Archive for the ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ Category

Field of Omni-Channel Dreams or Catch-22?

October 15, 2013

Field of Omni-Channel Dreams or Catch-22?

What Film does your Omni-Channel Customer Journey resemble? Is it beautifully consistent with seamless scene changes or flawed, clunky and badly cut? And is the editing process and your improvement journey going as fast as your consumers want and your business needs?

field of dreams

If you build it he will come” – was the calling in the famous Kevin Coster Film, Field of Dreams, where he built the Baseball field and against all odds… he and they all came. The same calling is true for enlightened professionals for omni-channel. Unfortunately organisations just don’t work that way. Although every marketer and service person knows that delivering an omni-channel sales and service facility will increase engagement, reduce customer effort and increase sales, exactly how and where is difficult to put your finger on.

Catch 22: What came first the Chicken or the Egg?

The Omni-channel business case or the capability?

The Omni-channel business case or the capability?

In our 15 year experience of building more relevant contact strategies that have delivered £10Ms of value for our blue-chip clients, we’ve constantly come up against the Chicken and Egg conundrum.

It took two years for one client to roll-out a change to their SME contact strategy that uplifted revenue by 35%. Why?

When IT roadmaps are already full you get the run around. Prove the business case, tell us exactly what components you need that we don’t already have on our plan and then we’ll build it. At best, good discipline that ensures you don’t build a Single View of the Customer £Multi-M White Elephant. At worst, delaying tactics, because its too difficult and we’ve already got more than enough to do. Even if you can point to others that are benefitting, will we get that benefit? How can you be sure?

Until you build it you don’t know and until you can prove its worth it you can’t build it! Aarghhhh!

Assuming you could get a “skunk works” project up and running to prove the case, you’ll then run into the secnd barrier, which is people. We’re too busy doing what we’re currently doing (chasing existing targets) to disrupt that and try something new. Catch 22.

Moving On…

As I said on a Directors Club Omin-channel Webinar when interviewed by Jon Snow the other day, one of the ways to break this is to incubate these new strategies. Either in-house, with a separate team, or outside the corporate barriers entirely.

To do this, you need three things:
– Be clear where the value lies
– Have an ability to create a virtual single view and add in channels
– Incubate it with people and technology where you can control, test and learn

Show me the Money

At HOWTOEXPERIENCE we have a rapid approach that looks at the maturity or sophistication of contact across the customer lifecycle (from Finding, Getting, Joining, Using, Leaving, & Managing Events). We look at it entirely or focus on a specific part where you believe there’s pain and opportunity. Identifying your Omni-channel opportunity. Delivering three quick things that will make a difference immediately and three medium term areas where

with new capability you’ll make a step change. We put numbers on this backed up by external benchmarks to show the scale of the return. You use this to get everyone excited and signed up to the plan.

Mary Poppins had a Magic Carpet Bag…

Mary Poppins Magic Carpet Bag

Mary Poppins Magic Carpet Bag

We’ve got a Contact Innovation Centre in Swindon ( full of talented bright people, backed by a highly agile multi-channel real-time contact engine that can be set up very quickly ( It’s a way to isolate your omni-channel opportunities, test them and evaluate the returns, without disrupting business as usual. We think that’s unique.

Once you know what works and by how much you can take the real results into your business and accelerate those items that make the biggest difference. Gaining traction and pull. Confidently scaling and rolling out, whilst working on the next set of ideas.

The Journey to Omni-channel reality

It’s rare that you’ll make this omni-channel dream a reality overnight. It needs significant IT, data and organisational change, which will be the subject of a later article. On the webinar, I explained that it’s a journey to omni-channel. You just need to start taking the first few steps in the right direction. Joining the key channels together at the key moments, rather than trying to do it all at once. Building confidence from small but sure and rewarding first steps.

You can undoubtedly find many significant opportunities by looking at your customer journey maps. That said there are few areas where we always look first and more often than not, find opportunity.

Finding – The consumer and client buying journey is much more complicated with ¾ of customers using at least 2 or more channels. In a mobile phones company, when we looked at the purchase journey we found a 30:1 ROI in capturing leads better and integrating follow up across face to face, web and mobile channels.

Joining – One of the most formative and yet complicated times in the life of a customer with you, where customers experience up to 70% of all the interactions they might have with you. At American Express, when we streamlined this it uplifted revenue 19%. They won CRM strategy of the Year.

Servicing – With ArrowXL, the UK’s largest 2-man multi-brand delivery business, integrating channels and shifting focus from reactive service to proactive service is reducing cost to serve by 50% and leading to improved customer satisfaction. We wish them luck – they are a finalists in the multi-channel category in this week’s customer experience awards.

Retaining – Picking up Defection Triggers in Social, Operational and feedback channels and then acting upon them can have a significant impact on reputation, prevent escalation and improve retention. We’ve seen multi-point improvements in retention rate.

Turn your Field of Dreams into a Reality by identifying and incubating your Omni-Channel Eggs!

If you’d like more on how to do this, please contact David Williams –

If you’re a pioneer – where have you found most benefit and what other hints can you give others on barriers and how to overcome them? We welcome your contribution to the conversation.

About the Author

David Williams built the world’s largest customer Management benchmarking database and sold it to the WPP Group. Since then he continues his practical customer focussed consulting work at HOWTOEXPERIENCE and also sits on board of Carpeo an outsourced contact innovation centre that focussed on delivering added value customer contact and tPoint Solutions – a leading cloud-based Smart Contact Platform.

Happy New Year? Key Customer Themes for 2013

December 31, 2012

As we leave 2012 and enter 2013 I wanted to write a quick note to thank all our clients and friends for entrusting us with some fantastic challenges in 2012 and to look forward to what 2013 might hold in store.

In Summary, we believe 2013 will be characterised by Smarter Professional Contact Value with ‘MMFF. Let me explain…

Smarter Technology leading to breakthrough consumer and business applications

Pervasive Internet, wealth of Smart Devices with standardised protocols, intuitive applications and cheap sensor technology are leading to many disruptive business models and propositions. In particular, we enjoyed seeing the launch of the Smart Homes propositions, as featured in British Gas’ TV brand re-launch. We were fortunate to help Dan Taylor, Gayle Terry and teams with Customer Experience Design, Operating Model definition and go to market planning.

Customer Value vital for brands and their customers

A key theme for 2012 was and will continue in 2013 to be Customer Value. What will differentiate brands in the long run will be whether they choose to get it FROM or create it WITH customers. (See Show Me the Money article). This was best exemplified in our work with Moneycorp’s Corporate Business team (thanks to Mark Horgan and team, who have a compelling FX proposition for consumers, SME’s & Corporates). Everyone should have a customer value waterfall. No matter how well managed, there’s always opportunity by focusing on the drivers of customer value exchange and how brands find, keep, grow and manage their customers. This theme was continued at ECEW, where we facilitated the Financial Benefits Workstream. Notable was Peter Sinden’s LV= presentation. It reminded us that significant value can be attained if you focus on service delivery and fix the people side of the business.  Thank you Maggie Wheeler for putting together a great conference, we look forward to ECEW 2013!

Customers getting Smarter than organisations

We wrote our key white paper of 2012 on this theme, it has significant implications for organisations. Our paper set out 16 key CEM disciplines required for the Smart Organisation to systematically deliver customer value. We set up a benchmarking capability to help organisations understand their capability, gaps against the 16 disciplines and systematically improve. If you missed it see our CE benchmarking Guide for sources of CE benchmarks.

I’ve challenged a number of executives in 2012 to think what they would do if their customer service policy manuals were published (as it won’t be long before consumers do!). This was no better brought to life at ECEW than by Dave Carroll, with his “United Breaks Guitars” story. Much froth has been written about social media in 2012. 2013 will see organsations start to embrace it and embed it proactively throughout the customer lifecycle. Consumer power was seen towards the end of 2012 in the boycott of Starbucks regarding fair tax. Brand Trust and Reputation are everything in this connected world and we’ll continue to see major brands re-habilitate themselves with extensive corporate and social responsibility programmes in 2013.

Multi-channel Contact drives change

Contact channels, useage and attitudes are shifting significantly. Be in no doubt, the multi-channel world is here. Customers will demand joined up treatments or take advantage of arbitrage opportunities. That combined with pressures to reduce costs will put organisation structures under pressure and demand joined up treatments and understanding. Continued focus on effective automation for transactions will be combined with the contrasting need to manage increased complexity and added value contact. On a personal note, it was gratifying to rapidly set up and deliver new contact channels in 2012 for a number of clients including Yodel, our thanks to Nicola Collister and team for their support. We utilised the highly agile multi-channel tPoint platform and the Contact Innovation Delivery facility in Swindon with Carpeo to set these up in weeks. There is enormous value to be delivered from adjusting and delivering revised contact strategies. 2013 will be the year to improve this and we hope our end to end incubation service will play a key part in enabling more new ideas to be tested.

Customer Experience gets Professional

In 2012, the CXPA was established to give Customer Experience Professionals a home. As Customer Experience moves through the hype curve from early adoption to mainstream, more and more organisations are establishing programmes and teams to get it done. Customer Experience has moved from being something everyone talks about to a discipline many are trying to embed.

In 2012, we established the HOWTOEXPERIENCE Academy. Set up to deliver CEM Training and tools around the 16 disciplines smart organisation framework. Its for CE professionals and provides recognition through accreditation for Customer Journey Mapping. I didn’t quite manage to publish the book (again!) but we did embed the leading edge methodologies and know how into our licensable CE Toolkit, X-ccelerator.  It’s the most comprehensive online CE toolkit that accelerates customer experience improvement. It offers everything from Benchmarking, Customer Journey Mapping to CE Dashboards and Programme Mgt to assure improvement delivery. All backed by an extensive CE knowledge base. It reinforces our commitment to work WITH organisations, up-skill individuals and deliver sustainable improvement in CEM capability. It will be our major focus in 2013.

And what can you expect from HOWTOEXPERIENCE?

We’ll be continuing to “Give it ‘MMFF” (Meaningful, Memorable, Financial and Fun)

This defines the experience we try to deliver at HOWTOEXPERIENCE. Nowhere better exemplified than the work we did throughout 2012 with the Vodafone Top 250 Leaders. We delivered a series of Customer Experience Safari’s that helped them ground the Vodafone Way and define their version of an unbeatable customer experience. Our thanks to Julia Jack and Emmanuel Gobillot. We’ll introduce an open Safari programme for others in 2013.

We’ll also re-establish the HOWTOEXPERIENCE Networking Events. I’m interested in clients who are willing to host, so we add more value to them. First one will be 13th Feb focussed on Customer Experience Improvement. Please get in touch if you’re interested. We’ll be doing our upmost to maintain our own 100% Client Net Promoter Score!

All in all, 2013 the year for Smarter Professional Contact Value with ‘MMFF!

Look forward to engaging with you during 2013. We hope that’s it’s a happy and prosperous New Year for you, your customers and shareholders.

David Williams

PS If you need some suggested New Year’s Resolutions – you’ll find them here!

Another Groundhog Day? Is your organisation driving you and your customers insane? 5 steps Smart Organisations take to break the cycle

September 13, 2011

Groundhog Day Movie Poster

In the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray re-lives the same day over and over again. He sees the outcome from his actions and behaviours as plain as day. After a while, it starts to drive him slightly insane. Only when he works out he needs to do something different does he finally start to get a different result and win the heart of the girl of his dreams (Andy MacDowell).

Insanity: (Definition) – doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result.

From a customer experience perspective most organisations are insane. Most desperately want to deliver better for customers, but despite the best of intentions, they keep making the same mistakes. Day in day out. These things turn their customers off and reduce financial returns. As in the film, it’s like watching a car crash waiting to happen. To get customers to love you and your brand you need to understand what really makes a difference to customers and business outcomes and then invest in the changes to make it so.

Mapping Customer Journeys and truly comparing against real customer needs helps break the cycle. And it can be done in days not months in 5 easy steps.

Step 1 – Get the cross-functional team (and customer) in the same room

Get the cross-functional team in the room at the same time, or at least in the same room looking at the same map over a short period. Get them to bring the facts, data, analysis and insights with them. Bring the customer into the room too, whether virtually (with insights, verbatims, videos) or physically. And don’t be frightened to bring some frontline staff too (they always have a good handle on the real issues). You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the speed of progress that can be made. And if you haven’t done this before, you’ll be amazed the clarity that’s brought and understanding that’s built through having all the functional experts in the room, seeing the same picture.

Customer Journey Mapping

H2X Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

Step 2 – Walk the Journey & add a proven Customer Journey Mapping methodology

You’ve got to walk the customer journey looking through the customer’s eyes. We’ve found over the years that bringing the journey map to life visually, with all the facts together on one piece of paper galvanises thoughts around the big issues and potential solutions. The secret is looking at business and customer issues at the same time and finding solutions that solve both simultaneously.

Step 3 – Evaluate the options financially

Customer Experience investments are no different to any other business investment. So, we also rapidly build a business case model to evaluate costs and returns of the various solution options. This needs enough detail to be credible and to include customer dynamics (revenue and behaviour), interacting with fixed and variable cost to serve. To ensure buy-in we always get Finance to sign the model off.

Prioritising Customer Experience Investments

Customer Experience Prioritisation

Step 4 – Walk the Senior Team through it

The cut through that can be achieved through a fact-based discussion around these Journey Maps with the senior team is compelling. Especially when you bring it to life with customer and employee stories.

As one client CEO said, when he was reviewing the maps with his executive team:

“You can take it you have our full support, now what do you need from us…”

Step 5 – Execute on improvement plan

For that organisation, focusing on 3 vital but important actions was the first step away from Customer Experience Insanity and becoming a Smart Organisation. The returns from the quick wins they discovered more than paid for the engagement in the short term, let alone the £Multi-M longer term returns.

HOWTOEXPERIENCE has worked with many blue-chips to quickly map customer journeys in order to identify and fix those “groundhog day” issues. Improving business returns AND customer love quickly.

Start this next week

You could start this next week. Think about that gnarly touchpoint or customer journey that you know is destroying value. Chances are, whilst you’re thinking about it, you’ll have already lost more value than the small investment required in identifying and nailing the solution with our support.

Contact David Williams, HOWTOEXPERIENCE now…you’d be insane not to!
T: 07968 854764 E:

PS Ask about our special X-ccelerator mapping programme that will serve up maps, business case and actions in two weeks.
More on Groundhog Day – Bill Murray’s early clumsy efforts to find out about his sweetheart… here

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