#CXPA13 Day One Live Blog: Carol Buehrens, ICW Group, Customer Journey Mapping


Share on LinkedIn

The Customer Experience Professionals Association annual Member Insight Exchange kicks off this morning in San Diego, CA, at the Hotel del Coronado.

The next session I’ll be sharing is one that I’m moderating for Carol Buehrens of ICW Group. She’ll be sharing best practices from her experience mapping the journey for ICW Group’s customers. ICW Group is an insurance company that sells through individual brokers. The brokers are their customers.

Customer Journey Maps: The Pathway to Exceptional Customer Experiences

Customers are experiencing your company through people, processes, etc. Customers interact with various departments in the organization, but your departments don’t know who your customers are. Suffice it to say that your departments and your experiences are silo’d. How do we overcome that?

Customers have experiences with your company, but do you know who they are? That’s where customer journey mapping comes in.

Journey maps help you capture the customer experience from the strategic viewpoint at a variety of touchpoints. They help you identify touchpoints and find opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, they allow you to map your customers’ emotions, too.

Journey maps are comprised of phases, and each phase is comprised of a bunch of touchpoints: mail, support line, whitepapers, account manager conversations, etc.

Emotions are the foundations for experiences.”

When creating a journey map, start with a strawman version of the map, but you know there is a lot more going on under the water! To help you create your high-level journey map, Carol provided a template and an interview guide in her handouts/workbook. The interview guide has 15 questions to help get the conversation started.

Customer journey mapping traps:

  • Wear the customer hat! The journey map is developed from the customer viewpoint.
  • Watch out for the sharp barbs, e.g., “dumb customers.” Great opportunity for associates to learn to wear the customer hat.
  • Do not put internal process flows on your customer journey map. There can be a separate map, a process map. The focus on the customer journey map is on the customer.

Insights from ICW Group’s customer journey mapping exercise:

  • New agents are most expensive; they’re hands-off and not really doing anything yet.
  • New agents spent 35 hours of effort for one customer, which involved communications, building relationships, and training

Why customer journey mapping:

  • They expose experiences and issues in a visual format.

ICW Group’s goals with this effort:

  • Keep the magical star stuff – they examined what their stars were doing: their communications, their voice, their ideas.
  • They wanted consistent messages throughout the journey, to help avoid the confusion agents reported.
  • They knew, from looking at “stars,” that this process could be streamlined and much more efficient. They wanted to shave the process down by half.
  • The information they supplied agents needed to be concise and helpful. It needed to add value to the process.
  • That means they needed to develop supporting materials: training guides, brochures, flyers, and other collateral.
  • And, the entire process needed to be clearly branded, so that it was memorable and stood out against their competition.

Their results:

  • Journey mapping provided a strategic view of what their customers were experiencing.
  • It helped them identify weaknesses, long processes, and gaps in their service.
  • It brought several groups together in order to work on improving their customer’s experiences.

Which means:

  • They were able to provide a fun, creative solution (e-cards) that everyone enjoys.
  • The big news – they reduced their own internal efforts from 35 hours down to 5 hours!

And enjoyed a savings of $2,250,000!

Lessons learned:

  • Find what Journey Mapping technique works for you at your company.
  • Use the CX Toolkit that Carol provided.
  • Customize your own toolkit.
  • Always stay focused on your customer, and look for opportunities to provide your customers the WOW factor.
  • Remember to identify your customers emotions, motivations, and expectations.
  • Keep plugging away!

Sage advice. Thanks, Carol!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here