Lately, I’ve become really interested in human interactions, how they work, and how to improve them for the good of the community and causes. When we touch the lives of others, whether through work or friendships, we have the profound ability to change lives or, at the very least, make someone’s day a little better.
But, I think in our busy days we take that for granted. I’m preparing a training on this topic and thought I’d share a tool I borrowed from the business world and tweaked for nonprofits. Download Customer_Journey_Worksheet.
Customer Journey Mapping can help you take a closer look at your regular customer interactions in order to improve your relationships with key stakeholders.
I know a lot of nonprofit people get hung up on the term “customer,” but don’t. For our purposes, I use it as a generic term that can refer to any number of people you interact with. They can be internal to your organization or live outside it; they can be the primary person your organization exists to serve, or they can be a secondary person who also merits your attention. Your customers can be your your service beneficiary, staff, volunteers, funders, legislators, community partners, etc. The beauty of this exercise is that you can pick any customer with whom you want to strengthen your relationship.
Customer Journey Mapping can actually make your job easier. Really? Really! Through this process, you can identify ways to create an exceptional experience for your stakeholders. These are rare, so when you do it your organization really stands out.
Customer Journey Mapping Simplifies Your Life
- You’ll have to spend less time on advertising. -- When customer interactions are exceptional, word of mouth advertising spreads like wildfire.
- You won’t waste time on things that don’t matter or are redundant. -- If you’re more efficient, you waste less time, leaving you more free time to spend elsewhere.
- Simplification of your customer processes will make your customers happy. -- Leading psychologists have found that, contrary to popular opinion, more simplified choices inspire increased human follow through. Too many choices either paralyze us or lead us to regret the choice we made, imagining we could have done better.
- You’re volunteers will be happier because your customers are content. -- This will lead to greater volunteer retention and less effort on volunteer recruitment.
- Your staff morale will increase. -- Ultimately, everyone likes to be part of a well-oiled machine. It gives us a great sense of satisfaction. Even more so if your team is in on developing the architecture of your success. So, map the journey as a team.
- You’ll beat the competition. -- Plain and simple. And, you have competition, right? Even if what your competing against is your client’s unwillingness to contact you.
Customer Service Mapping Step-by-Step
1) Choose one customer group you’d like to focus on (you can only do one at a time).
2) Download the free worksheet and map their experience. It doesn’t have to be a situation where direct service is offered; you can also use this to map advocacy, volunteer, or partnership engagement. Download Customer_Journey_Worksheet.
3) Identify the key points where you interact with the customer pre-service (outreach & marketing) during service (or collaboration, meetings, etc.), and post-service (follow up & referrals). This can be in person, over the phone, online, or via communications materials.
4) Then really analyze what happens at each step of the way. Take a good look at:
- Team Tasks -- What are your staff and volunteers doing at each step of the way? Who does the client come into contact with?
- Customer Actions -- What are customers doing at each step of the way? What decisions & actions are they responsible for?
- Questions/Barriers -- What uncertainties does the client face? Is there language or jargon does the client not understand? What gets in their way?
- Motivations/Needs -- What will keep people moving through the process? What information, benefits, motions, values, etc. will help them move forward?
- Gaps -- What’s missing right now from the process for the client? For the team?
When you’ve finished, areas for possible improvement will become clear. Consider how to improve your process, structure, or the information you share to address the gaps and barriers you discover. Then prioritize which ones you want to tackle first.
Finally, feel free to share this tool with others. If you do, all I ask is that you credit me.
And, if you use the worksheet for your own work, let us know how it goes and what you learned!