Category Archives: CX Journeys

Five Steps to YES with Journey Maps

If you’re like most of us, before you can start work innovating customer’s experiences, you need the proper buy-in to get initiatives off the ground.

Download the Free E-Book “High-Level Journey Maps & Five Steps to YES” with templates, by Carol Buehrens

Since customer experience is part of business strategy, many innovation projects impact the way your company conducts business. This means you’ll not only need managerial buy-in; you’ll need the executive votes to proceed.

High-Level Journey Maps

The good news is that High-Level Journey Maps can be the tool you need to help communicate and get those approvals!

Creating these “bird’s-eye view” maps allow you to break through the clutter and confusion by conceptualizing each interaction and its relation to the entire journey. All in one snapshot.

Get the right votes

In the EBook “High-Level Journey Maps & Five Steps to YES”, you’ll learn how these simplified maps can help you communicate your Customer Experience intentions in a way that will get you the YES votes you need, and how to involve  others in your company in order to influence the outcome in a positive way.

Free E-Book

Download your free E-Book “High-Level Journey Maps & Five Steps to YES” to help jump-start your Customer Experience Action Plans!

Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!

In my book, Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!, “Chapter 3. R =  Reality Check” focuses on how you can use journey mapping to identify all of your customer’s touchpoints.  In “Chapter 5. V = Vote to Change”, you’re provided several strategies and ideas for getting the votes you need to make a change.  In “Chapter 6. I = Innovate in Unexpected Ways”, you’ll learn how to use journey mapping to go beyond your competition and create memorable experiences of differentiation.

Buy it now on Amazon
RavingCX readers SAVE 10% at– enter discount code: CG83XLJ6


UX & CX – Understanding the Journey

Why is it important for User Experience (UX) professionals to understand the “Customer Experience Journey”?

Because it helps their UX vision!

JM-helps-ux-visionUX involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular service or product. In CX terms, we call that “experiencing a touchpoint”. It only stands to reason that the UX professional can and will improve their products when they understand where their project fits and what their “user” expects.

UX, while being a different discipline than CX (see examples in chart below), greatly benefits from knowing this critical view: the customer and the customer lifecycle.  CX teams should form a close partnership with UX teams, in order to provide this customer insight and to help innovate touchpoints.


After all, the experience provided by your UX team is part of the continuum that creates the overall customer experience! Most likely, during your customers’ lifecycle (as shown below), your customer will continually interact with the very systems and processes that were designed with the help of your UX team — Web sites, POS systems, mobile apps, documentation, and other interfaces.


Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!

In my book, Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!, “Chapter 3. R =  Reality Check” focuses on how you can identify the journeys your customers take with your company, in order to deliver experiences that are important to them.

Buy it now on Amazon
RavingCX readers SAVE 10% at– enter discount code: CG83XLJ6


Seven Important Steps to Customer Journeys

Do you know what your customers are doing?

Download the Free E-Book “Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshop Toolkit” by Carol Buehrens

You want to improve your customer’s experiences? Great! Now, where should you begin? Well, before you get started, you may want to take a step back and assess what your customers are already experiencing today.

Do you know every encounter your customers are having with your company, including what they read, hear, and see, through interfaces and correspondences?

Your customers interact with your organization via a variety of different channels, including websites, event sites, microsites, landing pages, emails, applications, intranets, extranets, portals, blogs, marketing campaigns, online references, print materials, press releases, (take a deep breathe now because the list goes on), automated replies, customer support messages, videos, webinars, social media, storefronts, face-to-face, automated voice response systems, mobile apps, and more. Whew!

Taking a good old “reality check” as your first step will help you establish what’s happening today and where you need to go tomorrow. This foundational groundwork  will bring to light the good, the bad, and the ugly – great moments, interactions that need help, and outright gaps in your services.

Some ideas to help you get started in understanding these experiences:

  1. Collect a high-level internal view. Gather information from your internal teams, touchpoint owners and service stakeholders. Find out what they think the customer experience journey is comprised of.
  2. Put together an initial high-level map. Communicate this map to the involved teams, in order to reach a consensus and to establish the beginning of your project.
  3. Drill down to the details of each touchpoint.  Ask front-line employees and (if you can) customers! Look for service gaps, inconsistencies, frustrations,  and other red flags. The Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshop Toolkit ” templates are perfect for this.
  4. Host a journey workshop. Get everyone in the same room and show your touchpoint findings. Learn more — you’ll be amazed at what might surface. Break down the silos!
  5. Put the final “Current state” together. Use Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshop Toolkit templates to detail each touchpoint and string them together to form the journey. Tape it on the wall for all to see and discuss. Remember, your customer’s experience isn’t about a single touchpoint – it’s about the journey.happy-raving-customers-journey-string
  6. Now, innovate! Let everyone know that there are no boundaries — how would they improve customer’s experiences if they could wave a magic wand? How would they delight and surprise?
  7. Create a “new” journey. Using the same techniques as before, what might the journey look like in the future? You may need to bring in a touch of reality, but once you have this new vision, you can begin to figure how how to get there. Now – take action!

Free E-Book

Download your free E-Book “Customer Experience Journey Mapping Workshop Toolkit” to help jumpstart your Customer Experience Action Plans!

Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!

In my new book, Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!, “Chapter 3. R =  Reality Check” focuses on how you can use journey mapping to identify all of your customer’s touchpoints.  In “Chapter 6. I = Innovate in Unexpected Ways” you’ll learn how to use journey mapping to go beyond your competition and create memorable experiences of differentiation.

Buy it now on Amazon

Images created by Carol Buehrens

Are Your ‘WOW Factors’ Impressing Customers or Holding You Back?

Carol Buehrens RavingCX What was WOW once may hold you back

It’s amazing how fast everything moves in this day and age. 2015 will be no different. In fact, it promises to be the most exhilarated year for customer experience.

The same holds true for our customers. Customers are, quite literally, raising their expectations and pushing the bar higher daily. What was once considered WOW last year may now be ordinary, mere table-stakes to stay in the game. In fact, your previously differentiated experiences might even be holding your company back today.

What was WOW once…

A close friend of mine recalls this story about traveling for business and how the WOW factor can quickly change. A few years ago, she would go out of her way to stay at certain hotels that offered a “business office”. This was the WOW factor for her; a small room by the main hotel office that provided a few desktop computers and a low-end printer. These early offerings were available during certain “open hours”, you had to leave your room to access the computers, and typically the Internet availability was restricted. If you needed to complete an important presentation for a meeting the next day, you’d be force to trample downstairs in your bunny slippers and robe, hoping that the business office was opened, or at the very least, that a computer was available.

Skip forward a couple of years and this same WOW offering became a table-stake for hotels. If they didn’t offer it, they literally lost the business traveler trade. In other words, it was no longer a WOW, customers raised it to an expectation.

Jump ahead another year and the WOW factor became in-room Internet connections, usually with a room fee. Of course, you had to be in your room to enjoy it. That’s certainly not a WOW anymore. In fact, most of us probably expect the hotel we’re staying in to have internet Wi-Fi technology, accessible throughout all areas of every room, including meeting hotel rooms, restaurants, and of course, poolside.

Today, if your hotel only offers a business office and no Wi-Fi capability, you’re out of the business traveler game. What was once the WOW is now holding you back.

Stay on top of the WOW

Don’t settle in and think that your WOW experience is going to continue to satisfy customers for years to come or even in the short term. To truly differentiate, you must stay in front of your customer’s expectations!

Image provided with permission by Microsoft

Four Steps to Making the Customer Romance Last

What if you could create journeys for your customers that made them feel special at the beginning, middle and end, throughout their entire journey with your company? Wouldn’t your customers be raving about you?

ravingcx-a-roseIt seems that you would want to relentlessly pursue ideas to help your customers feel “special.”

Interestingly, the average company spends a lot of money doing just this — right before customers actually become consumers. In fact, if you examine the entire customer lifecycle, a disproportionate amount of the budget is spent romancing and luring new prospects into becoming new customers. Most companies make sure that this is a delightful time, one that’s full of glossy brochures, razzle-dazzle and alluring promises.

It’s like a first date with your customers, complete with roses and fine dining. It’s all about making them feel special so that they are “bought-in emotionally”, and they make the buy!

The problem is, once the purchase is made, clients become ordinary customers.

After they sign on the dotted line, there’s an invisible hand-off from marketing to operations and support. Here’s the kicker for your customers – the level of experiences that these functions provide are radically different. One day, everything is flowers and champagne. The next, the hard reality sets in and all the thrills are gone. Sadly, they are now “just another customer“.

Take the extra step to keep the romance alive

In raving customer experience terms, the marketing and sales period is only a tiny fraction, in fact the smallest part, of the overall romance your customer should have with your company! Instead — Imagine giving each touchpoint of your customer’s journey the same attention that’s given to seducing new customers! Here’s a few steps to get you started.

Step 1 – Take a reality check. Map the journeys your customer are currently experiencing. Get these maps in front of everyone, and have them look for gaps in your services and disjointed interactions — the best and the worst of your brand value.

Step 2. Talk to customers. Try to understand how they “feel”. Identify the peaks and the valleys of their emotional experiences. Find the truly enjoyable moments at which happiness runs high, and the low times when frustration, discontent or disengagement takes over. The high points are direct clues as to what your customers like and enjoy. You’ll want to reuse this “magic”. The low points are your opportunities for improvement.

Step 3 – Involve your marketing and creative teams. Get them in a room for a brainstorming session. What are the tricks they use to continually engage and motivate “prospects”? Have them look for ways to use the same techniques and strategies to seduce your customers, even after they’ve signed the dotted line.

Step 4 – Take action. Integrate the ideas into the journey. Take the opportunities you identified and add the WOW factor. Or, look for lifecycle lag moments and jump in to surprise and delight — it’s always better when a “gift” is least expected!

These are just a few ways that you can improve the “marriage relationship” you have with your customers!

Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!

In my new book, Happy R.A.V.I.N.G. Customers!, “Chapter 6. I =  Innovate in Unexpected Ways” focuses on how you can exceed your customer’s expectations and develop loyal, raving customers.

Buy it now on Amazon
RavingCX readers SAVE 10% at– enter discount code: CG83XLJ6

Image provided with permission by Microsoft

Hold on to Your Hat – It’s High-Speed Journey Mapping!

carol_buehrens_journey_map_next_gen_2014_4Can you imagine having only three minutes to create a high-level journey map? Or five minutes to define a touchpoint? Who would ever dream of creating a customer journey map, complete with persona, detailed touchpoints and emotional mapping, in less than an hour? Sound crazy? It is – crazy fun!

Speed Mapping

carol_buehrens_journey_map_next_gen_2014_2Set to a “Speed Dating” theme, speed mapping is an exciting way to learn about customer journey mapping. Participants roll up their sleeves and make a mad rush to complete the various stages during a series of timed exercises. It quickly breaks  down the common barriers to learning what may have seemed like an insurmountable task.

Successful Workshop held at Next Gen

carol_buehrens_journey_map_next_gen_2014_3Over 80 Customer Experience Professionals attended Speed Mapping at the Next Generation Customer Experience Conference on March 18. They had innocently signed up for a Customer Experience Journey Mapping workshop with no idea of what they were in for – and they were in for a big surprise.

This was no “sit back and listen” session. Having extremely short times to complete several exercises (giant timers flashed on the screen), everyone quickly caught carol_buehrens_journey_map_next_gen_2014_1onto the fast pace.   They were grouped into “silos”. They completed a high level map. As silos, they  detailed one of the touchpoints.

Silos were broken down as groups were joined together to connect their touchpoints into continuous journeys.  In just a few short minutes, teams were cooperating, selecting touchpoints to innovate, and finding ways to WOW their customers.

There were journeys everywhere – on tables, easels, floors and walls!

During the final exercise, many groups had 1 minute to present their journeys. The results were amazing. These professionals took touchpoint to new heights and, together, made this workshop a huge success.

Whew! That’s a lot to accomplish in just one short hour!

Remarks from participants:

“I learned I can really do this. This workshop definitely removed my fears.”

“This was fun. We’re going to have a workshop like this when we did back to the office on Monday.”

“That was crazy! I love these tools.” 

“I thought I knew journey mapping, but this opened up my eyes to other possibilities. This was enjoyable, contagious, and engaging. Absolutely my favorite session of the conference.”

Images provided by Carol Buehrens