Improving Customer Experience

Customer Service Management, or CXM, is critical to the success of your company. Any business that neglects to nurture and strengthen ties with its consumer base, and ensure their satisfaction, will ultimately lose business. We design customer journeys with ARIS , helping you map their journey, identify key touchpoints, and retain clients.

Customer journey mapping from end-to-end

Today there are just three types of companies: Those that actually operate a digital business, those that are transforming into a digital business and finally those that might never become a digital business and fail as a consequence. So, it´s not a question if your business should become digital. It really must be to survive or it just might disappear.

Establish a digital business

One of the mandatory drivers of a successful digital business is an effective customer experience management (CXM). CXM helps you understand what customers want and how customers want to interact with your business and underlying business processes. A good process is no longer good enough; it’s the customer experience reflected in your processes that really matters. By designing and analyzing customer journeys from the outside-in perspective, you get chance to enhance their customer experience in order to differentiate from competition in terms of customer satisfaction and to reflect on your own processes from another point of view. But in fact, the Business Process Analysis (BPA) world missed developing a CXM solution that delivers the capabilities and the methods to design and analyze processes from an “outside-in” perspective. To close this gap, Palmira utilize ARIS release the world’s first BPA software that enables companies to improve their customer experience by designing customer journeys. IN this article we are trying to illustrate the strategic mindset and the methodical competencies needed to design and analyze customer-centric processes with ARIS. By taking customer emotions and expectations into account and using techniques such as customer journey mapping, customer touchpoint analysis and identifying the critical Moments of Truth (MoT), your organization can deliver a better customer experience. Using such approaches to improve customer satisfaction helps you:

  • Ensure better customer interactions, enhance customer satisfaction
  • Stay tuned to customers and recognize new ways to satisfy customer needs
  • Enhance customer loyalty, increase sales and revenue
  • Enhance measures and KPIs, reduce brand risk
  • Preserve business agility
  • Identify gaps and issues, recognize opportunities
  • Take advantage of new innovations

With the advent of the Internet, the knowledge-based economy and decreases in protective trade regulations, competitors have virtually moved together closer and closer. In this highly connected global environment, most organizations can no longer differentiate their business on price—unless they are Walmart®—or quality—unless they are a small high-end manufacturer—when there might always be an organization that is a bit cheaper or has a feature more in the pocket. For the gross of organizations, there remains just one key differentiator left: customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, there is a more paradigmatic change. For decades, businessmen and women shared the single dominant idea that the purpose of strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. This idea is strategy’s most fundamental concept and every company’s Holy Grail. But in the digital world of volatile and uncertain environments, omni-channel communications, technological advances and economical hyper-competition, this idea is no longer relevant for the most successful companies.


There are upcoming technologies that provide completely new communications and accelerate processes. The Internet of Things connects formerly analog things to several clouds and melds personalized technologies with daily routines. Organizations have reached a never-known speed of innovations and release cycles. Customer support services are getting faster and better. They offer custom-tailored and personalized services in order to maximize satisfying customer needs.

From an economical point of view, the borders between industries become blurred by companies connecting strategy, innovation and organizational changes. They conquer new market fields and arenas—for example, when Apple® will start providing a payment system—in which innovative business models provoke entire industries and industries compete with each other. New disruptive startups come onto the scene, identifying customer pain points and offering alternative solutions to make a bit money. They are establishing themselves, motivated to take a little piece of the cake and, then suddenly, these little startups stand their ground against business titans.


As a consequence, companies face a new entity of sophisticated customers, demanding the use of newest technologies and omni-channel distribution. They are accustomed to best-in-class service and cross-industry benchmarks. But most important, they know about their market power. Today, customers expect to get what they want and how they want it. And if they don´t get what they want, they increasingly jump the store to buy somewhere else. For instance, 25 years ago, a customer could buy a blouse via three or maybe four different customer journeys. The customer went to the store or bought it at a catalog. Due to multi- and omni-channel orchestration, the number of possible journeys has exponentially increased. By providing more alternatives at each phase of the buying process, there are about 1,000 opportunities to buy the same blouse in 2016 (see Figure 1). Customers demand to use or to change the communication channel just as they wish at every point and moment of the buying process. To remain competitive, a retailer has to offer as much of these variations as possible.


There are upcoming technologies that provide completely new communications and accelerate processes. The Internet of Things connects formerly analog things to several clouds and melds personalized technologies with daily routines. Organizations have reached a never-known speed of innovations and release cycles. Customer support services are getting faster and better. They offer custom-tailored and personalized services in order to maximize satisfying customer needs.

From an economical point of view, the borders between industries become blurred by companies connecting strategy, innovation and organizational changes. They conquer new market fields and arenas—for example, when Apple® will start providing a payment system—in which innovative business models provoke entire industries and industries compete with each other. New disruptive startups come onto the scene, identifying customer pain points and offering alternative solutions to make a bit money. They are establishing themselves, motivated to take a little piece of the cake and, then suddenly, these little startups stand their ground against business titans.

Putting customers first

Well, almost every business and organization will claim that it puts its customers first and that improving customer services is one of its key objectives. Nevertheless, many businesses still continue to use very outdated tools to build very internally focused processes that fail to properly consider the experience customers have when they interact with the business. They lose track of handling their customer touchpoints because they forget one simple fact: For business, the engagement with the customer is composed of several processes and sub-processes that will be executed by numerous departments. But for customers, it is just one!

Furthermore, there is an important difference between business processes and customer journeys in regards to applied logic. A business process will be designed and specified from the responsible management and executed as intended by employees. But customers can quit the journey, whenever they want. That’s why a

customer journey describes an anticipated process that is designed by the organization. However, it will be executed by customers at their discretion. The journey might start before the customer interacts with the business and keep going after the transaction with the business is completed and only if seen as successful when completed in its entirety. As a consequence, a customer journey has to provide a number of degrees of freedom to listening and responding to the customer.

Therefore, successful businesses are those that see customer satisfaction as their key differentiator and enabler for success. They truly live these values rather than just going through the motions. They will take an outside-in approach when designing business processes to look at how their customers want to interact with them and build the processes around these customer interactions. So they match the outside-in with the inside-out to incorporate the requirements of both perspectives into their processes. Well-designed customer touchpoints that align business processes and customer journeys lead to customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction leads to a higher company´s revenue and profits.

Listen to the right voices

In every engagement of an organization with a customer, there are some key characteristics that affect the customer’s experience. Simple questions that should always be answered affirmatively:

How easy was it to contact the organization?

Could the customer use the communication channel he wanted?

Was it easy to order a product or request a service?

Was it delivered when the customer wanted it?

Did the customer get what he ordered?

Did it work or was the service effective?

Was the bill correct?

Could the customer pay using the method he wanted?

Was good help and support provided?

If the customer had a problem, was it dealt with satisfactorily?

All of these are important to the customer, although the comparative importance of the individual elements will vary from customer to customer and for different products, services and industries. What is common to all of them is that they are determined by the business processes and the business strategies. Process and strategy are interdependent. Of course, employing good people who are well trained is vital. But people can only deliver good service, day after day, if they operate within effective and efficient processes. But efficient process can’t be designed without a clear and constructive strategy.

Along with these specific points, good customer experience depends on the effectiveness of the complete journey the customers travel on their way to receiving goods or services, using them and giving a review about the experience to others. The effectiveness of the journey is partly determined by the levels of service the customers have come to expect (e.g., online ordering, personal shoppers, next-day delivery) and also by the way the customers have been conditioned by the experience provided by the best-in-class companies, such as Amazon® and DELL™, for instance.

So as well as thinking just about the needs of the business, it is also important to think about the needs of customers and trends in the market. These three areas can be thought of in terms of “voices” that need to be heard:

The voice of the customer—the customer’s needs, expectations and feelings

The voice of the business—the business objectives and constraints

The voice of the market—current trends and what competitors are doing

Orchestrating all those voices to one symphony of processes will show how the process has to perform. This increases both the customer’s satisfaction and as a consequence the organization’s value. In the accelerating competition of the digital world, customer´s satisfaction and shareholder value will grow together more and more. Corporate strategies based solely on the internal process perspective will not be able to succeed in the customer-centric digital world. Every employee should be aware how he or she contributes and influences to the customer experience to finally increase the company’s value. Combining internal procedures with the sensitivity of ensuring that all critical customer touchpoints are served with the required attention will ensure internal smooth operations and result in an overall better customer experience. What is considered to be the best experience will change over time as customer expectations change, technology changes and best-in-class businesses set higher goals. To formulate an appropriate strategy, you need to embrace all of those voices.

A good customer journey requires good processes

After defining an appropriate customer experience strategy, the processes have to be aligned with that strategy. In general, designing a good process means identifying

the sequence of tasks to deliver business objectives. It’s about looking at the resources and the infrastructures that are required for execution, the environment in which the process operates and the important decisions that have to be made. In practice, there are several paths the process can take and it’s unlikely a design will show

every possible decision and path. But a good process design should identify all

of those that have a significant effect on the customer or the business. To design a good customer journey additionally means to draw a smooth flow of activities and interactions which the customers undertake to achieve their goals. The challenge of a successful customer experience management is designing most comfortable customer journeys that are executable as business processes indeed.

Draft your customer journey

In practice, a customer journey will be created in several steps that keep on repeating again and again to reach and ensure a best practice. It starts drafting a flow of activities customers will undertake to achieve their goals (for instance, how would they order, pay and receive a product). This first draft describes a process instance that shows

the decision points and various paths (and maybe loops) that the journey may take in several business scenarios. Defining all this important potential “scenarios” (i.e., the routes through the journey) is an important early step to take care that the design is as complete as possible and enable later testing to ensure all the different scenarios are effectively catered to. Specific scenarios may be triggered in response to customer needs (e.g., ordering a product) or business needs (e.g., compiling a monthly sales report).

In the past, processes were mostly developed to meet business needs, usually described by a set of “requirements” defined in collaboration with key stakeholders from many parts of the business. However, in order to deliver best-in-class customer service, it is important to put much more emphasis on customer needs, to make the customers to most important stakeholders. Therefore, designers have to anticipate those needs, take the expectations and feelings into account, and build the processes around them. It is important to involve a wide range of business stakeholders in

the modeling: sales, marketing, customer experience teams and process designers. Bring in customers to ensure the model is representative.

To understand and later define those customers’ needs, user stories can be employed to improve the understanding of the customers. User stories are expressed in the form of a statement that identifies the activity the customer wants to perform and the reason for doing it (e.g., “I want to register with a website … so that I can order products in future without having to re-enter all my details”). These user stories are compiled by the business, often by the marketing and sales departments, and in conjunction with the customer using focus groups or agile development methods.

Using the “I want … so that I can …” format makes the story easy to understand and focuses attention on why the customer wants to do something, ensuring the process achieves what was desired rather than just providing a specific functionality. Scenarios are mostly used for testing processes while user stories and requirements are applied when specifying and designing the process. Stories can be defined at varying levels of detail, and a high-level user story can be decomposed into a number of lower-level user stories. User stories are similar to, but not exactly the same as, “use cases” used by software developers who may use the user stories to define their use cases.

Specify the customer journey:

By gathering information (such as demography, behavior and context of the customers), organizations receive valuable insights about potential customers indeed, but often fail to consider their frustration and experience. To specify the customer journey, user stories and business processes are put together to create a first draft of the customer journey map, a technique that is used to design and analyze customer journeys from end-to-end. It shapes the collected data into a story that makes the experience concrete and comprehensible. Even though it is not possible to know the exact journey customers follow in practice, the customer journey map describes the key activities and the key interactions they will have with the business to accomplish their goals.

Generally, a journey map is a common approach to highlight the steps a customer archetype goes through during a journey. It doesn´t replace the internal business models, but it rather amend them by considering the business through the eyes of the customer. Customer journey maps are often used to describe a visionary

representation of how the business imagines how the customer wants to interact with the business. These types will normally be prepared by the marketing department or customer experience specialists. They will employ colorful infographics designed to appeal to customers and sales people. While they are valuable for expressing the vision and setting the direction for transformation projects and IT development, they are not sufficient by themselves for ensuring a good customer experience. In order to ensure both the business processes and IT systems actually deliver the required process respectively customer experience, it is necessary to develop evident journey maps that show the customer journey steps and touchpoints with the details of the business processes in an integrated repository-based software.

While the customer journey steps illustrate the temporal component and build the physical framework of the journey map, the customer touchpoints explain the

interactions between customer and the business. They depict the perception of the experience the customer will have at each step and are specified by additional useful objectives. By characterizing and emphasizing the customer touchpoints, the customer journey map enables different stakeholders to easily oversee the engagement with several customer segments to investigate bottlenecks and take advantage how to design the journey more comfortable.

Just as there are various scenarios for business processes, there are also various routes that customers can take on their journey depending on their needs and their method of interaction. It is important to consider all the most important routes and channels in the customer journey map. Not all customers are alike; different types of people will have different approaches and objectives. By defining different customer journey maps for several customer type groups or “persona” (e.g., small business owner, techie, homeworker or retired person), companies can reflect how different types of people want to interact with the business. As a result, organizations can model flexible respectively multiple journeys to enable several customers achieving their goals ad libitum.

Because of a customer journey may involve interactions with several processes that the business has designed as separate processes (e.g., order handling, billing and fault handling), it is important to look at the complete end-to-end experience of the customer—not just that of a single process or small number of interactions. By designing customer journeys from the customer’s point of view, the business gets the chance to oversee the pure experience, without those process steps that are running in the back-end. Customer journey mapping gives a much more realistic view of what the customer experiences than the analysis of individual processes that are executed by diverse departments. It helps negotiate organizational silos by ensuring that the several processes and sub-processes a customer walks through can be dubbed to each other. In general, a smooth and comfortable performance flow is what really counts for the customer.

Identify and define customer touchpoints:

After the customer touchpoints have been identified and assigned to the corresponding customer journey steps, they are specified by additional dimensions that helps define and analyze the journey. Through the customer touchpoint, an interaction or contact point between business and customers is characterized and described in detail. Customer touchpoints essentially determine the customer experience on a cognitive and an emotional way. The customer’s perception of the journey does not solely depend on objective judgments about the effectiveness and efficiency, but also on much softer issues around what the customer is feeling and expecting. It’s also about how the brand embraces the customer personally. To ensure best customer experience, the customer journey has to deliver best-in-class service at each touchpoint in both cognitive and emotional dimension.

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