Start small, scale smart: implementing CX management in large organisations
How to go from theory to practice and opportunities that scale in 2.5 hours.
[What you’re about to read is a transcript from a live masterclass which is especially helpful if you are an advanced CX professional f.a. a service design(er) (lead), product owner, business designer, CX director, CMO, customer support manager or genuinely have an interest in taking customer-centricity to the next level. The purpose of this live report is to help kickstart your own train of thought on how to practice effective CX management within your organisation. More events]
During the masterclass, there were CX leaders present from banking, retail, government, tax administration, postal service, electronics and investment industries were present at this event.
Jochem van der Veer (TheyDo), Kaspar Kazil & Joris Hens (Koos Service Design)
The executive summary
Effective CX Management is about making your journeys small, manageable and accountable through a multi-level journey framework that serves as a single source of truth. The journey framework helps you to understand how customer journeys together form a journey ecosystem. This ecosystem creates a holistic view of the countless relationships between the customer and your organisation. Then, scaling opportunities from a customer-centric perspective becomes viable, thanks to the overview that arises from aligning business goals with persona-based needs.
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On June 2, 2021, Koos Service Design & TheyDo organised a rather challenging masterclass in CX management: explain and show how organisations can start and scale CX management.
The holy trinity
Because understanding the different levels of journeys and grasping how to manage them effectively is no small task, the masterclass was made up of three distinct stages:
Why – CX management
- What is the CXM way of working?
- How does TheyDo support this way of working?
- What are the benefits?
How – Getting to work (core functionalities of TheyDo)
- Mapping your first journey
- Creating a customer lifecycle
- Prioritising opportunities
What – Starting and scaling
- Implementation steps
- Starting & scaling canvas
The right mindset
Framing this masterclass as a Kickstarter was key in making sure participants were not overwhelmed with information. Because we knew in advance that this masterclass was going to be a lot to take in, we had Joris Hens (Koos Service Design) manning the chat to answer any questions and ensure progress. Allowing companies to ‘partner up’ also helped create awareness that CX management is never a solo effort, but it can help distribute tasks on an individual level thanks to insights-based prioritisation.
STAGE 1 – WHY?
The perfect world
In stage 1 (Why CX management?), Kaspar explains how the perfect world is not only where customers and business align seamlessly, it is also when teams and departments use the same terminology and standardize their definitions. This helps move initiatives from all over the place to one place that is also understood by all stakeholders involved.
A single source of truth
Ironically, this term is widely used across online platforms as a USP, mostly because every vendor tries to realize data centralisation and standardisation, but in their own way. So why is this ‘USP’ so important? When you’re working with customer journeys, you have probably reaped the first benefits of working customer-centric.
But when scaling up, the overview is easily lost and these kinds of questions start to pop up:
- What are the most important pain points?
- What about the other journeys?
- Where do we save all of our data?
- How are we going to keep this up-to-date?
Moving beyond journeys
Kaspar goes on to say that these questions demand something more than ‘just journeys’.
Confusion about CX
- Where do journeys start and end?
- What format do we use?
- What terminology do we use?
Ineffective project coordination
- How do we prioritise opportunities?
- How do we connect to the backlog?
- Who is responsible for what?
- Where do we capture insights?
- What do we know or don’t know?
- How do we keep things up-to-date?
If you cannot answer these questions with – ‘in one place’, you’ll quickly notice that: management simply becomes unnecessarily hard and it will wear your organisation down, decreasing motivation, increasing efflux of good ideas and good people. To prevent frustration about the opposite effect of your customer-centric efforts, you need a better way to capture insights and manage them in a single source of truth. Preferably using a model such as the double diamond (research → opportunities → validation cycle).
That’s why calling something a single source of truth only works when you have a standardised way of working around your research data. Something most companies struggle with. CX management is not only about the tools but also about the people and the way they work. Mapping and collaborating around journeys not the end goal but just an output to get to the best possible result. But how do you go about managing all your journeys? Or connecting all the insights within them, experiences are horizontal so there must be a way or tool that can help. Visualisation and interconnectedness is key when things get complex and intertwined experiences quickly tend to become just that, complex.
Standardizing is visualizing. And you can easily tell when your organisation is ready to standardize and thus scale. Simply put: if you’re starting from scratch every single time you finish the double diamond cycle, then you are ready to scale your CX management, Jochem (TheyDo) elaborates.
Granular overview of data dashboards portraying endless vanity metrics are really hard for a lot of people to understand, let alone take action on. To make insights actionable, you and your team need to be able to tie them back onto a visualized customer journey. That is what CX management is also about: enabling and thereby empowering your people to get as intimate with your customer as virtually possible. That’s when prioritisation is just something you do because the insights in combination with your OKRs or OGSMs make it all too evident how to help your customer in the best possible way.
Jochem (TheyDo) underlines how CX management is now in a phase where many organisations have the (qualitative!) insights, but lack the know-how to turn this data into aligned opportunities across departments and teams. These organisations often stumble across the following frustrations:
How do you take your insights into your organisation and connect them to journeys?
How to bring different customer lifecycles into one interactive journey ecosystem?
How do you move from working in journeys towards across journeys so you know which opportunities to scale across all experiences and business goals?
Create clarity across the organisation
- Make CX accessible to all
- Standardise terminology
- Bridge silo’s
Coordinate projects effectively
- Identify key pain points
- Identify opportunities
- Prioritise according to business goals
Prevent double work
- Never lose valuable insights
- Never lose relevance
Shortening the corporate learning cycle
Next Jochem (TheyDo) gives an example from Randstad, the largest temp work corporation with offices on 4 continents. At Randstad, they soon discovered that candidate journeys differed greatly across borders. Nonetheless, after interviewing candidates across the globe, they were able to surface 10 big opportunities which, thanks to a journey framework, they were able to distil (globally) in one single meeting. The result of this meeting was a one candidate need-based journey workflow, that connected all markets and their needs, enabling Randstad to scale CX and customer-centric implementation at scale.
Maximising overview capacity
Kaspar (Koos Service Design) goes on to tell about the ‘design criteria’ any organisation needs to be able to reach that point where you actually make customer-led decisions because the overview is enabled by:
A great CX process
- Customer research
- Structured ideation
- Customer-centric expertise
- Time and budget
The right mindset
- Openness to experiment
- A holistic view on CX
This concludes the theoretical part of this masterclass.
Deliver great CX when everyone agrees, including your customer.
STAGE 2 – HOW?
Because this was a masterclass, participants were already skilled at understanding the function of need-based personas. Feel free to refresh your knowledge with one of these short articles and guides:
Jochem braces all the participants to get started by explaining how placeholder personas have been created in every organisation’s workspace for them. These need-based personas are there not only to give a face to an (ideal) customer but to more easily get into the mood of really trying to understand the intention of that persona once they start mapping the customers’ experiences. It’s always recommended to give personas a name and a face so everyone can reference them. This can sometimes take on extreme forms, like at the dutch Beer Brewery Bavaria, a brand that decided to decorate their meeting rooms to represent the living rooms of their different customer personas.
[This, dear reader, is customer-centricity on a level that speaks to everyone in your organisation.]
Customer Journey Anatomy
The role of journeys is to visualise experiences as a (linear) time framework that helps others to comprehend what has happened and why. Mapping journeys are not always easy and can be guided by the following tips & tricks:
The journey can be seen as a book. The book is the story and equals the experience that is being mapped.
Stages & Steps
The journey stages are the same as the chapters in a book. The simplest stage setup of a journey can be before, during and after. But they can of course be renamed and extended to as many stages as needed. Consequently, the stages are populated with steps, this is the pages of the book. Every step resembles an action, insight, quote or event in the journey.
In the steps, we also map the empathy of the persona related to the step. Together the steps create empathy arcs that let you see how the persona experience the journeys and thus what needs and pains they have.
The things we create to improve the lives of our persona, such as landing pages, forms, innovations, content etc. solutions can be activated across journeys.
This exercise was centred around coming to grips with the notion that multiple journeys can overlap because you can select two personas that go through the same macro-journey. Please see this tutorial if you are interested in an in-depth explanation of how to get started with journeys. Jochem shows how to create an aggregated customer empathy map and how to filter on different persona perspectives, for example how different persona thinks and feel about pricy bills.
Because participants brought their own macro-journeys (big picture or business level journeys), the theory was put into practice in company exclusive break-out rooms. This to ensure participants could maintain privacy and the free flow of information. Immediately questions came up, mostly wondering how TheyDo’s flexible lanes work and if you can add sub-journeys to a macro-journey. The answer is yes, you definitely can.
Exercise 2 – Create a customer lifecycle
Creating one journey is easy. Making a journey framework consisting out of many journeys is a whole different ball game. With TheyDo’s journey boards it becomes much easier because the boards are dynamic making it easy to puzzle and combine journeys in any way you like.
Participants are asked to name a journey regarding their credit card, to get the mapping juices going and realize how customer lifecycles make up the journey ecosystem and how to use the earlier discussed framework to make sense of it all.
Tips & Tricks
To prevent the evident inside-out pitfalls, Kaspar (Koos Service Design) shares some tips & tricks before the participants dive into their Miro board.
Think from the customer perspective
Start and end journeys where it makes sense for customers, not for internal back-end processes.
Write down active verbs
Always have an indicative verb at the start, E.g.: ‘Managing cards’, ‘Flagging wrong transactions’.
Validate it with customers
Start from your own knowledge, but make sure your customers agree!
In this case, we chose a generally available MIRO template [add URL + image] because we wanted participants to create 10 journeys in 10 minutes and cluster them àccording to the ‘Koos Service Design’ template. Several participants soon realized that for example entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs have different customer lifecycles. This sounds rudimentary but it helps to raise awareness on the extensiveness of the customer journey ecosystem and the necessity for a multi-journey level framework to get the overview you need to make customer-centric choices across departments and roles.
STAGE 3 – WHAT?
Exercise 3 – Identify and prioritise opportunities for improvement
This is why the final exercise revolved around looking at several journeys instead of one journey. Jochem (TheyDo) takes a moment to take the single source of truth theory and explain how this applies to the service design double diamond. Jochem explains how opportunities are a layer that helps you to decide what to do next.
A more elaborate explanation about how to manage opportunities across journeys can also be found here
By applying the ‘how-might-we’ notation to show how this helps start pinpointing the steps that hold the evidence to support that opportunity.
We also created a video that explains how to reveal opportunities in a journey.
The key here is to not restrict your search to the current journey, but expand that search across the lifecycle ecosystem and collect not one but several pieces of evidence that support the opportunities, across journeys. So you define an opportunity once, but can connect several opportunities to them. That is what CX management is about.
In summary: Effective CX Management is about…
…Making your journeys small, manageable and accountable through a multi-level journey framework that serves as a single source of truth. The journey framework helps you to understand how customer lifecycles together form a journey ecosystem. This ecosystem creates a holistic view of the countless relationships between the customer and your organisation. Then, scaling opportunities from a customer-centric perspective becomes viable, thanks to the overview that arises from aligning business goals with persona-based needs.
Journey Excellence Program
We stopped selling our programs a long time ago. This is because it’s not our bread and butter but moreover because we believe in helping by providing the right context instead of pushing. Feel free to go through the following context and see whether you have the same expectations as our last participants and whether you would like to join our next session:
Expectations & Feedback
Job Title: UX research lead
Expectation: “Hands-on tips & tools to improve customer journey usage, CX transformation, and make the whole company (portfolio company) more user-centric.”
Job Title: Lead Design Strategist
Expectation: ”Would love to learn about challenges from other industries and discuss how to handle CX for complex ecosystems.”
Job Title: Service Designer
Expectation: “I expect to learn how to make a customer journey more central in our way of working.”
Job Title: Service Design Lead
Expectation: “Learn how to manage different (and sometimes overlapping) customer journeys.”
Job Title: CX Consultant
Expectation: ”Would love to get to know the tool & learn more about the best way to move from journey maps to journey ops.”
Job Title: UX Design specialist
Expectation: “Looking forward to learning more about how to map and manage different or overlapping journeys.”
Job Title: Service Designer
Expectation: “Looking for ways to organise journeys and manage overlapping journeys.”