Eight Ways to Build Customer Empathy

workplace-1245776_640Customer empathy is absolutely critical to a company-focused culture. Without empathy, employees focus on their own problems, rather than your customers’. They build overly-complex products based on what they want to buy, rather than starting with customer needs. And they certainly don’t understand the emotional context of your customers.

Both Forrester and the Temkin Group have begun focusing much more on the emotional elements of an experience, which is spot-on. Emotions are the greatest driver of loyalty – and of disloyalty.  And you can’t solve them without empathy.

Here are eight ways to help build empathy in your company. Add your own in the comments! Read more


Q&A with Customer Journey Management Experts

microphone-367581_640In preparation for a series of classes on journey mapping I helped lead through the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), they interviewed a few of us on best practices in journey mapping. The other participants included a few of our partners: Stacy Bolger, Senior Strategic Consulting Director, MaritzCX; Valerie Peck, President/CEO, East Bay Services Group, SuiteCX; and Peter Haid, Director, Touchpoint Dashboard.

It’s a good overview of journey mapping best practices, bringing in a variety of opinions. Enjoy!



In B2B Relationships, Being a Trusted Advisor Matters

handshake-440959_640There’s nothing more powerful than a trusted advisor. Each of us has our go-to people we call for advice. While a trusted advisor could be a mentor or a past or current co-worker, valued suppliers can also become trusted advisors.

This relationship doesn’t come easy, often taking years to develop the trust needed to play this role. But once you have that relationship, it pays off in multiple ways.

You hear about problems first. You bring your trusted advisor your most challenging problems – even if they’re not directly solved by his or her company’s products. When we studied a B2B software purchasing process, we found that many prospective clients contacted their existing vendors first – even though those vendors didn’t offer this type of software. They knew their trusted advisors were informed about the landscape and could provide direction. Read more


The CXPA and Heart of the Customer want your feedback (Last Chance!)

tag-433302_640Have you created journey maps? The Customer Experience Professionals Association and Heart of the Customer want to learn more about your experience! The survey is closing soon, so make sure to get your response in before it does!

Whether you created the journey map for your own company or another, we’d love it if you would tell us about it in this survey: http://bit.ly/2beOkXa. All survey participants will receive the full results, so you can learn about the state of the art in journey mapping.

We look forward to your participation!


Just because your customers say it isn’t important doesn’t make it so

photo-1414919823178-e9d9d0afd0acThe intangibles matter. Don’t let bad research ruin your customer experience.

Bad research can wreak havoc with your customer experience. It can lead you to ignore a critical moment of truth while working on something with less impact.

In one journey map project, we were hired to extend a Big Research Company’s research. They had created an (ugly) journey map, and we were asked to replicate the findings in a local market. Which meant we had to use their methodology.

The way they conducted the research (and still conduct research today – this terrible method is rampant in journey mapping) was to ask customers to rate the importance and satisfaction of each touch point. The touch points with a significant difference between importance and satisfaction were “moments of truth.”

What a terrible idea. First, moments of truth are interactions with disproportionate impact on ongoing loyalty. You can’t discover them with this method. Most companies aren’t terrible at moments of truth – they just aren’t as good as they need to be. In addition, moments of truth aren’t always identified as important. It’s not whether they’re that important at that point – it’s whether they have long-term impact. Nearly every moment of truth we have discovered would not be identified using this method.

But just as important is the mistake of asking customers to rate the importance of steps in the journey. Read more

Your Moment of Truth

Meridian_JourneyMaps_NatalieIn every customer journey, some interactions matter more than others. There are certain moments that cause customers to leave you, some that potentially lead to stronger engagement, and some that cause a customer to be much more expensive to serve.

We call these key interactions a “Moment of Truth,” and it is one of the most important findings of customer experience research, including journey mapping. Because these moments have a disproportionate impact on long-term loyalty, you need to make them a focus of your attention.

The term Moment of Truth has been used in different ways. We trace our usage back to P&G’s work. They described product packaging as being the first moment of truth – that is, the packaging often determines whether a customer decides to purchase or not.

Moments of Truth vary between customer segments. We’ve found that Moments of Truth are disproportionately found in three stages of the journey:

* The beginning

* The end

* When hand-offs occur between silos

If the beginning goes badly, it may also be the end. In P&G’s case, a bad package could mean the customer never buys. But the end of the journey has equal, if not greater, importance. As Daniel Kahneman discovered in his Nobel Prize-winning research, the ending is one of the key determinants to how we remember the journey. This can then have a very strong impact on whether we’re willing to use this company for future journeys. The third occasion likely to see a Moment of Truth is during a hand-off, which may be rife with frustrating problems for the customer. Read more


Four steps to build an improved B2C customer experience

shopping-cart-1275480_640Serving consumers is different than serving businesses.  It’s not harder or easier – just different.  I’ve seen real challenges in the past when leaders move from B2B to B2C (or vice-versa). Here are four steps to help you get started creating a better B2C customer experience.

1. Know your customer experience (CX) goal.

I was talking with a CX leader, and asked about her customer experience vision. She responded, “We want to be the simplest, and the most flexible. Oh, and we need to keep costs low.”

That’s a pretty hard combination to hit. In fact, I’d argue it’s pretty impossible to hit all three.

Your goal should flow from your vision. Are you trying to be the easiest company to work with, the one with the closest relationships, the most flexible?  Understanding your company’s goals is the first step to creating your approach. If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what steps to take next.  Read more


CX is team sport. Is your whole team playing?

199073871_f559db9436_bYou wouldn’t play soccer without your forwards. You’d never try basketball without guards. So why do so many teams try to win at CX with only a partial team?

At HoC we’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with all kinds of companies: non-profits, retailers, insurance companies, you name it. The one consistency is a tendency to under-invite teams critical to success.

Three specific groups are often left out – IT, HR and those who “don’t get it.”

Let’s start with IT.  I get it. As a former IT leader, I can say we’re not always the most fun to partner with. We can get defensive, or we start “solutioning” before we’ve heard from customers. Read more


Journey Mapping Design – the 5 Design Principles that will enable your journey map to drive change

Kris LaFavor is the founder of DesignAhead.  In addition, Kris is Heart of the Customer’s go-to designer for all of our journey maps (she also designed our website, so we’re big fans!).  In this post, Kris lays out her guidelines to make sure our maps have that visual impact that is so critical to driving customer-focused change.

  1. Think like the customer.

Before you start designing your map, you have to approach the design process from the point of view of the customer whose journey you’re mapping. To do this, you have to understand the research your map will be based on. This research is your window into the customer’s thoughts and emotions, so dig deep and ask a lot of questions to understand the premise and goals of the research before you begin your design process. Read more

Updated Journey Maps

The best (and worst) uses of journey mapping workshops

ccexpo_0581We often get calls from organizations who want to hold a journey mapping workshop, but have no time or budget for research.

Our willingness varies depending on what the client is looking to accomplish. There are times when a workshop is absolutely the best journey mapping methodology – and times when it’s a train wreck. Let’s start with the best ways.

#1 As a way to internalize research results

We frequently end our research projects with mapping workshops. After sharing the research results, we have participants map out the customer journey, using the voice of the customer as their guide. Read more