Its Not the Call Centers Fault! Introduction of Customer Journey Mapping


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The importance of customer journey mapping…

Have you ever been called in by your boss as the quarterly statistics are being presented to the Board of Directors, and think that they will be applauding your team’s hard work? Have you ever been slammed by the Board instead of asking questions focused solely on why the customer satisfaction and net promoter scores are so low? This is something that happens fairly often in our line of work, because too often customer journey mapping is not performed.

We know how proficiently our team handles lots of scenarios, but the Board sees the low CSAT and NPS scores and assumes that everyone is doing a terrible job in the call center. They think your associates are not servicing their customers appropriately. We know this is not true, but we aren’t always sure how to explain the scores.

You can tell them that your team stays up to date with their training. Is the Board aware that many of our associates are tenured? Do they know how low our turnover rate is? We can show them documents detailing our key stats and that our service time and handle time are all really good.

Even after hearing the positive notes about our team, the Board says that there is obviously something wrong because we are not servicing our customers as we should be. Our NPS score is low. The CSAT score doesn’t look good, and when looking at the sentiment scores, those aren’t great either. They want to know what we are going to do to combat the problem.

In order to be able to “fix” the problem, we have to start with customer journey mapping. In sales, lots of companies map their customer journey from the first time they see an ad or social media post that piqued their curiosity. Where did the customer search to learn more? Do they go to Facebook or the company’s website? Do they try to find a brick and mortar storefront to explore in a more tactile manner? What is the customer’s process? Mapping this information gives a visual picture of what the customer is doing.

As a service provider, we can do the same thing on our end. We need to find out what the customer is doing. What is really going on in their process? Once we know that, we can expand our methods and find other ways that the customer can interact with our client’s organization. Maybe our problem with the CSAT and NPS scores stems from this area.

There have been potential clients who came to me because their current call center, their outsource partner, was obviously not doing a good job because their CSAT and NPS scores were terrible. I usually agree to look through all their stats. From here I can tell that service levels look good and the efficiency stats look right, so, I do some blind monitoring. Several times, after I’ve completed my research, I have told the potential client that as much as I’d love their money– I am pretty sure the problem is elsewhere in their organization. To find out where that problem is will involve some customer journey mapping.


Customer journey mapping will allow us to see many problems that could occur and make for unhappy customers. For example, let’s say your company sells this particular widget. Every time one of these widgets gets shipped, there are pieces missing when the customer opens their package. Or, maybe there are issues with the packaging being too hard to open without the pieces all going flying. There are a myriad of different things that could go wrong with this widget that will have the customer calling us for help.

When this customer calls the contact center, no matter what we say as customer service professionals, we may not be able to calm them down and solve their problem. They are not happy because the experience that they expected to receive was to buy the product and then go on their way using it as intended. Now, they have to call us and spend time dealing with a problem they cannot control. These are the things that show up on CSAT and NPS scores, much more so than “that rep was rude/super nice on the phone.”

Use customer journey mapping to help with these types of issues. Look at the whole journey your customer goes on with your organization. How are they interacting on the service side? When a phone call is made to a contact center, what does that look like for the customer? Evaluate every step customers take–starting with your IVR. Is it a painful process to listen to 7 options before pressing or saying “five”? That could be a major issue for some people. Is there some process that customers have to follow that no one likes to do? Is your routing tree messing up and cutting people off or leaving them hanging? How is your chat feature? Is chat something that only a handful of associates interact with, so it takes twenty-four or more hours to get a response?

Those aren’t representative issues being thorns in the side of service. They have nothing to do with your live call center reps servicing calls. They have everything to do with culture, policies, and procedures the organization has set up and how they affect the service quality. If we have a client who is having an issue, I will go to them and tell them we have found a bunch of negative keywords coming from their website, for instance. So, then we will drill down to the website and see there is this specific form that is a sales form that is not populating or is slow and is delaying the interaction. We really dig into those things and then we can do some journey mapping and find out if there are other areas that are posing problems that are not the customer rep at the call center’s fault.

As a manager in your call center, if you are seeing that there are some issues with some of your servicing that you cannot put your finger on, sit down and journey map every touchpoint your customer is interacting with. Be proactive. What kind of comments are your reps hearing on calls? What are some areas that are outside of the call center that are causing problems? What are all the touchpoints in your organization? Where can things go wrong? When you find those answers, those are some of the things you can bring to your boss.

It’s better for you to bring this info to your boss (or the head of customer service/customer support in your organization) than to read a report later that says you or the call center are doing a poor job. It’s important to stay on top of this, to have your ears to the ground so that if things are coming up in the calls that customers are getting frustrated on, make sure you are not ignoring that.

That’s just an overall poor business model. The call center also gets beat up and blamed. You need to be proactive with the info that you have. A lot of times, it’s not the call center’s fault: it’s the processes, procedures, policies that the organization has put in place. It’s not good enough to just say that, you have to be able to back it up. Your team has to be able to show what piece of the pie is broken.

Want more call center operations content? Head over to our weekly call center operations podcast “Advice from a Call Center Geek!” at

Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek

Thomas Laird
Founder and CEO of award-winning Expivia Interaction Marketing Group. Expivia is a USA BPO omnichannel contact center located in Pennsylvania. I have 25 years of experience in all facets of contact center operations. I have the honor of being a member of the NICE inContact ICVC Board. The iCVC is a select group of inContact customers selected to join as trusted advisors to help InContact validate ideas for new products and features and plans for future innovations. I am also the author of "Advice from a Call Center Geek" and host of the podcast of the same name.


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