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A topic Jim Sinur touched on here: do you think it's possible to deliver the best customer journey mapping without technology?
Max Young
Blog Writer
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 1
Jim Sinur
Blog Writer
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Simply put, "not necessary", but it sure helps if you want to be scientific, tune or customize by customer. If fact you should leverage technology, if you want to compete in the new digital era for the long run. Rationale below:

There are organizations that believe that the investment in customer journey mapping includes buying technology to assist in creating and maintaining the best customer journeys for a variety of customer needs and goals. There are also organizations that do not believe technology is necessary to deliver top notch journey maps. This linked blog below will explore both approaches. Of course there are organizations that don't believe in journey maps and think that standard systems are good enough, but most of us wouldn't want to work for that kind of organization.
References
  1. https://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2017/09/do-you-need-technology-to-assist.html
  2. https://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2017/08/journey-listening-newest-digital-era.html
  3. https://jimsinur.blogspot.com/2017/10/customer-journey-mapping-vendors-rated.html
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  1. more than a month ago
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I see this as having two dimensions

1) communicating a learned customer journey mapping to the troops

2) the troops interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis.

 

Doable without technology?

Possibly, assuming the learned customer journey is not complex, otherwise, the mapping becomes a mantra that has to regularly be repeated/reinforced, and the troops will need to role-play the interaction every few days.

More practical approaches are to use technology in order of increasing attractiveness

a) using pencil/pen & paper to evolve a written procedure (liquid gel pens are technology)

b) using a mapping environment that can generate a paper process flowgraph people can stick on a wall and stare at;

c) embedding the journey such that customer reach-in or reach-out can be accommodated at any step along any of the organization's in-line-real-time workflow/workload management platforms.

d) putting in place an automated smart attendant that can walk and chew gum.

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  1. more than a month ago
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I am not sure how formal an approach the typical BPM implementation we normally would engage in, actually aligns to an acceptable customer journey, but I guess it's in most cases limited to process mapping and flow charting (not to say that this MO is a best practice - however, a common one, for certain). 
 
Even on that elementary level, the usage of technologies (BPMN mapping, simulations within the BPMS or something like ARENA) are indispensable, in my opinion. I do think applications are very important enablers for journey as well as process mapping.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
@Kay ... Agree with "applications are very important enablers for journey as well as process mapping".

A Case workflow / workload management platform qualifies as "an application" - it allows a Case worker to on-the-fly launch (at any point along a process pathway) a customer journey fragment to accommodate either reach-in or reach out.

Job shop is a good example. The supplier has a set of specs, customers are notorious for calling in to request changes (i.e. launch a reach-in customer journey process) or the supplier reaches a stage of interpretation of a specification where it seems prudent to reach out to the customer (i.e. launch a reach-out customer journey process).

Many times we don't know what a particular customer journey looks like - no worries, it can be discovered as it takes place.

All that really is important is that your workflow/workload mgt system be able to ask "how can we help you?' and then put various phases of the work on suspension until the question is answered and forward processing possibly takes a different turn as result of the reach-in.

I've noticed many organizations try too hard to anticipate customer journies - they hard-code the touchpoints and the sequence of steps.

Most of the time we don't know what the customer journey is in detail and even if we do, it can change abruptly.

The best practice seems to be to be able to "go with the flow"

We can of course build via data mining, customer journeys providing the same path is discovered a sufficient number of times.
  1. Kay Winkler
  2. 10 months ago
  3. #4990
Great comment and point: to discover the journey as it unfolds and not forcing our wishlist all too soon on top of it, distorting the reality.
  1. more than a month ago
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The silo inflexible systems that have evolved over past few decades may have helped record keeping but may have spoilt many customer journeys? Well run organizations with good motivated people are the ones that make a difference. However the future with digital linked to dynamic intelligent customer interfaces intrinsically linked to the end to end internal process should put the customer in control of decision making based upon availability of product or service. With internal workers tracking real-time any issues arising the customer journey will be further enhanced.  

Interesting Jim qualifies with "mapping"? But mapping alone unlikely to make any sustainable difference. As JIm will remember the capability to build and change a working end to end process including UIs with direct user input via the "map" is now possible which encourages dynamic thinking on how to deliver better outcomes ...without old IT barriers. 

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The question is bit vague because it does not include enough details on what technology is in question. For instance, if you offer car repair services and do not have a technology to fix vehicles, you won’t be able to have any customer journey at all. But because it is BPM forum, let’s assume that technology in question is an IT technology or, more specifically, BPM technology.

As such, IT and BPM are often exactly antagonistic to a pleasant customer journey. Customers, except for most misanthropic ones, naturally prefer human interaction instead of an IT system. It is enough to remember all frustration, which anybody had a chance to encounter at least once, while wandering across innumerous levels of auto-responder menu in desperate attempts to speak with a human operator. For a customer, automated service looks in most cases hostile and heartless.

On another hand, any company is keen to automating customer journey with modern IT and BPM technologies because it gives enormous savings and improvement of control against comparable staff of human operators. For an organization, automation of customer services is a vital technology of survival and an essential competitive advantage.

To avoid disappointment of clients in this contradictory situation, where interests of a business and its clients are predominantly opposite, a company must utilize modern BPM approaches, which allow for modeling and building complex, dynamic and responsive customer journeys corresponding to high expectations of contemporary consumers.

Comment
Agree with ". . .For a customer, automated service looks in most cases hostile and heartless." when there is too much automation and that automation is not "smart enough". Unfortunately, most of the "solutions" are really stupid.

A pet peeve for me is "Help" systems where you have to know the answer to the question you are posing in order to get to the question you are hoping to find an answer to.

Here may be a way to improve "automated voice" attendants . . . . add a decibel meter i.e. customer starts off talking normally, then at some random point in the decision tree (varies customer by customer, situation by situation) the customer starts yelling, at which time the system hands things over to a human.
  1. Boris Zinchenko
  2. 10 months ago
  3. #4989
@Karl, Thank you. Most of existing customer support automation systems implement simplistic scenarios and answer standard questions, while real clients in most cases have peculiar situations not covered by these elementary recipes. Notably, most of automated support systems in large companies not only miss handling these deviations from standard workflows but intentionally tend to eliminate and isolate these cases. For a large company it is often easier and cheaper to loose a client with special requirements than to spend time and effort on dedicated processing per case.
  1. more than a month ago
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The ref [1] is a demonstration of how the technology may help to make explicit the dependecies between some corporate business processes and some fragments of the custom journeys. Try to achive the same without technology. Good luck.

Thanks,

AS

 

References
  1. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.bg/2015/01/bpm-for-cx-customer-experience-example.html
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Those of you of my generation perhaps recall that it used to be common to prepare for long car trips (in the US, at least) by first obtaining a series of maps from AAA called a "TripTik". You'd show up at the AAA office, and tell the planner your destination and planned route. They would then pull individual maps from a cabinet full of them, and order and assemble them into a sort of a flipbook. Driving along, as you reached the end of each map, you'd turn the page and begin the next.

Did TripTiks have the same flexibility, real-time traffic information, and detail as Google Maps? Well, no. But you know, I drove successfully back and forth across the American continent half a dozen times relying primarily on those low-tech guides.

It's fair to say that the technology I couldn't have lived without was under my hood, not in my yet-to-be-invented iPhone. Plan and analyze your customers' journey however you like, but be sure to provide them with a vehicle with enough horsepower and comfort to make the trip easy and successful.

 

PS Did you know that you can still get a TripTik? I didn't!  (Link below.) Bonus feature: Best progress bar ever.

References
  1. https://ttp.aaa.com/TripTik/#
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png
-Scott
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I think that, for as long as we are to remain social beings, the difference between a good and a great customer journey will come from the humans participating in the journey alongside the customer.

 

CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
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@Bogdan.. Except that the cost of delivery of services makes it essential that automation and/or offshoring take the place of most 1:1 encounters.

This is why we have imperfect automated attendants and humans working out of the Far East on night shift servicing customer service requests taking place during normal North American working hours.
I think it all falls back to customer service design: what customer are you targeting, how are you positioning your service, what does it take to deliver it profitably.
If you position yourself as a premium service, then you have the cash to deliver a premium customer journey, then you need to consider how much that journey will cost to support.

...of course, managers tend to get greedy and try to make the quarter by cutting costs in service design without consideration of the rest of the positioning, hence your example. This, for me, is just a bad business model biting you back where the sun don't shine.
  1. more than a month ago
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@Bogden. good point re " managers . . . . cutting costs in service design without consideration of the rest of the positioning"

This demonstrates the limits of "silo" process design and why we need BAs to set a focus on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as they bridge processes across silos.

Important to point out that the BAs have to be pretty high up in the organization so that they can override over-zealous managers.

Notice the expansion on "KPIs" (not to be confused with Key Process Indicators which are wait-state process steps that some of us use extensively). These really are the only option when you are waiting for external apps and systems to post data to your data exchanger for auto-import to Cases.

I think we should have a Forum Question along the lines of "Name the two types of KPIs".
References
  1. http://kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
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  1. more than a month ago
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OK, let's add the sales and economics perspective? The question gets to the core of selling technology. Why bother? Because technology is such a hassle!

But without technology -- well, it's impossible to consider. Harnesses for horses is technology that enabled enormous change. Certainly there's a human dimension to "customer journey", but in business we are interested in "customer journeys at scale". Technology by definition concerns the artefacts of the real world that enable greater human productivity.

And BPM is the ideal technology to support customer journeys at scale. A journey is a narrative -- and BPM technology in particular maps well to stories. Add all the nice business analysis you like, and all the touch points and improved experiences. But unless you have only one customer and her name is Queen Elizabeth, and you tailor everything for her enjoyment, then you want to replicate your customer journey service. With BPM. At scale. It's all about technology. And what a great sales pitch!
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