How to improve a product using CJM
In previous articles, I talked about in-depth interviews and usability-testing. Today we will talk about a tool that helps to visualize the results of both research methods and comprehensively approach the change of the company’s business processes. I will tell you about my experience of using CJM in a bank.
What is CJM?
Customer Journey Map — a map created on behalf of the customer of their interaction with the product to achieve their goal. CJM allows you to visualize the company’s business processes on client’s behalf and design the best customer experience.
The customer judges the product as a whole, so the weakest point of contact between the customer and the product determines the quality level of this product. The point of contact refers to the numerous and diverse situations, places, and interfaces of contact between the client and the company. Companies ‘ business processes are constantly changing and therefore there are gaps in user scenarios for using the product, which is where companies lose customers.
CJM will help you analyze:
- The customer’s real path when interacting with the product
- What channels are used for making contact
- What points of interaction between the client and the service exist
- What happens inside each contact point
- Problems and gaps in customer service scenarios
Once you visualize all the information, the map can tell you how to improve customer experience, such as removing unnecessary steps from the process or adding additional features to the product
Which metrics can be affected by CJM:
- Increase the conversion rate to the target action
- Reduced customer churn
- Increase in satisfaction indicators (CSI, NPS, etc.)
- Reduce the cost of maintaining the support service
- Accelerate product development
Keep in mind that the Customer Journey Map is not a business process diagram. The client does not see many processes that they are not personally involved with. We work with the client’s experience through CJM, and Lean Six Sigma lean manufacturing tools are used to optimize the business process. The discussion of Lean Six Sigma is beyond the scope of this article, but the combined use of these approaches provides the most powerful result.
Stages of working with CJM
While working with the tool, you will create an as-is map (the “Planning”, “Data Collection”, and “Creating a Map” stages) and a to-be map (the “Working with Conclusions”, “Analyzing and Finding Solutions”, and “Creating a Change Plan” stages). Let’s take a closer look at each stage.
At this stage, we define:
- CJM building goals
- map scale
- list of study participants
- list of product metrics that will be tracked based on the implementation of changes
It is worth discussing the action plan with stakeholders. Together with them, the goals of the project are determined — this is the result that the research is aimed at. For example, you can choose to change the project metric (conversion rate, CSI, churn) as a goal.
One of the important points of discussion with stakeholders is the scale of the map, it can be:
- E2E customer journey
- Pre sales/awareness
- The purchase process
- Product/service usage
- Customer support
When identifying research participants, stakeholders often involve themselves in the research process or select additional participants to strengthen the research team. It is important that the team has sufficient resources and authority to implement the changes. Without resources, you won’t be able to complete the work, and without authority, the change plan will remain unenforceable.
When discussing tracked metrics, keep in mind that there are more than just sales. You can measure:
- Contentment (NPS, CSI, first contact resolution, customer effort score, customer expectations score)
- Number of clients (active customer base, CLTV, churn rate, MAU, DAU)
- Conversions across the entire client path
- Speed of passing the path by the client
- Time of client sessions along the entire client path
Once you have defined the project goals, map scale, research participants, and metrics, you can start collecting data.
At this stage, we collect information about how customers and employees of the company see the process.
At the beginning, it is useful to analyze the sales funnel. You will develop an understanding of how clients actually go through the client path, without understanding why exactly this happens. However, when conducting interviews with clients, you will understand which stages of the process to focus on. In addition, after implementing changes, you will be able to evaluate performance by comparing data on the sales funnel before and after implementing changes.
To collect data, we use research methods such as:
- Customer interviews
- Expert interview with company employees
- Monitoring of clients in places of contact with the company (office, pick-up point, etc.)
- Desk research (CSI, complaints, listening to incoming calls, reading reviews, etc.)
In addition, you can use research methods such as focus groups and diary studies. However, the methods listed above are quite sufficient to form an exhaustive CJM.
Also, at this stage, we collect this data about the client:
- Physical: artifacts, tools, devices
- Behavioral: customer actions, customer tasks
- Cognitive: thoughts, opinions
- Emotional: feelings, desires
- Needs: goals, needs
- Challenges: challenges, constraints, barriers
- Events: triggers, failure points
Additionally, we collect company data:
- Contact points: physical environment, devices, information
- Challenges: problems and incidents experienced by employees
- Operations: people and roles, departments that are involved in the process
- Metrics at each stage: traffic, finances, statistics
- Expertise: strengths, weaknesses
- Opportunities for improvement: barriers, excessive actions performed by employees of the company
- Goals: profit, savings, reputation
At the end of the stage, you will receive a list:
- Pain management
- Customer’s expectations of the product
- Insights — understanding the essence of the problem situation
We will structure this information in the next step.
Creating a map
After we have collected the data, we need to define the map format (stages, stages), visualize the points of contact with the client, and apply the collected data and metrics to it.
CJM can have a different form, however, usually use a tabular form. With this approach, the client’s steps are indicated horizontally, for example: the appearance of a need, searching for and comparing options, buying a product, using it, contacting support, and disabling the product. Of course, the list of steps may vary, depending on the specifics of the product.
Sometimes, a single map is not enough to describe the client path of radically different customer segments. To show the specifics of each segment, you can create several CJMS. In this case, it is useful to provide a block in the table that describes the segment of customers that the card belongs to.
Let’s look at what parts the CJM consists of. Select the following items vertically on the map:
- Description of the customer segment
- Individual’s area — what happens to the client
- Interaction area — information about customer interaction with the product (barriers and drivers)
- Company area — a description of the company’s contribution to customer satisfaction: product functions, staff actions, and so on.
Unfortunately, there is no universal set of information and metrics that should be present on the CJM within the mentioned zones. It all depends on the goal that stakeholders set for the customer experience researcher. For example, if you need to speed up your business process, you should start with time metrics. If you need to improve your subjective perception, you should start with emotions. If you need to reduce the number of bounces, analyze your bounces by stages.
I will exemplify possible blocks:
- Client Actions
- Contact points
- User experience/thoughts
- User’s Emotions/Feelings
- Lead Time
Working with outputs
So, we managed to create a CJM as-is. Now you need to work together with the product team and stakeholders and create a CJM to-be. To do this, you need to solve several tasks:
- Prioritize the received problems
- Identify those responsible for solving problems at different points of contact with the client
- If necessary, identify blocks that require additional research
When working with conclusions, invite people with different roles: product managers, developers, business analysts, accountants, lawyers, etc. People with different perspectives will help you comprehensively assess the labor costs and impact of implementing changes. You need to show them the map, refine the map based on the team’s comments, and get on with the issues.
To prioritize customer issues, needs, and expectations, use the prioritization matrix template below. In the team, distribute the information to one of the four sectors. First of all, take into account problems with high value and which are easy to implement. Second, tackle problems that have high value but are difficult to implement. And only in the third turn, problems with low value and easy implementation are taken into work.
Once the pains, expectations, and needs are prioritized, they are assigned to those responsible. And those, in turn, determine the timing of the implementation of changes. It is important to do this together because the problem may depend on the actions of several departments and employees of these departments need to agree on coordinated actions.
At this stage, you may encounter opposition from employees who do not want to change the existing order of things. Here it is important to involve the manager in working with the conclusions.
Creating a change plan
Remember, at the beginning of the article we said: the weakest point of contact between the customer and the product determines the quality level of this product. Indeed, a visible result from CJM can be obtained when all those responsible have completed their work on implementing changes.
To develop solutions to problems, you can use the following methods:
- Engaging experts to solve relatively simple problems
- Brainstorming sessions to solve complex problems
- Design thinking to solve the most complex problems
Additionally, you can learn from other companies’ best practices by using:
- Trend watching
- Future foresight
Benchmarking is the comparison of an organization’s products, services, or processes with market leaders. For comparison, you can use the following information sources: own experience, interviews with competitors’ clients, data from open sources (the company’s website, review aggregators), analytical reports from marketing and consulting firms.
To study trends, you can use automated systems (Google Trends, Springwise, Trend hunter, TrendWatching), business-related publications (CB Insights, Crunchbase), analytical reports from marketing companies, and social network analysis. For independent use, experts recommend the STIRDEEPER model from the University of Strathclyde.
Future foresight is not so much about forecasting as it is about designing. The future is variable and directly depends on the efforts made. Therefore, forward-looking sessions give us an understanding of what we should do together right now to arrive at the desired future scenario. You should ask a few questions: “What will happen next?”, “What if an event occurs? “ and “What should I do about it now?” Additionally, foresight pays close attention to “black swans”, such as COVID-19.
Here, it is important for the ux researcher to assume the role of a facilitator to help the team complete the work with conclusions.
Based on the results of the stage, you must:
- Make recommendations for improvement
- Create a CJM to-be with all planned changes in mind
- Create a roadmap of changes
- Identify those responsible for certain changes
- Agree with those responsible on the frequency of joint meetings to track progress in implementing changes
Often, the most ambitious ideas seem unrealistic or difficult to implement. In order not to lose your ideas, you can divide the to-be map into time horizons: fast to-be, to-be, and dream. The dream card will help you keep the final vision of the process in mind, and the to-be card will help you manage changes quickly.
In addition, when you visualize all planned changes on the CJM, you will be able to assess whether the changes do not conflict with each other. Is it generally convenient for the client to go through your business processes?
To track the status of changes, it is convenient to use task management systems (for example, Jira). Create a goal in Jira and add tasks linked to the goal. Assign responsible tasks and set a deadline for each task.
Remember, CJM is a working tool for the product manager and team. It should be updated as changes are implemented, or new issues are identified. With an up-to-date CJM, the manager and his team know exactly what is happening with the product and how it needs to be developed. I wish you a successful use of this tool!