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Customers expect consistent service no matter what interaction or touchpoint they are experiencing. SQM Voice of the Customer (VoC) research shows only 5% of organizations provide world class Customer Experience (CX) and a whopping 42% of customers do not have a One Contact Resolution (OCR) experience when using a contact channel touchpoint to resolve an inquiry or problem. For those non-OCR customers, this results in a huge decrease in customer satisfaction, referrals, and retention. Providing world class CX and creating a consistent CX across all the interactions and touchpoints is a challenge for the majority of organizations. Most executives are aware of the importance of understanding the entire CX for purchasing and using the organization’s products and/or services. However, the emergence of self-service digital contact channels and simultaneous channel usage has heightened the importance of understanding CX in today’s connected customer world. To better understand and improve the entire CX for purchasing and using an organization’s products and/or services in today’s connected world, many executives are turning to CX journey mapping. CX journey mapping best practices focus on the entire end-to-end journey across all the interactions and touchpoints from the customer’s perspective.
The essence of CX journey mapping is to walk in the customer’s shoes as they interact with an organization when using different touchpoints. A best practice for using CX journey mapping to understand CX and customer expectations is to use multiple CX listening posts. CX listening posts are based on conducting VoC survey research and in-depth interviews with customers to understand what they experience for each interaction and touchpoint key Moments of Truth (MoT) and, most importantly, to discover CX improvement opportunities to redesign CX. As shown in the below figure, CX journey mapping best practices use three overlapping listening posts (i.e., interaction perception surveys, touchpoint transaction surveys, and CX journey mapping face-to-face interviews) to have a comprehensive understanding of CX. Perception-based surveys are used to conduct an online or phone survey to understand interaction lifecycle CX. Transaction-based surveys are used to conduct an online or phone survey to understand touchpoint CX. A best practice is to conduct interaction perception surveys and touchpoint transaction surveys prior to conducting CX journey mapping interviews. The CX journey mapping interview is a face-to-face interview which focuses on the interactions and touchpoints a customer experienced.
For CX journey mapping interviews, the minimum sample size is 10 customers, per persona. A persona (e.g., retirees, business people, students) is a group of individuals who are likely to behave in a similar manner from the organization’s point of view. It is common practice for an organization to conduct over 50 in-depth interviews on an annual basis. An effective interviewer should be able to conduct three to five in-depth interviews on a daily basis. The interaction perception survey should have a sample size of at least 400 customers, and the focus of the survey should be on the interaction lifecycle stages (e.g., brand awareness, purchasing, onboarding, servicing, renewing). Having a large customer survey sample size assists in accurately understanding customer needs and CX ratings for the interaction lifecycle stages. It is also helpful to conduct touchpoint transaction surveys. The sample size for each touchpoint should be at least 400 customer surveys. The call center and web self-service are high-frequency touchpoints, and therefore, they are the most useful to survey. Transaction surveys should be conducted within one business day of using a touchpoint. The shortfall in interaction perception and touchpoint transaction surveys is that they are not as in-depth of an interview process for providing detailed CX feedback compared to journey mapping interviews. However, perception and transaction surveys provide a statistically accurate CX measurement. By conducting VoC survey research prior to conducting CX journey mapping interviews, the interviewer has more CX background knowledge for conducting an effective CX journey mapping interview. The bottom line is that the combination of using perception and transaction survey listening posts (e.g., which can provide a large sample size) and the in-depth interview listening post (e.g., which can provide detailed feedback) provides comprehensive and integrated insights for understanding CX.
The below figure shows a common CX journey mapping template being used. The CX journey map is created based on a skilled interviewer asking a customer about their interaction lifecycle stages and touchpoint MoT experiences when they used the organization’s products and/or services. The horizontal axis shows an example of interactions a customer could have with an organization based on their lifecycle stage (e.g., brand awareness, purchasing, onboarding, servicing, renewing). By evaluating lifecycle stages, you gain an understanding of the entire end-to-end CX. For each interaction stage, it is imperative that the organization understands the CX needs, as well as the CX ratings. For each interaction, a customer uses a touchpoint. The vertical axis shows examples of touchpoints (e.g., call center, website, face-to-face). For each touchpoint used in the CX journey, the customer provides MoT experience feedback, emotion experience, and improvement suggestions. Based on customer interviews, the interaction and touchpoint CX are plotted on the journey map. All key MoT experience feedback is captured. MoT experiences that drive positive emotions, negative emotions, and improvement suggestions are identified.
There are many ways to create a CX journey map. The following is a high-level summary of the 10 essential steps we use for creating a CX journey map:
Step 1: Identify customer interactions (e.g., brand awareness through to renewing) lifecycle stages that a customer could potentially experience
Step 2: Identify touchpoints (e.g., marketing, social media, call center, IVR, email, face-to-face) that a customer could potentially experience
Step 3: Identify MoT (e.g., greeting a customer, resolving an issue) for each touchpoint that a customer could potentially experience
Step 4: Identify personas (e.g., retiree, business person, student) for whom you want insights about on their CX interactions with an organization’s touchpoints
Step 5: Understand customer needs and determine CX VoC ratings for each interaction and touchpoint, and mark your known pain points. This step is based on customer survey research
Step 6: Plot customer interaction and touchpoint experiences for each customer
Step 7: Determine interaction and touchpoint MoT and document for the key MoT that each customer experienced. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 8: Determine customer’s emotional experience and document for each interaction and touchpoint MoT. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 9: Determine customer improvement suggestions and document for each interaction and touchpoint MoT. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 10: Use CX journey mapping insights as the foundation for developing an action plan for improving CX
If you are interested in learning more about the CX Journey Mapping Best Practices to improve Csat, increase customer referrals, and retention, please contact SQM.
Mike Desmarais is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SQM Group. Mike received his MBA from Athabasca University in February of 2020. Mike has over 25 years of customer experience (CX) measurement, benchmarking, and consulting. As a consultant, Mike has experience working with leading North American organizations on improving CX. Mike has developed several key best practices that are fundamental to providing world class contact channel customer experiences. He uses his best practice knowledge to assess contact channel operations and to pinpoint the 3-5 pivotal changes that will drive real and significant CX improvement. Mike is a pioneer and visionary in contact channels’ CX measurement of first call resolution, one contact resolution, omni-channel, CX greatness, customer emotion, and retention metrics. Mike has written five thought-provoking contact channel CX research books (i.e., World Class Call Center, First Call Resolution, FCR Best Practices, One Contact Resolution and most recently One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition). Mike has conducted best practice case studies with organizations such as American Express, FedEx, and VSP Vision Care. In addition, Mike is a popular contact center industry thought-leader with over 20,000 LinkedIn followers and is one of the top 10 most influential contributors in the contact center industry based on a recent Fonolo poll. Mike is a sought-after speaker for contact center conferences and has a world class satisfaction rating for speaking at those events.