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Assuming you have developed a customer journey map based on a core segment persona, you are likely expecting that this design tool will help you improve the experience you deliver to this customer group.

To maximize the effectiveness of a persona-based journey map, you must do three things well –  validate, educate, and activate.

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The post Validate, Educate, and Activate the Customer Journey Map {Infographic} appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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This the third in what I am planning to be a four-part series on service design, persona-based customer journey mapping, activating customer journey maps, and optimal future experience visioning.

Given that we’ve set the framework for service design and persona-based journey mapping in prior posts, I will focus this installment on how to use a customer journey map to affect positive change in your organization.

I will also distinguish the nature of the insights gleaned from a customer journey map from the topic of my next post – optimal future experience visioning.

As I noted in last week’s post:

Persona-based journey maps serve as a research and design tool to understand the current journey of core customer segments and to find opportunities to make improvements that add value for those groups.

Assuming you have developed a customer journey map based on a core segment persona, you are likely expecting that this design tool will help you improve the experience you deliver to this customer group.

To maximize the effectiveness of a persona-based journey map, you must do three things well –  validate, educate, and activate.

Validate

If I asked you to draw a map from your location to a neighboring town, I assume you’d make a best guess effort in your depiction. I also assume that before you published your map, you would want it validated against GPS or other means.

Even professional cartographers use a multitude of validation techniques to assure the accuracy of their renderings. The same is true with customer journey maps.

Maps made by an inside/out view of the customer journey must be validated by an outside/in perspective.

In other words, internal teams can draft your journey map, but customers must validate the assumptions made during draft creation to assure the actual journey of the persona/segment matches those assumptions.

Educate

Most team members aren’t walking around thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a customer journey map?”

Some team members may have a basic understanding of the tool; particularly if their input was solicited as the map was being drafted. However, for most colleagues, customer journey mapping is a tool that requires explanation prior to effective use.

This basic level of explanation involves reading the map with all its icons and symbols.

At a deeper level of training, the map must be placed in context to the business’s customer experience culture and strategic goals.

My team and I, have helped many businesses understand not only the elements of a journey map but also the why and how of map creation, persona-development, and the optimal branded experience principles that should be delivered at key customer touchpoints.

More importantly, we’ve helped team members understand their role in creating customer value and how the map can be a tool to look for opportunities to innovate customer solutions.

Activate

Ok, so now you have a persona-based journey map or maps which have been socialized throughout your organization. How do you help people use the tool in service to improve the customer experience?

The short answer is cross-functional teaming and developing processes for collecting insights and vetting those ideas for systematic and efficient deployment.

For most organizations, we talk about activation as a part of customer experience governance.

An effective governance structure, enables non-duplicative, high impact/low expense/low effort ideas to advance quickly, and stewards other initiatives through thoughtful evaluation before deployment.

In all cases, governance structures are essential to streamline efforts and provide the support needed to foster high-value customer change.

Next week we will finish this series by comparing the incremental benefits of customer journey mapping (removal of pain points, reductions in customer effort, and validate delivery of emotionally engaging interactions) in contrast to the future/backward benefits of optimal future experience visioning.

In the meantime, how well have you drafted, validated, educated and activated your customer journey map(s)? 

We’d love to hear about the success and benefits garnered from your maps. Conversely, we’d be glad to discuss how you can maximize benefit from this helpful approach to customer insights and design. Please reach out to us to arrange a time to talk.

The post Three Keys to Effective Customer Journey Mapping appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Persona-based journey maps serve as a research and design tool to understand the current journey of core customer segments and to find opportunities to make improvements that add value for those groups.

The post Persona-based Customer Journey Mapping Infographic appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Persona-based customer journey mapping helps you understand core customer segments so you can add value to these groups.

As promised, this weeks’ blog is a continuation of last week’s post titled Aim Before You Fire. In that post, I shared my thoughts on the importance of immersing yourself in an understanding of the core customer groups for whom you wish to design loyalty building experiences.

After discussing a myriad of ways you can deepen your customer understanding (e.g., focus groups, surveys, etc.) I wrote:

In our next post, we will talk both about the how and why of persona-based customer journey mapping and a process I refer to as optimal future customer experience road mapping.

Since this is the next post, let’s dive-in…

The Pain of Reality

Frequently, I work with leaders who are trying to transition their company in the direction of customer centricity – knowing that their business is currently optimized for operational efficiency.  One of the early pain points encountered by leaders during this transition process is an appreciation that they have achieved excellence by crafting a “one-size” fits all experience.

Persona-based journey maps serve as a research and design tool to understand the current journey of core customer segments and to find opportunities to make improvements that add value for those groups.

Going Beyond Segments

Before I proceed with the virtues of persona-based journey maps, it is essential that we share an important distinction between core customer segments and customer knowledge needed to craft true personas.

To be clear customer segments do not translate into personas without work and investment.

For example, I can know that I would like to attract customers that represent households with incomes of over $150,000 and that my products best serve families with two children.

That level of knowledge about a consumer segment, however, is insufficient to craft the type of persona ultimately needed for worthwhile mapping.

Typically to build a persona you need to conduct a deep dive inquiry with a representative sample of individuals from that demographic segment to understand psychographics and lifestyle preferences for those who constitute that overall consumer population.

That inquiry looks at purchase preference, media consumption, an average day, fears, aspirations, values, buying behavior, etc. Armed with this knowledge then this segment can be humanized with a name and backstory that infuses the segment data into an amalgam we refer to as a persona.

That persona can then be used to help explore the interactions with your brand from the standpoint of the persona’s wants, needs, desires, and lifestyle.

Here are a few additional considerations, we’ve found essential to effective persona-based customer journey mapping.

  1. Start by building a map for a persona that represents a large portion of your existing business
  2. Map before you fix
  3. Think of fixing and elevating moments in the journey

Let’s look at each of these considerations in slightly more detail!

Start by building a map for a persona that represents a large portion of your existing business

My momma once said, “Remember the one you brought to the dance.” While stretching it a bit my mom’s wisdom is applicable. To develop the discipline of journey mapping it’s often best to, begin with a group you most likely know well and for whom your existing business should be optimized.

Map before you fix

By nature many leaders are doers, but mapping is initially about understanding.

Before we can improve the customer experience, we need to understand our business from their side of the interaction. Initial mapping is about what is happening from the customer’s vantage point.

Later the process shifts to what can or should be happening.

Think of fixing and elevating moments in the journey

There is a growing body of memory research that suggests humans remember moments, not days.

We tend to fixate on peak experiences (whether those peaks represent a high point or a pronounced low point) but we should focus on recent or end experiences. You don’t need to address a movie playing in the head of your customer, you need to execute flawlessly at important highs and end events along their journey with you.

There is so much more to talk about concerning persona-based customer journey mapping but this experience moment has passed!

Should you wish to reach out to discuss persona-based customer journey mapping at your business, please contact us to set-up a time to talk.

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post What is Persona-Based Customer Journey Mapping? appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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A specific domain of experience design is service design. Let’s look at what’s needed to craft service experiences (influenced by people, process, and technology) that will engage customers, increase consumer spend, fuel loyalty, and drive referrals.

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post The Discipline of Service Design {Infographic} appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Recently I wrote a blog in which I offered my definition of experience design. From my vantage point, experience design is one of the core competencies of human-centric organizations along with human-centric culture, customer listening/understanding, effective change management, and productive use of customer-focused metrics.

I am sure I will be addressing all of those topics in future blogs but reflecting back on my recent blog, I defined experience design as:

a range of disciplines which guide the creation of processes, products, services, and events optimized to produce quality interactions/moments/memories.

The Discipline of Service Design

In this installment, I’m taking a deeper dive into a specific domain of experience design, namely service design.

As a consultant, I am often tasked with helping leaders envision and create service delivery that is relevant to the changing needs of their core customer segments. By contrast, I am not typically involved in crafting new products that will appeal to consumers (that is usually left to product design consultants and internal product design teams).

Given my work, let’s look at what is needed to craft service experiences (influenced by people, process, and technology) that will engage customers, increase consumer spend, fuel loyalty, and drive referrals.

The biggest mistake I see leaders making when it comes to designing service experiences is “shooting before they aim.” It takes patience to gather necessary inputs before launching into design fixes.

The first step in that journey of patience is deciding for whom you wish to design. 

For example, let’s assume you have four core customer segments (each group differs significantly from the others when it comes to demographics, values, ambitions, fears, and lifestyle needs). It will likely be impossible to design a service experience that is optimized for all of those segments.

Based on business goals and strategy, decisions are often required to focus on one or two of those segments as a starting point for design. Future efforts can expand to address the needs of other segments based on business priorities.

Tireless and Immersive Inquiry

Once a decision has been made as to the prioritized target segment, the tireless and immersive work of understanding that segment begins.

Understanding typically comes from a range of inputs such as general industry trends, direct and indirect subjective and objective feedback from that segment (call center analytics, findings from customer surveys, social media tracking, etc.) and from quantitative and qualitative customer segment research (e.g., focus groups, customer interviews, direct observation, diary studies, etc.).

The immersive nature of this work requires the passion of a cultural anthropologist who embeds him or herself into a remote tribe of people to understand their habits, mores, folkways, attitudes and social order. The tireless nature of this work involves the understanding that most of the data you collect on customer segments is time-bound.

For example, focus group insights need to be refreshed as social, technology, business, and geopolitical factors are perpetually reshaping the perceptions and expectations of consumers.

From Research to Visioning

Once you feel you have sufficient understanding of your target segment, great service design companies share that knowledge with cross-functional teams from across the organization enabling those teams to be immersed into the demographics and psychographics of customer segments and charging them with the responsibility of looking for ways to build a service experience that meets their existing and evolving needs.

That new experience will likely involve removal of current elements of the existing experience, elevating key elements of the current experience (through process improvement, human service delivery, and the aid of emerging technologies) and in some cases, it will require dramatically shifting the service model.

This phase of service design typically requires an understanding of the journey of this customer segment as they research, purchase, receive service and maintain a relationship with brands like yours.

In our next post, we will talk both about the how and why of persona-based customer journey mapping and a process I refer to as optimal future customer experience road mapping.

For now, I encourage you to assess whether you have prioritized the customer segments for which you wish to optimize service experiences.

That prioritization should be guided by business strategy and the role various segments play in your present and future.

Assuming you have identified a high priority segment, how immersed are you in understanding them? Also, how current is the information on which you are relying?

Time to Talk

I am glad to help you explore your customer segment selection and your customer segment research.  For a complimentary conversation, please contact us and we’ll talk soon.

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post Aiming Before You Fire – Patiently Seeking Input to Guide Service Design appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post Outstanding Experience Design {Infographic} appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Experience design keys for the future.

My work in customer experience design has spanned decades, industries, and continents.

That said, there are certain sectors where my team and I have spent a lot of time –not least of which are automotive, hospitality, financial services, building trades, retail, and restaurants.

When it comes to the restaurant sector, we have seen many sizzling upgrades at flagship locations. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery stores are outstanding examples of what can occur when a brand stretches in futuristic ways.

New Shine to The Golden Arches

Recently McDonald’s previewed a new flagship store in Chicago designed as a combination project of Chicago based Ross Barney Architects and Sydney, Australia-based interior designers Landini Associates. The Nation’s Restaurant News provides a five photo gallery depiction of the McDonald’s flagship store take at its unveiling. Suffice it to say; this is NOT your grandmother or grandfather’s McDonald’s.

In fact, McDonald’s is referring to this location as the Experience of the Future. While the vast airy environmental design changes are impressive, I was struck by a new service delivery model at the Chicago flagship wherein all ordering is done at kiosks (no person-to-person ordering), and table service delivers the food.

McDonald’s dramatic overhaul of the flagship store’s physical layout and service design prompted me to share thoughts about an overarching concept I refer to as experience design and to offer a few key elements I view as central to crafting relevant, engaging, and loyalty building experiences.

Experience Design Defined

Over the years I’ve seen a number of definitions for experience design, and I have cobbled together my own from the best definitions I’ve encountered. For me, experience design encompasses a range of disciplines which guide the creation of processes, products, services, and events optimized to produce quality interactions/moments/memories.

The first phase of experience design involves the quest for immersive knowledge about the wants, needs, desires, and preference of individuals for which the design is being crafted. It requires an understanding of what those individuals seek to accomplish/enjoy in their daily lives.

Beyond the initial customer research phase, experience design moves through three other stages:

Visioning

Prototyping

Implementation

Using McDonald’s Experience of the Future store as an example, I suspect the flagship store is designed for younger customer segments based on extensive consumer research. I further suspect that the consumer research was offered to cross-functional design teams tasked with imagining what a store of the future might look like if built expressly for that consumer segment (thinking beyond existing floorplans and service delivery mechanisms).

I also suspect that McDonald’s prototyped many of the floorplan changes and service modifications (e.g., kiosk ordering) in a variety of test markets and made ample tweaks along the way. Finally, I assume that the flagship store, not only represents an implementation of the Experience of the Future but will continue to function as an iterative learning lab for the brand.

Service Design Keys

Since I am not an expert in environmental design (I will leave that to the architects and interior designers), I will focus on a few keys to outstanding service experience design…so here it goes!

Outstanding service design requires that the design be:

  • Holistically focused on all stakeholders in the service ecosystem (e.g., taking care of customers at the expense of service providers is not sustainable)
  • The by-product of collaboration across an organization
  • Experimental and iterative in nature
  • Built to address interconnected needs across the customer journey
  • Authentic, tangible, and measurable
The Future and You

I suspect that future blogs will expand on topics of experiential design or service experience design, but for now, I am looking forward to visiting McDonald’s flagship Experience of the Future store and continuing to guide my clients to build relevant, engaging, and loyalty building experiences for their core customer segments now and into the future.

If you would like to discuss your experience design opportunities and processes, I would love to set aside time to chat. Simply contact us, and we’ll talk soon.

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post Your Keys to Outstanding Experience Design appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post If Only Someone Had Told Me Sooner! {Infographic} appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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I recently heard an interview with a very successful colleague who I had the good fortune of working with, in a mastermind group as a young speaker/consultant. My colleague was asked what he wished someone had told him earlier in his career?

Realizing I had been there earlier in his career, I wanted to know what I should have said to him to make his success even greater, so I listened to his answer intently. He responded to the inquiry by saying, “I wish I had been told I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and that I needed to constantly seek to improve my core competencies. I would be so much better today.”

Wait…in my opinion this guy was as good as he thought he was...if not better. Surely, his storied career was a testament to how effectively he had honed his core competencies. Then again, what might have been possible if he had been more self-aware and hungrier for knowledge?

While my colleague and I will likely debate his response, I thought the question prompted meaningful reflection. For me, it produced an answer that I believe is at the heart of customer experience success.

From My Aging Perch

While I have come to learn my pearl of wisdom through a long journey as a speaker/consultant/author, I wish I had started my career behaving in accord with the knowledge that success and significance occur when you listen more than you speak.

Of course, someone would also have had to have also told me that listening happens on many levels.

It happens at the word level, where we listen to others to gain an understanding of their wants, needs, desires, preferences, and opinions. It occurs on an emotional level, where we hear the feelings behind words and demonstrate our listening through empathetic connection to the emotional state of another. Listening happens with our eyes, as we observe the actions and nonverbal communication of others.

It even happens through reading, when we receive the thoughts and ideas of others to fuel our growth.

As I look back on my career, I wish I had listened more to client needs before I sought to offer solutions, that I had stopped selling after deals were closed, and I had understood that some of the most powerful ways we can care for one another are simply to be fully present, to comfort in silence, and demonstrate an authentic interest in the person in front of us.

Fruits of Listening

I am glad I listened to the question posed to my friend. It prompted me not only to process that question through my own career journey but to search for lessons others have offered when faced with the same or similar questions. Here are a few of the answers of a number of successful people which  I “heard” through reading.

Author Roy T. Bennett said:

“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” 

and

“Let the improvement of yourself keep you so busy that you have no time to criticize others.”

Musician Phil Collins noted:

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” 

Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein learned:

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

Stanford Professor Tina Seelig who wrote a book titled What I Wish I Knew When I was 20 wrote:

“First, opportunities are abundant. At any place and time you can look around and identify problems that need solving….regardless of the size of the problem, there are usually creative ways to use the resources already at your disposal.” 

and

“Even though it is always difficult to abandon a project, it is much easier in the early stages of a venture, before there is an enormous escalation of committed time and energy.” 


Listening to Others and to YOU

So what is your answer to the question, what do you wish you knew earlier in your life?

Better yet, are you willing to ask the question and listen to the answers of others?

I’d love to “hear” your thoughts about business success and listen for opportunities to serve you. To set-up a safe listening space, please contact us. I look forward to hearing from you!

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

The post If Only Someone Had Told Me Sooner! appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

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