear goals and objectives and our desired outcomes and success metrics, just like any other project that you're working on, why are you doing it, and how are you going to measure that you've done it the way that you, you know, achieve the outcomes that you wanted to achieve. And then you're going to clearly define and stick to the scope of the map, "What's the point A to point B that you are mapping?", and I'll talk a little bit more about this on the next slide. And then the next thing you're to do is make sure you get the right people in the room. So a couple of things here, I like to map with customers in the room. But there are two different... there, there are a lot of different ways you can map but there are two... really boils down two. You're going to map with customers, or you're not going to map with customers. If you don't map with customers, you're going to do something, you're going to create something called an "Assumptive Map". That's a map that's built internally by you and your team by the stakeholders. And it's going to be based on what you assume the steps are that the customer... because we're all customers, or we've heard feedback, or we have a general sense of what that experience is going to be like. So it's, it's okay, you can start that way, that's fine. 

But you have to validate those maps with customers, I prefer to have customers in the room. If you're in a b2b business... I'm working with the b2b client right now, where their competitors don't want to be in the same room mapping with each other. And so we've actually taken to mapping with one account at a time and identifying their pain points and just mapping the... the piece of the journey, the part of the journey, that they're having issues with and it's really become a relationship building tool for them. 

If you're a b2c... b2c business, you've got to have customers in the room. And if you don't, if its global and you want a global perspective, or whatever the reason is that you can't have people in the room, there are plenty of online platforms where you can do this through online communities or there are digital platforms for journey mapping that already have this feature and functionality built in. So that you can bring people into the... into the conversation and then send them out on missions and have them come back and post pictures of their experience and take videos of shopping at the store, doing whatever they're doing. 

And then stakeholders. who's going to be in the room with you from your organization to map? So let's take the customer service example. Let's take let's say for example, we're mapping somebody who's calling in about a product issue and are calling customer service. Who do you think has to be in the room as a stakeholder? If you if you think just customer service, you're wrong, you probably should have Marketing, Sales, Product Marketing, Product Design in the room as well.

Because what ended up happening and go back to thinking about that Chris Zane quote, right? The customer service is the... is what happens when the customer experience broke down. The customer experience broke down somewhere. Marketing's messaging was off, sales sold the dream, you know, the the documentation was wrong, it was... there was a design flaw... something. So imagine how much time and money you could save in your call center by identifying something that happened upstream, fixing it and alleviating all that call volume from your call center. So those are the stakeholders you want to have in the room so that they can hear what those issues are. And then also go and fix it. 

So then the last thing that we do in the planning stages, we do sort of a customer journey mapping 1-on-1 before we have the workshop, to prep everybody. So when they come into the room, they're ready to map, they're ready to, you know, they brought data, they brought artifacts, which we'll talk about in a second, and they're ready to map.

Alright, so the next step is empathize. And this is actually the mapping workshop, okay, and we're going to go in, we're going to get everybody in the room. And we're going to map from the customers perspective. 

There are a lot of different frameworks and swim lanes and different ways that you can map a customer journey. But that each journey map captures three main things, what the customer is doing, what the customers thinking, and what the customer is feeling throughout that interaction with the organization. 

We're not going to process map or problem solve. And we'll do that later in the process. I'll talk about that in a step here in just a second. We're going to map journeys, not lifecycle stages. I have seen so many journey maps where I see, you know, "Need", "Awareness", "Consideration", "Selection", and maybe, you know, a couple of steps outline within that. And it's... doing that is great for marketing. But it's not great for the CX design piece of things, right, we need to map at a level of detail so that we can really understand where things are going right, and where they're breaking down. So we need to map at, at, at a... you know, if you think about the life cycle stage, you're going to be within that stage. And you're going to pick some interaction within that stage. And you're going to focus on that point A to point B. But you also do have to think about what comes before and what comes after that. And also think about how that fits into the big picture. So don't lose sight of that. But, but for design purposes, for really understanding the experience, we want to get down to some more granular detail. 

We also want ways for... for remapping map handoffs and things outside of our control. Whether it's, you know, the weather, or social, or technical, technology, or economic, or political. It's the parking, it's the, you know, traffic, whatever it is. Because as we design the new experience, we want to know those things are happening so that we can mitigate and we can adjust for those things, as we design the new experience. 

And, you know, as we're done mapping with the folks in the room, we're going to assign owners to each of the customer steps. If we don't have customers in the room, we're going to make sure we're going to validate those steps. And finally, we're going to digitize the maps. So let me show you an example. The... the map on your left is how I traditionally like to start mapping. Butcher paper and Post-it notes. It's a very creative process to just get everybody out of their chairs, and thinking and talking and interacting and saying, "Hey, what was that experience like for you?", "Oh, don't forget this step", "Oh, I was really frustrated at this point", those kinds of things. So I always start with mapping with butcher paper and post-it notes. The map on the right is a digital map, but digitized map. 

And we need to digitize so that we can adhere to the rules of mapping which are "Maps are collaborative. They are communicative. They are shared, and they are updated". They are living breathing documents, okay? 

So we want to make sure that we do digitize those maps eventually. But I have a funny story to tell you about butcher paper and post-it notes. And once you do this once, you'll never do it again. And once you do it once, you'll always, definitely digitize your map. So first time you... you map with butcher paper and post-it notes. Don't forget to take tape with you to tape post-it notes down. Because like I said, you'll do this want to roll it up and take it back to your office and you'll enroll and all the post it notes of fall off on the floor. I never did that.

Alright. So digitizing. Digitizing - another reason we want to digitize the maps is because we want to bring data into the maps. Data will bring your maps to life, okay? And the kinds of data that we're going to want to bring into the maps are the kinds of things we already talked about, right?

Your customer feedback, your ratings, your verbatim, your... the customer emotions, the sentiment analysis, the metrics, NPS, the CSAT, customer effort score, the persona data, all of those kinds of things, you want to bring those into the map. You want to bring other customer and behavioral data into the maps too. So that's  going to be transactional, and interaction data as well. Operational metrics - some of your call center metrics, right? First call resolution, call time, hold time, those kinds of things you want to bring in as well, to help again, to bring the experience to life. Business data, you want to bring in revenue, profitability, customer lifetime value, cost to fix, impact to fix, time to fix for some of the things that we're talking about. And then finally, you're going to want to bring artifacts into the maps and artifacts or things like call recordings, videos of the experience, pictures, screenshots, documents, contracts, invoices, all of those kinds of things, again, so that when people (who are not in the room while you're mapping) see this map, is it's going to paint the picture for them, it's just going to help to paint the picture for them.

So why do we bring data again? We bring data in, because we want to bring the experience to life. It helps us to better understand and analyze the experience that the customer is having. It gives us deeper understanding, helps us identify the high points and the low points, the pain points, the things that are going well, the things that aren't. And it brings in additional customer perspective too. 

Remember, journey mapping is very qualitative. But once we start to bring in all this other data, it makes it very quantitative. And that is good for those folks who think that, you know, qualitative versus quantitative, you know, there's a little bit more credibility and validity when we've got quantitative and we've got a lot more data in here to support the journey that we're seeing. It makes our maps actionable. And it helps us to really identify the key moments of truth, and to prioritize the key moments of truth as well.

Alright, so the third step in the process is to introspect. And this is all about looking inward. This is when we create service blueprints and process map so that we can really figure out what's happening behind the scenes to support the experience that the customer is having. So this is an example of a service blueprint. And I call service blueprint "Customer Journey Mapping: Part Two".

What we end up doing with the service blueprint is, we don't bring the entire journey map into the blueprint, right? So there is one line there, you can see as the third swim lane down where it says customer action, that's the only thing that we bring in from the journey map. We bring in what the customer is doing. The rest of it, everything that's above it, and below it is... what's above it is what the customer has interacted with, what which of our tools, our systems, our processes, our people have... has the customer interacted with. And what's below that below the line of interaction there... is same thing from behind the scenes, right? Who are the people the tools, the processes, the systems that we are using to support and to facilitate this experience that the customer is having?

Okay, step four, in the processes to identify this is where we're going to identify the moments of truth, really prioritize those research the issue issues, conduct root cause analysis, develop your action plans, assign owners timelines, deadlines, this is where you're really starting to develop your plan for how you're going to move forward to fix the... fix the problems, right?

So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to identify those moments of truth. So I've talked about moments of truth a little bit. Moments of truth are those make or break moments in the customer experience where the customer stops, and says, "This was a really important part of this experience. Wow, they did a great job here", "They really delighted me", "They surprised me", "I'm going to keep going", "I'm going to finish this particular interaction", or "I'm going to keep doing business with this organization". Or it could go the other way, right? 

There's the point in the experience, where the customer says, "This was a really important part of this experience... this interaction for me, and they flubbed it. They royally screwed it up. And I'm never doing business with them again". Okay. So that's what a moment of truth is that make or break moment in the journey. Now, the maps themselves don't identify those moments of truth. That's why we bring in the data, the feedback, the metrics, all of the data that we talked about, to help us to identify those moments of truth.

And then we need to prioritize those moments truth. And I talked about the business data that we need to bring into the map. So the business data, things like cost to fix, time to fix, effort to fix, resources to fix, and then impact to fix - both on the customer and on the business. And when we use those things, you probably have... will... will have your own quadrant chart or an algorithm that you use to... use this data to figure out how to prioritize each of those improvement areas. And then you'll also be able to use this data to then build your business case, to get the resources that you'll need to make those improvements.

Alright, the fifth step is to Ideate. 

Ideate is... this is where we create the the new experience, right? This is where we're going to conduct future state mapping workshops, we're going to open our minds. We are going to ideate. We're going to drop everything that we think we know or that is possible when it comes to creating and delivering this experience for our customers. We're going to let them just throw ideas at it's just lob them over the fence. I always say rainbows and unicorns, just whatever it is.

And you know what customers come up with things that we don't even think about. They... and we're going to do the same thing behind the scenes. We're going to do the same thing on the service blueprint. Your employees get to do the same thing. And they come up with some great ideas too, that we don't even think about. Ideas that we can implement. Now you go to you go into this exercise with the caveat that, okay, we can't do everything that you tell us though that would be the ideal experience. But we're going to listen, we're going to hear what you say. And we're going to figure out how we can use that, incorporate that into the design for a better experience.

All right. And then the last step is to implement. This is where we prototype, we test, and we fail fast. Prototype, Test, Fail fast. When we figure out what the experience is that delights our customers are, that meets our customer needs - we go we implement that new experience. And then we train our employees on the new processes, we train them on the new experience that they've got to deliver. And we close the loop with customers. That is so important, I cannot emphasize that enough that we have to close the loop with customers. And then finally, we have to update the maps, we've got to keep the maps updated.

So that means it's time to get to work, right? You've done all this work, you've listened, you've characterized you empathize. Now, you've got to make sure you put the customer at the center of everything you do.

We can take that feedback, capture it, share it and use it. We can take those personas and put them throughout the office and make sure that everybody understands who our customers are, we can put... post those journey maps all throughout the office as well. A couple of other suggestions. And I think the panel was great there and left an empty chair for the customer there... is to have an empty chair in your meetings throughout the day. That empty chair can represent your customer. This is, you know, thanks to Jeff Bezos at Amazon who does this with his executive staff. But I have several clients who are now doing this in their organizations, in their especially... in their E-staff meetings. But they're encouraging their employees, their... their middle level managers to do this with their employees as well. 

Place customer cutouts and verbatim throughout the office, make sure that your employees can see the customer feedback or have that feedback streaming on monitors throughout the office as well. Not just scores. I have gone to several organizations where they've just got you know, charts and scores and what-not up on those monitors. Stream the actual feedback, the comments, that's what's really insightful.

Have an executive customer champion, have a person at the executive level, who is going to be an advocate for the customer throughout the organization throughout every meeting, and then create a customer room. This is sort of your customer shrine within your organization. Don't tuck it away, hide it in a corner somewhere, have it in a prominent place where employees can see it every day. And put things in there, like your feedback, your personas, your journey maps, videos of interviews with customers. Anything that brings the customer life and brings greater understanding to your employees about who the customer is, and what the experience is, like, what problems are trying to solve... all of those things.

Alright. I don't know if you guys have ever seen that Dilbert cartoon, the one that says our number one priority is to satisfy our customers except when it's hard, or it's unprofitable, or we're busy. 

So, number one, yes, it is hard. It is hard work. I've been in this space, like I said, 25 years. It is hard work to do this. And a lot of times the ROI - you don't see it in months, sometimes it takes years before you actually see the ROI. And that's why this is often such a hard sell within an organization.

But really, if you want to put the customer into the customer experience, you've got to listen, you've got to characterize, you've got to empathize, you've got to do the work. Okay, you've got to take... no transformation will happen unless you understand the customer and the customer experience today. I always like to say you can't transform something you don't understand, right? So this is it, do the work and make sure you put the customer at the center of everything you do.

That's a good cue to stop. All right. I am open for questions if anybody has any questions.


<We apologize but due to technical difficulties, the audience member's question was not recorded. They had asked Annette for tool/software recommendation to help map customer journeys>

So full disclosure, I was an advisor for one of them to work for them for a while as well. Touchpoint dashboard, one of my favorites, the one that I showed you. That screen captures another one that I'm an advisor for CX Workout, there is a site - If you just search journey mapping and I think it's on one of his you know, on the side is like one of his most popular posts. He does a good job of outlining a lot of the digital platforms and giving you pros and cons pricing and those kinds of things for it.