The Power of Customer Journey Thinking (Infographic)

I hate to break this news to you, but your customers most often interact with your organization because they have to, not because they want to. And when they do connect with you, it’s part of a larger journey that they’re on to achieve something more important than the interaction with you.

That’s why it’s critical for organizations to understand and to design experiences for their customers’ journeys.

A few year ago, we introduced the concept of Customer Journey Thinking (TM). It’s a simple tool for employees across an organization to continuously focus on customers’ journeys. As you can see in the infographic below, it’s all about asking and answering five simple questions.

You can download the infographic in several forms:

Report: Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program

We just published a Temkin Group report, Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program.

Here’s the executive summary:

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs are essential to any customer experience effort. In recent years, VoC efforts have continued to expand and support their organizations; however, going forward they will need to adapt to significant changes in data sources, technology, operational pressures, and consumer behavior. In this report, Temkin Group details how companies can propel their VoC programs into the future by:

  • Identifying Six Customer Insight Trends that will reshape VoC programs: 1) Deep Empathy, Not Stacks of Metrics; 2) Continuous Insights, Not Periodic Studies; 3) Customer Journeys, Not Isolated Interactions; 4) Useful Prescriptions, Not Past Descriptions; 5) Enterprise Intelligence, Not Customer Feedback; and 6) Mobile First, Not Mobile Responsive.
  • Sharing 30 examples that exemplify innovative VoC practices across each of the trends.
  • Helping companies lay the groundwork for VoC innovation with a description of how to drive change through three distinct stages.

For this report, we received submissions of innovative VoC practices from Confirmit, InMoment, Rant & Rave, Qualtrics, Verint, and Walker.

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Here are the best practices described in the report:

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How Comcast Ignored This Customer’s Journey

We recently had an experience with Comcast that shows the importance of Customer Journey Thinking™. I’m not sharing this example to pick on Comcast (although it can be an easy target for bad customer experience given its consistently poor performance in the Temkin Experience Ratings), but instead I want to get across a key lesson for all companies.

We had a problem with our cable box and the Comcast phone agent said that we could bring it to the local Comcast center and get a new one. It’s a good move by Comcast to let people self-repair as much as possible; it keeps costs down and allows customers to accelerate the corrective action.

I wasn’t sure which of the cables that plug into the cable box I needed to bring, so I just grabbed the power cable. We went to Comcast and got the new box. Voila, success!

Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. We got the cable box home and it didn’t work. There were no instructions. It wasn’t until a Comcast repairman showed up in a couple of days that we found out that the problem wasn’t with the box, it was with the remote. We needed to reprogram our remote.

What went wrong? Comcast treated our experience as a set of isolated interactions, instead of viewing our experience as a multi-step journey. We were looking for our TV to work again, and Comcast treated us as if we wanted to get help over the phone and swap a box at the local Comcast shop.

That’s where Customer Journey Thinking (CJM) comes into play. CJM is a way to focus on customers’ journeys when you are creating a new product, service, interaction, or experience. It requires people to always ask (and answer) these five questions:

  1. Who is the customer?
  2. What is the customer’s real goal?
  3. What did the customer do right before? (repeat three times)
  4. What will the customer do right afterwards? (repeat three times)
  5. What will make the customer happy?

Let’s say we were working at Comcast when they were looking at the self-service transaction of swapping a cable box at the Comcast stores. Here’s how a simple use of the CJM might have worked.

The team working on what looked like a modem swap st the Comcast store would have gone through the questions something like this:

  1. Who is the customer?
    • Are we targeting people who regularly swap out cable boxes and programs our remotes, or is our key market people who are much less familiar with our products and processes. We need to keep in mind any steps that might not be obvious or easy to understand for this type of customer (Note: As a best practice, it would be great to name an explicit design persona that we’re focusing on for this process).
  2. What is the customer’s real goal?
    • This customer probably wants to get his/her TV to start working again.
  3. What did the customer do right before? (repeat three times)
    • Unplugged the cable box and cables and drove to the Comcast store.
    • Went online to find the local Comcast store and its operating hours.
    • Spoke to someone at Comcast (or went online) where they found out that they could swap out the box.
  4. What will the customer do right afterwards? (repeat three times)
    • Take the box home.
    • Plug the box in.
    • Try and use the television… oops, they might not know they have to reprogram their remote.
  5. What will make the customer happy?
    • Getting their TV up and running quickly without any frustrations along the way.

If you were part of the team that went through these CJM questions, then you might have realized that the in-store element was only a piece in the overall journey, and that target customers would likely run into problems.

Using that Insight, the team might have identified these types of opportunities to improve the customers’ journey:

  • Have phone agents explain (or send a link to simple instructions about) which cables to bring with you when you swap out the box and explain that you will likely have to reprogram your remote.
  • At the store, provide instructions on reprogramming the remote and explain that it is a natural part of the process.
  • Send an email to customers who swap boxes with a link to instructions (including reprogramming of remote) and a diagnostic app if the box is not working properly.

The bottom line: Companies (not just Comcast) need to obsess about their customers’ journeys.

CX Competency: Customer Connectedness (Video)

Temkin Group has found that the only path to sustainable customer experience differentiation is to build a customer-centric culture. How? By mastering Four Customer Experience Core Competencies.

This video provides an overview of one of those competencies, Customer Connectedness, where the goal is to infuse customer insight across the organization.

Here Are Four Strategies For Customer Connectedness:

Human Beings Are Driven By Their Personal Predictive Analytics

In yesterday’s NY Times, there’s an excellent article, We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment (written by Martin Seligman and John Tierney). It discusses how human beings process information, and the emergence of a new field called prospective psychology. Here’s a very simplified summary of what it says…

Human beings:

  • Are distinctive from other species in our ability to focus on, value, and plan for the future.
  • Store our memories in three different components: what happened, when it happened, and where it happened.
  • Use our mental “downtime” to run many, many simulations about the future by reconfiguring the elements of our memory in different ways.
  • Tap into the results of simulations to make fast decisions by predicting the likely outcomes of different options.

My take: First of all, we pay attention to whatever Seligman says; he’s the father of the Positive Psychology movement (see the post, Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience). This view of human psychology describes that the brain as if it is constantly running a very advanced suite of predictive analytics. Here’s why this is meaningful for CX professionals:

  • Humans’ focus on the future is what gives power to Purposeful Leadership, as it creates the motivation for people to be part of achieving something important in the future alongside other people.
  • Since people selectively reconfigure their memories, we need to design experiences to create specific memories. That’s the cornerstone of what we call “Design for Real People,” which is one of the strategies of the CX competency: Customer Connectedness.
  • The myriad of simulations provide people with an expectation that doing something good for someone else will likely lead to a good emotional outcome, which is what creates empathy.
  • To motivate customers, employees, or leaders, it’s helpful to introduce future scenarios that tap into elements of their previous experiences.

And here’s why prospective psychology is important for everyone: it determines your happiness. Like any predictive model, it needs fine tuning. If your model is always calculating the worst-case outcomes, then you’ll tend to be sad and depressed. On the other hand, if your model is looking for positive scenarios, then you’ll stay happy and motivated. We’ll be following the research to see how people can adjust their personal predictive models.

The bottom line: Pay attention to prospective psychology.

Report: The Shift To Customer Journey Insights

We just published a Temkin Group report, The Shift To Customer Journey Insights. Here’s the executive summary:

Customer insights are critical to customer experience programs. However, current insights’ efforts tend to focus on individual interactions rather than on a customer’s entire journey, and as a result, they often fail to provide a complete picture of a customer’s experience with the company. This report helps companies shift their insights efforts from concentrating narrowly on single transactions to focusing broadly on customers’ journeys.

Here are some highlights :

  • We developed an approach to help companies create a comprehensive view of journeys called Customer Journey Insights (CJI), which is made up of five strategies: Internal Journey Alignment, Journey Data Farming, Journey Performance Tracking, Journey Visualization, and Journey Prioritization.
  • We share 20 examples of best practices from companies that are applying these strategies to develop a more complete understanding of their customers’ journeys.
  • To help companies master these strategies, we have identified three stages organizations proceed through on their path to enabling customer journeys: 1) Customer Journey Orientation, 2) Customer Journey Enablement, and 3) Customer Journey Mastery.

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Here are the best practices focused around five strategies for shifting towards customer journey insights:

  1. Internal Journey Alignment. Shift the company’s mindset away from siloed interaction success to customer goal facilitation.
  2. Journey Data Farming. Tap into adjacent data sources and make linkages across channels.
  3. Journey Performance Tracking. Overhaul metrics to measure performance across customer journeys.
  4. Journey Visualization. Create mechanisms for communicating insights in a way that reinforces the centrality of customer journeys.
  5. Journey Prioritization. Focus on the journeys, customer segments, and channels that are strategic business priorities.

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Report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2017

We just published a Temkin Group report, What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2017. This is our annual analysis of which companies deliver the most and least bad experiences, how consumers respond after those experience (in terms of sharing those experiences and changing their purchase behaviors), and the effect of service recovery (see last year’s report).

Here’s the executive summary:

To understand how good and bad experiences effect customer behavior, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers about their recent interactions with more than 300 companies across 20 industries. We then compared results with similar studies we’ve conducted over the previous six years. Here are some highlights:

  • About 19% of the customers who interacted with Internet service providers and TV service providers reported having a bad experience – a considerably higher percentage than in other industries. Of the companies we evaluated, 21st Century, Spirit Airlines, and HSBC deliver bad experiences most frequently.
  • We looked at the percentage of customers in an industry had a bad experience and combined that number with the percentage of customers who said they decreased their spending after a bad experience and then used this data to create a Sales at Risk Index for all 20 industries. Rental car agencies stand to lose the most revenue (6.7%) from delivering bad experiences, while retailers stand to lose the least (1%).
  • Investment firms are most effective at recovering after a bad experience, whereas TV service providers are the least effective.
  • After customers have a very bad or very good experience with a company, they are more likely to give feedback directly to the company than they are to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or third party rating sites. Customers are also more likely to share positive feedback through online surveys and share negative feedback through emails.
  • Compared to previous years, customers are more likely to share feedback over Facebook and Twitter, and these channels are most popular with consumers who are between 25- and 44-years-old.
  • Of all the companies we evaluated, The Hartford is the most likely to receive negatively biased feedback directly from its customers, while Chubb is likely to receive the most positively biased feedback.

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Here are excerpted versions of 3 (out of 19) graphics in the report:
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Report: The Four Customer Experience Core Competencies (Free)

If you are only going to read only one thing about customer experience, then this report is it. It’s the blueprint for building a customer-centric organization… and it’s free.

We just published a Temkin Group report, The Four CX Core Competencies. This blueprint to building a customer-centric organization is an update to our groundbreaking research that was originally published in 2010 and updated in 2013.

Temkin Group has conducted multiple large-scale studies demonstrating that customer experience (CX) is highly correlated with loyalty across many different industries, in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business environments. When customers have a good experience with a company, they are more likely to repurchase from the company, try its new offerings, and recommend it to others.

While many companies try to improve their CX by making superficial changes, Temkin Group has found that the only path to lasting differentiation and increased loyalty is to build a customer-centric culture. Temkin Group has studied hundreds of companies to uncover the difference between CX leaders and their less successful peers, and has identified four CX competencies that companies must master if they wish to build and sustain CX differentiation:

  1. Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values. (see video)
  2. Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers. (see video)
  3. Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization. (see video)
  4. Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization. (see video)

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This whiteboard video describes the Four CX Core Competencies:

Here’s an infograhic with the best practices described in the report:

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Customer Obsession Lessons From Amazon.com’s Bezos

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos recently sent a letter to shareholders sharing his view on how Amazon would avoid what he calls “Day 2,” because…

Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.  

I’ve shared the full letter below, but want to share my thoughts on Bezos’ four themes he shares for avoiding Day 2:

  1. True Customer Obsession: Obviously this theme completely resonates with me. I love the line… “Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.” My take: Companies need to look for the unchartered white space, and innovate at the intersection between customers’ latent needs and emerging capabilities.
  2. Resist Proxies: Bezos calls out “process” and “surveys” as proxies to watch out for. Process is an issue because it can reinforce compliance and complacency, instead of empowering individuals to drive innovation.  Surveys are an issue, because they can provide employees with a superficial understanding of customers. Deep insights into what people like, love, and dream about aren’t fully answered with percentage points. My take: You need to create deep customer empathy, not just statistically significant charts and metrics. Find ways to include more qualitative research.
  3. Embrace External Trends: Amazon will likely be more adept at grabbing the “tailwinds” of trends than most companies, but it’s critical for all leadership teams to keep an eye on how the world is changing. That’s why we issue our annual listing of CX trends. I was also very intrigued by Bezos’ discussion about easy access to Amazon’s “deep learning frameworks.” An API that taps into Amazon’s rich analytics backbone could be much more exciting than even IBM’s Watson. My take: Every organization should identify a set of key trends and ask the question: “How will these put us out of business or help us to create even more value to customers?”
  4. High-Velocity Decision Making. Bezos discusses three elements of his leadership philosophy. First of all, treat many decisions as reversible, so that you are creating an option — not just putting all your chips on a single approach. Second, is to get comfortable with making decisions without full information. Thirdly, he talks about “disagree and commit” which means that everyone needs to get in line when a decision has been made. Finally, he wants true misalignment to be identified and dealt with immediately. Nothing kills a culture more than lingering, unaddressed issues. My take: It’s smarter to get moving and learn along the way (see my post Modernize Leadership: Learn and Adjust).

The bottom line: Every leadership team should proactively avoid Day 2.

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Report: Humanizing Digital Interactions

We just published a Temkin Group report, Humanizing Digital Interactions.

Emotions play an integral role in how customers make decisions and form judgments. This means that how a customer feels about an interaction with a company has an enormous impact on his or her loyalty to that company. However, companies tend to ignore customer emotions, especially during digital interactions, which is problematic as customers are increasingly interacting with companies online. This report focuses on humanizing digital interactions by replicating the elements of strong human conversations.

Here are some highlights:

  • We developed The Human Conversational Model, which is made up of seven elements – Intent Decoding, Contextual Framing, Empathetic Agility, Supportive Feedback, Basic Manners, Self-Awareness, and Emotional Reflection.
  • We share over 35 examples of best practices from companies that are designing digital experiences across the seven elements of The Human Conversational Model.
  • We demonstrate how you could apply The Human Conversational Model to three types of digital activities: opening a new bank account online, purchasing a pair of shoes through an app, and getting technical support online.

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A gratifying conversation requires two processes:

  • Cooperative Interface. Each participant is required to collaborate with her partner to achieve the shared goal of the conversation – be that casually catching up, gathering information, sharing knowledge, etc. This is the part of the model that a conversational partner sees and responds to, and it consists of five elements: contextual framing, intent decoding, empathetic agility, supportive feedback, and basic manners.
  • Background Mindfulness. This portion of the model is not observable within what would normally be considered the scope of the conservation as it pertains to what happens internally within person. Each participant has a pre-existing notion of who he is as an individual (self-awareness) and throughout the course of the conversation, learns about how he affects other people (emotional reflection). Though not directly observable, “background mindfulness” informs the way in which each participant communicates with his current and future partners.

Here’s an overview of the Human Conversation Model along with best practices we highlight in the report:

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Data Snapshot: Media Use Benchmark, 2017

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Media Use Benchmark, 2017. This is our annual analysis of how much time consumers spend using different media channels (see last year’s data snapshot).

Here’s the data snapshot description:

In January 2017, we surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about their media usage patterns and compared the results to similar data we collected in January 2016, January 2015, January 2014, January 2013, and January 2012. Our analysis examines the amount of time consumers spend every day watching television, browsing the Internet (for both work and leisure), reading books (both print and electronic), reading newspapers (both print and electronic), listening to the radio, reading a print magazine, and using a mobile phone. This data snapshot breaks down the results by income level, education level, and, most expansively, by age.

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Here’s a portion of the first figure from the data snapshot that contains 13 data-rich charts. As you can see:

  • Time spent over the last six years with mobile web/apps has increased the most, followed by using the Internet at work and reading a book online.
  • Across all of the media activities we track except for using the Internet at work, consumers spent more time doing them in 2017 than in 2016.
  • Consumers increased their time reading paper books and magazines by 30% over last year, the largest increase of any activities.
  • While consumers increased their reading of newspapers, they also had a jump of 27% in the amount of time they spent reading the news online.

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Report: 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings (U.S.)

1703_temkinexperienceratingsus_coverTemkin Ratings websiteWe published the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, the seventh annual release of this comprehensive customer experience benchmark. Here’s the executive summary:

2017 is the seventh straight year that we’ve published the Temkin Experience Ratings, a cross-industry, open standard benchmark of customer experience. To generate these Ratings, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate their recent interactions with 331 companies across 20 industries and then evaluated their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion. Here are some highlights from this benchmark:

  • Publix, Chick-fil-A, and H-E-B earned the highest overall ratings, while Health Net, Blue Shield of CA, and Comcast earned the lowest scores.
  • When we compared company ratings with their industry averages, we found that Kaiser Permanente, Georgia Power, Advantage Rent-A-Car, and Regions most outperformed their peers, while Spirit Airlines and Days Inn feel farthest behind their competitors.
  • The Ratings saw its first general decline in 2015 and then dropped considerably in 2016. This year, however, the Ratings significantly increased, with only seven companies’ scores declining. Fujitsu, Volkswagen, Fairfield Inn, Columbia Natural Gas, and Advantage Rent-A-Car improved the most since last year.
  • To improve customer experience, companies need to master four competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

Industry Changes in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings

We used the same methodology for the Temkin Experience Ratings this year that we’ve used for all of the prior years. Every year, the companies in the Temkin Experience Ratings shift a bit, but this year we made some more substantive changes. Specifically, we:

  • Combined TV service and Internet service. While we have historically provided separate ratings for TV service providers and Internet service providers, we decided to combine those categories this year. It turns out that many of the companies are in both categories and many consumers purchase those services as a bundle.
  • Added streaming media. Given the rise of services such as NetFlix and Hulu, we added a new category that focuses on the customer experience of those streaming media companies.
  • Expanded some industries. We enlarged a number of categories to increase the number of relevant companies. We changed the appliance category to TV and appliances to include a larger group of consumer electronics providers. We also included some newer companies into existing categories. We updated rental cars to rental cars & transport so that we could include firms like Uber, and we changed hotels to hotels & rooms to include companies like Airbnb.

Download report for FreeFreeDownloadButton You can also download the dataset in Excel for $395

Have questions? See our FAQs about the Temkin Experience Ratings. We also have snapshots on all 20 industries.

Here’s a recording of a webinar where we discuss the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings:

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Success: How well do experiences meet customers’ needs?
  2. Effort: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotion: How do customers feel about the experiences?

Here are the top and bottom companies in the ratings:1703_2017txrtopbottom

***See how your company can reference these results or
display a badge for top 10% and industry leaders***

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Report: Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction, 2017

1701_ds_techproductsandrelationships_coverWe just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients, 2017.

During Q3 of 2016, we surveyed 800 IT decision-makers from companies with at least $250 million in annual revenues, asking them to rate both the products of and their relationships with 62 different tech vendors. HPE outsourcing, Google, and IBM SPSS earned the top overall scores, while Trend Micro, Infosys, and SunGard received the lowest overall scores. To determine their product rating, we evaluated tech vendors across four product/service criteria: features, quality, flexibility, and ease of use. And we calculated their relationship rating using four different criteria: technical support, support of the account team, cost of ownership, and innovation of company. We also looked at how the average product and relationship scores of tech vendors have changed over the previous three years.

This research has a report (.pdf) and a dataset (excel). The dataset has the details of Product/Service and Relationship satisfaction for the 62 tech vendors as well as for several tech vendors with sample sizes too small to be included in the published report.

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Here’s a link to last year’s study.

The research examines eight areas of satisfaction; four that deal with products & services and four that examine relationships. Tech vendors earned the highest average satisfaction level for product features (64%) and the lowest for total cost of ownership (57%).

As you can see in the chart below, the overall product/service & relationship satisfaction ranges from a high of 76% for HPE outsourcing down to a low of 42% for Trend Micro.

1701_techproductrelationshipoverallresults

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Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017

1701_lessonsincxexcellence_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2016 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has 62 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we named five organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Award – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Century Support Services, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Properties, and VCA. This report highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses, describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. it includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the winners: Read More …

State of Voice of the Customer (Infographic)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a central part of most customer experience efforts. Here’s some interesting data snippets from the recent report, State of VoC Programs, 2016.

For additional info, check out our VoC resource page.

voc-infographic-01

You can download (and print) this infographic in different forms: