As a CX Consultant at Bodine & Co., Kevin will be challenging our clients to look deeply at their numbers, while also allowing the human element of data be the voice in guiding business transformation. He takes a collaborative approach to empowering organizations to self-realize their opportunities and drives them towards achieving their customer experience goals.
Kevin spent six years with Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm. As senior strategist, he led the design, development, and integration of Mercer’s global marketing technology stack — while delivering a market leading digital collaboration platform for a premier portfolio of multi-national clients.
Kevin holds a master’s degree in industrial & organizational psychology from The Chicago School and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from DePaul University.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that I credit the launch of Net Promoter Score® as one of three pivotal events that paved the way for the customer experience discipline. Its brilliance is in its simplicity: Everyone from customers to top executives understand that willingness to recommend connects directly to an organization’s financial success.
We talked about a wide range of customer experience topics, but my favorite point in the conversation was getting to ask Rob a question that’s been in the back of my mind since I first heard about NPS some dozen plus years ago: Why the 11-point scale? Typical surveys ask customers to provide the feedback on scales that range from 1 to 10, 1 to 7, and (less effectively) from 1 to 5. But 0 to 10? Why?!
Rob’s answer was simple: The data crunchers got statistically better results when they included the zero. One of the mysteries of the CX universe solved!
I was also intrigued when Rob revealed his biggest regret about NPS: that the “S” originally stood for “Score” and not “System.” I wholeheartedly agree. The scores are interesting and helpful, as they allow organizations to track their progress and benchmark themselves against each other. But the scores themselves won’t help any organization actually improve its customer experience. Processes like feedback, learning, improvement, and other components of the Net Promoter System® are essential to CX improvements.
As much as I love NPS, an understanding of customer feedback doesn’t tell you all you need to know about your customers’ experiences. To get the full picture, you also need to understand actual customer behavior.
Enter journey analytics, an approach to insights and measurement that examines customers’ behavior not just at individual touchpoints, but along the paths they take as they attempt to accomplish their goals and tasks. To do this effectively, you’ll need a journey analytics platform to aggregate data across multiple channels — and this data aggregation is incredibly powerful.
For example, rather than looking just at what customers did on your website OR asking how satisfied they were with a call to customer support, you can track those customers who tried to self-serve, then gave up and called a human. Even better, you can find out exactly which pages customers visited — and which of their paths lead to higher or lower satisfaction scores.
Of course, just like NPS, journey analytics isn’t a silver bullet by itself. To find out exactly what’s missing or broken on the website pages that drove your customers to the contact center, you’ll need to summon your usability team to provide some qualitative insights in the form of an expert review or a usability test. Or you could run A/B tests to figure out which of various page design changes will fix the problem. Or, or, or…
The point is this: Don’t get attached to one and only one insights or measurement technique. Use a mix of methods — and a mix of quantitative and qualitative data — to get the richest insights about your customers’ needs and expectations. But ensure that both NPS and journey analytics are part of your customer insights program.
I’m often asked why companies invest in customer experience — and when this whole customer craze started in the first place. The short answer to the why question is that CX drives financial success. Since I’ve already written about that in other posts, today I’ll tackle the second question: When did companies start caring about customer experience?
I credit three events with the rise of our modern customer experience discipline.
Net Promoter Score® arrived on the scene.
Fred Reichheld published The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth on March 2, 2006, and the book’s cover included the words: “Introducing NPS—How leading firms transform ordinary customers into promoters.” While the folks at Bain & Company had surely implemented and vetted the NPS methodology with clients in the years leading up to the book’s launch, 2006 marks the time at which this framework became broadly accessible to organizations around the globe.
Since then, Net Promoter Score has become nearly ubiquitous in marketing and CX circles — and with good reason. NPS was the first framework that directly tied customer experience to business results. And it was dead simple to understand.
Customers understood how to answer the “How likely are you to recommend…” question. Middle management and frontline staff got it, too. Best of all, executives could see how a customer’s experience dealing with their organization would influence their likelihood to recommend — and how that likelihood to recommend could have a direct financial impact in the form of new customers and increased sales.
As NPS gained steam over the next several years, executives started to invest in CX as a means towards achieving financial success.
Social media went mainstream.
While I can pinpoint the launch of NPS to a specific date, the broad adoption of social media spans a murkier timeline. Here are a few of the key events:
Yes, yes, social networks existed long before YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. TripAdvisor launched in 2000, though for some time its social functionality took a backseat to traditional travel guidance. And while Friendster (founded in 2002) paved the way for Myspace, and Myspace (founded in 2003) paved the way for our current social media giants, neither deserve credit in my book for sparking the customer experience discipline.
It was YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook that attracted big crowds and introduced organizations to the power and fury of user-generated content. Remember the Comcast technician who fell asleep on a customer’s couch back in 2006? It was a wakeup call for Comcast and every other big brand. No longer would customers email or pick up the phone when they were irate — they’d tell the world.
Steve Jobs introduced us to smartphones.
The world caught its first glimpses of the iPhone at the January 2007 Macworld convention — and happily stood in line to buy them in June of that year. The launch of the iPhone was instrumental to the customer experience discipline in two ways:
It made photos and videos even easier to create. This, in turn, created more kindling for the social network customer experience conflagration.
It had strict user experience guidelines. This meant that, unlike the web, it was actually difficult for developers to create an app that looked terrible and was difficult to use. All of the sudden, great experiences were literally in the hands of millions, then billions, of people all over the world. Customers’ expectations increased — and not just for their phone experiences, but for every interaction regardless of channel.
So, when did companies start caring about customer experience?
Well, let’s be honest: Some still don’t.
But the confluence of NPS, social media, and the iPhone has me peg the stirrings of interest in CX as a true discipline somewhere around 2006 or 2007. This is when customer experience leaders realized that customer experience could be their differentiator — or their downfall.
The concept of the “journey” has permeated organizations over the past several years. While this might seem like good news to someone like me who champions the journey framework, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend — and it reminds me of one of my favorite movies.
In The Princess Bride, the character Vizzini repeatedly exclaims, “Inconceivable!” in response to situations that are, in fact, quite conceivable — but simply contrary to what he hoped would happen, like a foe not falling to his death. Finally, Inigo Montoya has had enough of Vizzini’s delusion and utters what’s probably my favorite movie line ever: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The same thing is now happening with the word “journeys.” It’s as if by using this word, organizations believe that they are being customer centric. This, too, is a delusion. And Mailchimp is just one of many companies I’ve seen fall victim.
In its blog post Using the Customer Journey to Guide Your Campaigns, Mailchimp explains, “People rarely discover a company or product and make a purchase immediately. Instead, they follow a less linear path that might include reading the website, deciding whether to buy, sleeping on it, and eventually going back to buy. This meandering route is called the customer journey, and it’s different for every person.” So far, so good!
But then the post shifts from a focus on customers’ needs and behaviors to marketers’ needs and behaviors: “When you reach people with the right information at the right time, you can help them make quicker purchasing decisions. This is where Mailchimp’s customer journey comes in. When you click Create Campaign and choose the Explore option, you’ll see all of our most powerful campaigns organized by marketing goals.” Wait, what just happened?
The rest of the post is dedicated to what Mailchimp describes as “5 sections in the customer journey,” which the company lists as:
Build your brand
Connect with new contacts
Sell more stuff
Bring people back
In case the title of this post isn’t self-explanatory, let me be perfectly clear: These five goals DO NOT in any way shape or form constitute a customer journey. At best, one could argue that they’re an approximation of an employee journey. But if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, these are straight up marketing goals — and an outdated way to look at customer interactions.
As Mailchimp pointed out, customers do have goals and journeys that are related to marketing. Customers need to learn about products/services that will help them achieve some goal or accomplish a task, and they need to decide which products/services to buy. In fact, I see a huge opportunity for marketers to be more customer-centric with their email and content marketing programs.
So, I was excited when I first heard that Mailchimp was organizing its platform around customer journeys. But the organization missed the mark — and in the process, muddied the water around this term and exposed its inside-out view of the marketing discipline.
Please use this as a cautionary tale. DO encourage your organization to adopt a journey framework. But DON’T confuse customer journeys with your internal workflows.
I’m thrilled to announce the addition of Jade to the Bodine & Co. team.
As our project manager, she’s working both with clients and behind the scenes to streamline our processes and communications — and, of course, create effective, easy, and enjoyable client experiences across all of our speaking and consulting engagements.
Previously, Jade spent seven years at Cydcor, a global leader in outsourced sales and marketing, as a business process analyst and IT project manager. She quickly became an expert in identifying and streamlining workflows, improving efficiencies and solving complex business problems with systems integrations. She managed multiple projects that implemented these process improvements — and, as a result, increased revenue and reduced field related expenses.
Jade’s passion for delighting customers dates back to her high school years, when she worked at Blockbuster Video. She was famous for her customer service and would often have a line of customers waiting to talk with her, even when other employees were available.
Jade holds an MBA in IT project management from Cal Lutheran University. She also received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from California State University, Northridge.
Day 1 mirrors that of our signature journey mapping bootcamp to help you build a strong foundation in the concepts and methods of journey mapping.
Day 2 draws on the facilitation training we provide to clients during our journey map development engagements, enabling you to extend your journey mapping practice to facilitate research and co-creation sessions with your colleagues and customers.
Learn more about what’s in store — and then save your spot to join us in May. We’ve only got a few seats left!
The emerging role of the journey manager represents one of the most important developments since the creation of the Chief Customer Officer, yet many in the customer experience field have yet to encounter a journey manager within their organizations—or to develop a working knowledge of their typical job responsibilities and challenges. That’s not surprising: Compared to the 1.6 million product managers that you’ll find today on LinkedIn, journey managers number fewer than 2,000. However, this figure represents nearly 65% year-over-year growth—and I believe that’s just the beginning.
At Kerry Bodine & Co., we’ve been curious about the types of companies who are on the cutting edge of implementing this nascent role. So back in March 2018, we embarked on the task of scouring more than 400 randomly selected LinkedIn profiles of people who currently held a journey manager position. Here’s what we found.
We started by looking at geographical distribution. Accounting for 39% of the LinkedIn members in our study, England was the clear leader in early execution of the journey manager role. Scotland took a distant second place with 7%. Add in a few journey managers form each of Northern Ireland and Wales, and nearly half of those in our study (48%) hailed from the United Kingdom. Next on the list were Belgium and the United States—ahem, a country with a population nearly 29 times of that of Belgium—which both accounted for 6% of our journey managers.
Not surprisingly given the UK data, European organizations employed the vast majority (77%) of the journey managers in our study. However, we did find at least a handful of journey managers on each of six continents. (No journey managers in Antarctica… yet!)
We also looked at the industry category listed for each journey manager’s current company on LinkedIn. Banking and other financial services firms accounted for over a third of those in our study—followed by the telecommunications, computer software, and utilities industries, which each accounted for more than 5% of journey managers. Not surprisingly, the majority of the companies we examined were service-based. However, we did find journey managers in product-focused industries, including apparel & fashion, building materials, chemicals, cosmetics, food & beverages, luxury goods and jewelry, and packaging & containers.
The hiring organizations read like a Who’s Who of some of the world’s biggest and most respected brands, like Aviva, Barclays, BBVA, British Gas, Fiat Chrysler, Greenpeace, HSBC, John Lewis, Latam Airlines, Nestle, Qantas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Virgin Media, and Vodafone.
In our journey mapping bootcamps, we’re often asked whether there’s anything that organizations need to think about or do differently when creating business-to-business (B2B) journey maps. While the overall process for creating these maps is the same, there are two key differences.
Difference #1: B2B personas align with job functions.
Every journey map needs to clearly define whose story is being told. Just as with business-to-consumer (B2C) maps, that “who” is a person. With B2B maps, that someone works within an organization that’s doing business with you — and so they tend to be defined in terms of their job function or role: head of marketing, procurement specialist, system administrator, etc.
However, you may find that you need to have multiple personas (and therefore multiple maps) for each job function. These personas should account for differences in:
Knowledge, preferences, and attitudes. For example, a seasoned professional who knows their own company’s processes inside and out and prefers phone conversations might have a very different experience than a new employee who needs to look up information/processes and prefers digital channels.
Size or type of organization that they work for. The head of marketing for a small software company likely has different needs and constraints than those of a CMO at a Fortune 100 company.
Tenure as your client. A customer that’s worked with your company before will likely understand a bit about how you operate, have contacts within your organization to reach out to if things go awry, or possess other knowledge that new customers lack.
Keep in mind that whoever’s looking at your maps needs to be able to empathize with your personas, so push yourself to describe them in terms that go beyond the mechanics of their jobs. Defining customer characteristics such as comfort with technology, attitudes towards their work, and underlying motivations will help bring your B2B personas to life and generate more empathy.
B2B journey maps frequently depict not only the interactions the persona is having with your organization, but also the internal interactions within their own organization. This might include activities like getting advice from colleagues (or other information sources), working with their own procurement department, or getting buy-in from an executive sponsor. This leads to two different possibilities for your maps:
If an actor within your client’s organization makes just a brief and uncomplicated appearance — like the CFO approving a contract — that actor (and the corresponding interaction) can be represented in a single step in your persona’s journey. “Alice gets contract approval from the CFO.”
If an actor has a more involved role — say the CFO typically gets in touch with your organization for more information before approving the contract — you may also want to include an additional “journey line” to show the actions/experiences of that role. In this case, your map may look something like the image above, with differently colored lines representing the experiences of different personas. This type of representation obviously makes your maps more complex, but it has the benefit of showing how multiple customer roles interact with each other internally and with your organization to accomplish a goal.
Have you found other key differences between B2C and B2B journey maps? If so, please share them below.
It’s the beginning of a new year, which is always the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past and make grand plans for the future. (And just in case you’re wondering, that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Kerry Bodine & Co.) As part of that effort, I recently took a look back at our most popular posts of 2018 — and I wanted to share them with you here. I hope they inspire your work for 2019 and beyond!
So without further ado, let’s begin the countdown…
Number 10: The Customer Journey DOES NOT EQUAL The Customer Lifecycle
A customer journey is related to, but is not the same thing as, a customer lifecycle. The two main differences: 1) Customer journeys align with your customers’ goals or tasks — lifecycles don’t. After all, no prospective customer wakes up and decides they want to develop “awareness” of your company. 2) Customer journeys have a defined beginning and an end — lifecycles, as indicated by their circular representations, don’t. Read this post to understand why you need to set lifecycle diagrams aside when journey mapping.
Number 9: How To Map All The Variations In Your Customers’ Journeys
The title of this post is actually a trick. If you tried to map each and every variation of customer interactions, you’d start by plotting one action (like seeing an ad). That would branch out to any number of next actions (like visiting a website or going into a retail store), and each of those actions would, in turn, branch out again, and again, and again… The result is what I like to call a Crazy Tree Branching Diagram — NOT a journey map that tells a cohesive story. This post helps you prioritize the most important variations to include in your maps.
Journey maps have become one of the most popular tools for understanding and improving customer experiences. But why are journey maps so popular? And why should you invest in developing them? This post outlines the reasons that the underlying framework of the journey is mission critical for your organization.
Number 7:Why You Need To Measure Journeys—Not Just Touchpoints
It’s taken some time for organizations to evolve from simply creating journey maps to actively using the journey as a framework for how they do business. Journey analytics is one step in the right direction. What is journey analytics? It’s the measurement and analysis of key customer journeys—not just individual touchpoints. The data I cite in this post will help you make the case for realigning your organization’s measurement strategy around journeys.
Number 6: Do Customer Journeys Drive Your Content Strategy?
I often get questions about the different ways organizations can use journey maps. This post provides inspiration of how to take a journey-centric approach to your content strategy by showcasing an example from The Exploratorium, a science museum based in my hometown of San Francisco.
Number 5:The 9 Stages Of The Archetypal Customer Journey
Every single possible customer interaction fits neatly into one of nine stages, which collectively make up what we here at Kerry Bodine & Co. call the Archetypal Customer Journey. This post will help you understand these stages—and think about which ones you want to focus on for your own journey mapping initiatives.
Over the past several years, we’ve refined our approach to journey mapping. We started out with 10 steps, then realized that there were benefits in simplifying our model. So we’ve folded those 10 steps into the five you’ll find in this post. Consider this your high-level roadmap for developing journey maps and using them to drive action.
Number 3: The Always Up-To-Date Guide To CX Events
The only non-journey post on our top 10 list, this post has been so popular over the past several years that we’ve permanently redirected it to a dynamic event listing. It’s not much to look at now — but keep your eye on this page in the upcoming months, as we’ve got some major upgrades in store. And be sure to sign up for our dedicated event newsletter to stay abreast of the CX events you can’t miss!
I wrote this post back in 2014, yet it remains one of our top blogs post year after year. Read this post to understand (yup, you guessed it) the 4 types of journey maps and which business objectives each type is best suited to help your organization accomplish.
Number 1: How To Use Our FREE Journey Mapping Template
The number one page on our site gives you access to our free journey mapping template. So it’s no big surprise that our post on how to use said template is also our top blog post of 2018. Read this post to get the most out of modifying our template for your own journey mapping efforts.
What do you want us to write about in 2019? Let us know below!
May 15 & 16 in Chicago: Our newest workshop on journey mapping and facilitation, which will prepare you to run successful customer research sessions
Register early and save!
With our Early Bird discount, you’ll save $100 on our regular registration rates.
TODAY ONLY, save more!
In the spirit of Cyber Monday, we’re offering an additional $150 discount today. Yup, that’s $250 in savings! This discount expires at midnight tonight Pacific time, and won’t be repeated prior to any of our 2019 workshops.
Want to save even more?!
Bring a colleague to save an additional $100 on each registration.
Take advantage of this ridiculous deal (and your remaining 2018 budget) by using the code “CyberMonday” when you check out.