The Customer Experience Mapping Series – Step 1: Identify the Pieces

by Jeannie Walters

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I get asked about this a lot, so I figured I might as well share what I know and learn from those of you who participate here. There are so many ways to do this, and I tweak and customize my own process constantly. Here’s what I’ve learned –  It’s always a little more time-consuming, a little less logical and a lot more surprising than I expect it to be.

It’s easy enough to say “Let’s map our experience!” All you need to do is trace back through your processes and BLAMMO! You have a map. But we all know that’s not how it works.

Here’s my step 1 – Identify the Pieces

Whenever I start peeling away the layers of the onion of experience, folks are surprised by what rocks I want to turn over. What does THAT have to do with customer experience? Well, usually, each and every process, person, communication and of course product is part of it. So before setting off on your cartography expedition, identify which pieces you’ll really be looking at.

Here’s a sample list of what you can include:

  • Sales Process – Most people start here, and with good reason, since it’s seen as the front door. However, back the truck up and make sure you look at:
    • Awareness – How do your customers first become aware of the brand? How do they first decide to check it out?
  • Hiring Process – Who’s on the team? Not just customer service, but everywhere? The RIGHT employees matter.
  • Internal Communications – That’s right, I’m talking about what happens within the organization. If your front line employees never hear from leadership, that has an impact on customer experience.
  • Customer Communications – I’ve talked about this one a lot. It’s important. Look at how and why it’s done.
  • Online/Mobile Experiences – Examine these carefully and thoroughly. They are only becoming MORE important. Don’t overlook the small stuff here.
  • Customer Service – This happens in many departments, not just the one with the same title. Examine how customers look for, find and receive appropriate service when needed.
  • Social Media Monitoring – This is where you can find lots of truth about your brand. It’s the canary in the coal mine, so pay attention.
  • Exit Process – If a customer leaves you, how do they feel? How is the process handled? Do they ever return?
  • Experience Metrics & Key Performance Indicators – While these add depth to the map, the map itself is some science and art combined.

Once you identify what you’re examining, it’s time to get out your Sherlock Holmes cap and magnifying glass…you need to turn yourself into a master detective.

We’ll cover that in part 2. What about you and your organization? What would you identify? What would you add to this list?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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