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!



Guest Post: We Hold These Truths: Implementing CX Governance

1JFMNQLRE8This guest post comes from Darin Byrne, Senior Director of Professional Services at Wolters Kluwer.

As the summer goes on and the Fourth of July approaches, I’ve found myself thinking once again about the principles that our nation was founded upon. I am reminded that the signing of a document, even one as revered as the Declaration of Independence, was such a decisive point in our history – actually in the history of the world. And I’ve been pondering even more broadly about all of our governing documents, from the Magna Carta to the Constitution: how they came about and how they still affect us today. We agreed amongst ourselves what our goals were, how we would operate as a country, the checks and balances we would put in place to achieve our goals, and then we wrote them down and implemented them, and – even more amazing – we continue to adhere to them today. It really is pretty amazing.

And that, of course, got me thinking about what I do every day. Because, much as we might like it to be true, a bunch of people don’t just show up to work and decide individually what they’re going to do all day—we need guidance in the way of a set of goals and principles. And while a so-called “benevolent dictator” might rule in some companies, the truth is that this is not a sustainable model for a business. In order to achieve your company goals, you have to have guiding principles, an overriding plan, and people to maintain and carry out that plan—that is, governance. Read more

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Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers: Interviews with CX Professionals

Aiming for the Hearts of their CustomersOver the course of this blog I’ve interviewed a number of Customer Experience executives, working every day to improve their experience to increase loyalty. Customer Experience is still an emerging field, and these interviews gave me a great chance to hear others’ perspectives on the field, what it’s doing right, and where we can improve in understanding the customer and acting upon those insights.

I’ve gathered these interviews into a PDF for easy reading, which is attached to this post for you to download and enjoy:

Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers


Interview with DST Health Solutions CXO Lisa Crymes: Creating a Multi-Layered Customer Advisory Board Approach

Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are a terrific way to get consistent customer feedback, and are particularly popular with B2B firms. An effective CAB strategy allows you to stay in tune with what your customers need, and also gives you a forum for bouncing off ideas before they get too far down the road, providing an early warning before investment into a misaligned idea is too high.

One challenge to a CAB is its make-up. Does your CAB include senior leaders or day-to-day contacts? Do you focus on strategic advice or instead measure how you’re doing? DST Health Solutions looks at these options and says “Yes” to all of them, by building a multi-layered approach to CABs. Read more

John Deere Presentation

John Deere – not your father’s tractor company

John Deere PresentationI was interested in seeing Erin Wallace’s presentation at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange, but I had no idea just how cool it would be. Her presentation was titled “Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy,” and showed a very comprehensive approach towards customer experience that we can all learn from.

When I work with clients, I tell them there are 3+2 areas you need to focus on to develop a world-class customer experience program. The first three are an identified leader, as shared vision and governance. Erin nailed all three. She’s obviously the leader of the effort, so didn’t spend a lot of time there. But the strategy and governance were critical.

One difference between John Deere and many companies is their longevity. They’re not just out to win your loyalty today – they want to win your grandchildren’s loyalty. Erin quickly summed up this strategy when she said, “Our goal is to earn customers for generations.” They clearly didn’t just take an Amazon or Zappos strategy and go with it – this is unique to John Deere, and this strategy is critical to their entire program.  Read more


How Wolters Kluwer Financial Services builds a great B2B customer experience – an interview with interim president Pete Koehn

KOEHN_WebsiteImagine a former accountant leading an organization that helps banks manage regulatory compliance.  You might picture a reliance on financial facts and figures making it unlikely for a customer experience program to take root. If so, then you clearly haven’t spent any time with Wolters Kluwer Financial Services.

Pete Koehn is interim president of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Risk, Originations and Compliance business unit. Prior to this position, he served in both finance and operations. But both led him to appreciate the role of engaged customers and employees, and of their dual role in driving results.

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has been growing rapidly, with some of that growth through acquisition. Shortly after Pete stepped into his current role, his Senior Director of Professional Services Darin Byrne approached him about how customer experience practices could help alleviate any customer service disruptions, while paving the way for even greater growth.

His initial response?  “My immediate question was, ‘Is this a real discipline?’

Darin, a CXPA member, assured him it was, sharing maturity models and best practices, and Pete quickly bought in. Since that time, “We’ve used customer experience as a mantra – let’s understand the voice of the customer. With customer experience in mind, we’ve made changes that have really helped us with this overarching idea of getting our business to act as one.”

Three of those key changes they’ve made are in the area of structure, governance, and culture. Read more

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“Customer Experience is all about culture change” – an interview with Mark Smith, VP of CX at GE Capital Fleet Services

Mark Smith 2014How do you create change when you’re the first customer experience (CX) leader at a highly successful business with a history of customer focus?

That’s the challenge Mark Smith faced when he became GE Capital Fleet Services’ first Vice President of Customer Experience a year ago. His response? Focus on the culture, because that’s what will sustain your experience.

Fleet Services’ primary customers are fleet managers who outsource some or all of their fleet management to the company. But they also have a B2C-like relationship with the drivers of those vehicles, who contact the company for everything from password resets to maintaining their vehicles. To build a customer-focused culture, Mark focuses on Listening, Sharing and Collaborating. Read more

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Interview with Laurie Englert – Customer Experience is a Team Sport

Laurie Englert HeadshotA new digital experience can make or break success for a manufacturer.  But what do you do when you discover that many of your customers’ pain points are analog?

That’s the situation that Laurie Englert was in. And the way she answered it was by creating an environment where customer experience is everybody’s job.

Laurie is the VP of Marketing at Milestone AV, a leading manufacturer of audiovisual mounting and display solutions. She is part of the commercial team whose primary customers are the independent dealers and distributors who sell and/or install their products into schools, corporations, hotels, stadiums and basically any other commercial application.

Building a cross-functional customer experience team

Milestone’s customer experience journey began as a web project. Two years ago they began building their digital experience, and Laurie co-created a customer experience team with her VP of IT. Read more

Annette Franz

Journey Mapping: Interview with Annette Franz

Annette FranzAs part of the launch of our new website, I’m interviewing Annette Franz, author of the popular Customer Experience (CX) blog CX Journey. In addition to her blog, Annette and I volunteer together as CX Experts at the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). We’re discussing all things journey mapping.

Jim: So Annette, let’s start.  You’ve written a lot about journey mapping, even naming your blog CX Journey.  So why do you feel that journey mapping is such an important topic?

Annette: One of the main reasons journey mapping is such an important topic is that it really sheds light on the customer experience the way it ought to be shed, from the customer’s perspective. A journey map really brings the customer experience to life, allowing people in the company to really understand what customers are going through, what their interactions are, and to create that empathy that we are talking about so much lately, that’s so important to creating a great customer experience. Read more

Customer Experience Drives 37 Consecutive Quarters of Same-Salon Growth – an Interview with Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the fourth in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. You can see all of the interviews here:


I originally interviewed Rhoda Olsen to learn more about her customer experience efforts in 2011. You can read that interview here. At that point Great Clips had experienced 30 consecutive quarters of same-salon growth. That record has now been extended to 37, and the company has grown to over $1 billion in revenue.

Defining Customer Experience

Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Unlike some franchisors, Great Clips defines their customer as the end consumer, not the franchisee. CEO Rhoda Olsen explains, “We believe that if we don’t stay focused on that customer in the salon, the franchisee will not be successful. We define the customer experience from the time they check into the online app or walk in the door to the time they leave. Everything that happens in the wait time and what happens when they leave is part of the customer experience. The interaction with the stylist is their primary brand driver, but if somebody waited 45 minutes and been treated poorly, the stylist has to dig herself out of a hole.”

Read more