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  • Writer's pictureSara Elmstrom

You don’t always have to think disruption in CX

Sometimes it’s better just being bloody good and focussing on the Moments That Matter

Improving the customer experience

There are some touch points that are more meaningful than others – the Moments That Matter

In the business world, we can get obsessed with powerful buzz words like ‘disruption’ which took off in 1997 with Claytons Christensen’s book ‘The Innovators Dilemma’. Disruption is happening all around us and is being accelerated by COVID-19 – and it must be part of the strategy discussion. However, these concepts can distract us from focussing on customer fundamentals. It is rare that customers talk about their need for disruption, brilliantly captured in the Tom Fishburne cartoon.

When it comes to your customer, digital and operations’ strategy my view is that delivering ”brilliant basics” is as important as the “magic moments” (as Virgin Atlantic described their service strategy). If your focus becomes too broad, or you’re looking for that one game changer, you can get distracted from being the best you can be in the moment.

I believe in ‘progress, not perfection’, starting with the Moments That Matter when developing a customer experience strategy.

Be careful not to overcomplicate journey mapping as that can make it hard to execute

I am an advocate of customer journey mapping and design, but also passionate about finding simple, quick win solutions, to really enhance what you do for the customer. But why does improving this experience often seem so hard?

I’ve seen three common pitfalls with customer journey mapping:

  1. It becomes too ideological with a vision and objectives that are not practical and cannot be delivered. We’re not here to change the world or take a higher purpose on this one; we want to deliver great sales, service and confidence in what we do for our clients and customers. That is all.

  2. It becomes an exercise of micro-managing defects or technology problems. Small issues, raised by a handful of customers (or the CEO), can become big issues and distract from the main game. Often these small issues will be fixed by the overall solution.

  3. Not enough time is spent on enabling the staff to deliver the improved customer journeys. I’m talking about more than simply involving them in the design process. It must evolve into “This is the way we do things around here” and become embedded in the culture.

What common pitfalls have you observed in the customer journey mapping and design process?

What can we do about it?

Here are a few things that I have found effective in customer journey mapping and design over my career.

I start by outlining the objectives that matter, taking a balanced view of culture, customer and commercial outcomes. We call this the Triple Play and have integrated this philosophy into our pragmatic Moments That Matter journey mapping approach, outlined below.

When designing your customer journey map consider the following:

1.Customer. What are the desired customer outcomes you are looking for? Define and prioritise the Moments That Matter. What is it critical that we get right? Are there things that if we get right, transform the whole experience for customers and the business?

Look outside the organisation and your industry. Someone will be doing it better.

2. Commercial. By focusing on the Moments That Matter the investment can sometimes be covered by divesting in the moments that don’t. Sometimes it is important to stop as much as start or keep doing things. Ideally you become more operationally effective, but also efficient and lower the net cost to serve.

3. Culture. As none of this will happen without the teams serving the customer, I start with the outcomes for the staff. What do we want our people to do and our service culture to look like? How do they feel about the current service process? What do we need to do differently?

I have always agreed with Richard Branson “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”, which in turn leads to great commercial outcomes.

Some practical examples of Moments That Matter

Insurance Claims

Whether it be personal injury, motor/home, pet, business or health related claims, the initial contact (FNOL or First Notice of Loss) with the customer is critical. I define this as a Moment That Matters .

The customer has taken the time to tell us about what happened and may be in an emotional state, so the claim really is the moment of truth for an insurance brand’s reputation and customer experience.

I am surprised that there is still significant under investment in FNOL service teams as this is the chance to set up the claims experience for the best possible customer and commercial outcome. This is the time to shine.

Done well, this touch point ensures:

  • Effective triage. The ability to fast track the simple claims and set up the complex and costly ones effectively.

  • Effective customer engagement. As the customer is clear on the next steps, this reduces the need for call backs. They feel they have been listened to, shown empathy and communicated with effectively while the company reduces the time in the claim lifecycle.

  • Accurate liability assessments. There are no nasty surprises for the customer and this sets up an effective recoveries process for the insurance company potentially reducing claims costs.

Online Retail – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I have been doing a lot of online shopping in the last six months (as I suspect a lot of us have during the pandemic.) The Moment That Matters for me has not been the shopping experience, but at the end of the journey when the brands communicate the delivery of the product.

Will I actually receive the goods or have I been scammed? It sounds simple, but the differences in customer experience can be quite stark.

  • The Good. I had delivery timeframe expectations managed up front and frequent communication as to where my purchase was at. I felt confident and didn’t need to worry. I didn’t contact this company again – apart from my positive feedback that I will shop with them again in future.

  • The Bad. This company communicated an expected delivery time, but that was about it. And when the product didn’t arrive, I got nervous. I felt I had to contact the company and of course couldn’t get through. The goods did finally arrive, which was a nice surprise but I am unlikely to put myself through this experience again.

  • The Ugly. There was a lack of communication about delivery so I attempted to contact the company four times, without response, even when I finally requested to cancel the order. I’m still chasing and that was three months ago. I’m guessing this one was a scam, although their nice-looking website is still up!


We start with the Triple Play and apply the lens of culture, customer & commercials across service delivery channels whether that be digital, voice or face to face. Our practical experience allows us to quickly identify the points of friction and the Moments That Matter through simple customer and operational journey mapping.

The difference is, we don’t stop there. We then work to embed these Moments That Matter into the service delivery culture of the organisation.

I hope this article helps you think about customer journey mapping differently and deliver experiences which truly focus on the Moments That Matter.

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