CX Mistake #10: Mapping Your Internal Touchpoints

In this series of posts, we examine some of the top mistakes companies make in their customer experience management efforts. This post examines mistake #10: Mapping Your Internal Touchpoints. Companies often confuse internally-focussed touchpoint mapping with externally-focussed customer journey mapping.

One of the core customer experience tools is customer journey mapping, a process of examining how customers view their relationship with an organization. These efforts are extremely valuable for identifying key moments of truth and providing an accurate assessment of customer experience. They also serve to identify priorities for voice of the customer (VoC) programs.

While these projects can be an asset to customer experience management programs, they can also go awry. How? By using traditional quality and process methodologies for examining touchpoints. Consulting groups (vendors and internal groups) are often familiar with process/touchpoint mapping projects. These efforts examine the specific touchpoints that the company has with customers, in order to drive more efficiencies. These approaches can lead to sub-optimal results because they:

  • Rely on internal analysis. These efforts often spend a lot of time examining internal processes. While this type of activity can be valuable, they are much more helpful when done in the context of how customers view their interactions with the organization.
  • Ignore some customer touchpoints. When companies look internally, they often mss key touchpoints that aren’t in the “scope of effort” for the project. For instance, a project looking at the cable TV installation process may miss an issue with how expectations are set during the purchase process.
  • Lack emotional design components.Touchpoint mapping efforts often lead to redesigning of internal processes. But these changes are based on efficiency goals, not customers’ emotional needs.
  • Have a short shelf-life. Since these are viewed as consulting projects, the results are often only applied to an initial set of  recommendations.

Here are some tips for avoiding this mistake:

  • Assume that customers view their journey differently than you do. This will force you to do the research to understand how customers perceive their entire relationship. You will often find elements you weren’t expecting, including interactions with other people/organizations you never recognized or touhpoints with your company that your never recognized as being important. One of the ways to do this is to reframe the objective in customer terms. For instance, find out how “customers want to buy” not “how we can sell.”
  • Uncover differences across customer segments. It’s unusual for all customers to share the identical journeys. So you need to identify the key differences and build out  journey map for the key segments. Sometimes the steps may look similar, but the way that they perceive your company can be quite different.
  • Answer three questions. Push hard to answer these three questions: 1) What are the most important touchpoints; 2) How are we doing in those key touchpoints; 3) What can we do to improve the customers’ perception of those touchpoints.
  • Invest in a lasting framework, not a one-time project. A good customer journey map should establish a common understanding of customer needs that drives a number of things across the company: educating employees about customer needs and desires, prioritization of listening posts for voice of the customer programs, identification of acute and chronic issues to improve, and opportunities for driving strong brand preference from customers.

The bottom line: Map your customers’ journey, not your internal touchpoints

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

5 Responses to CX Mistake #10: Mapping Your Internal Touchpoints

  1. Sanchezjb says:

    Your “customer journey mapping” hyperlink comes back to this source article. It does not go to where you probably intended it to go.

  2. rod butcher says:

    Completely agree Bruce. I remember in one workshop we had to ban the use of the word “we” as in “we do this…” to replace with “I” as in , “I, the customer….(get/ feel/ see etc).

  3. Shalin Shah says:

    Great post, Bruce!

    I totally agree that for any business to be successful, it must find-out how its customers want to buy and not just how to sell. The early detection of trends in customer behavior can not only help avoid problems, but also capitalize on new opportunities. Today’s businesses need the ability to see, analyze, and act on real-time operational data from a wide variety of sources. Such “Operational Intelligence” enables decision-makers to effectively respond to changing business conditions.

  4. Jeff Hines says:

    This is a great post that defines the need for creating a customer-focused Touchpoint map. The map needs to incorporate both internal and external Touchpoints. It needs to be able to quickly show an executive where pain points exist with their most valuable customers. But it also needs to provide the detail that mid-level managers and front line workers require to make an impact or implement change.

    Bruce makes a good point about uncovering differences across customer segments. I would that the best maps would also reflect differences across products, lines of business (divisions, subsidiaries), and channels (i.e. offline compared to online compared to agent/affiliate, etc.).

    Finally, I agree that this needs to be an ongoing effort (continuous improvement), because there will always be new products, new customers, new competition, and new channels. Stopping the process of measuring and managing customer experience would be like stopping marketing, or stopping an exercise routine. I believe the most successful companies will always have a consistent way of mapping, measuring, managing its customer interactions.

  5. kalaiselvi says:

    this is a great informative post about touch point mapping …. sir i am doing my project on analyzing EMOTIONAL TOUCH POINT MAPPING AS AN EFFECTIVE PREDICTOR OF SERVICE QUALITY IN HOSPITALS… can you please help me about going about this topic sir

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