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CMSWire Contributor Q&A With Tobias Komischke: Next-Level Customer Journey Mapping

10 minute read
Dom Nicastro avatar
CMSWire Managing Editor Dom Nicastro catches up with CMSWire Contributor Tobias Komischke on customer journey mapping and "jobs to be done."

The quest to deliver a great customer experience through design comes with the need to have a structured process in place. Two methods in particular enable customer experience professionals to accomplish this task: Journey Maps and Jobs to Be Done.

CMSWire Contributor Tobias Komischke shared that message in his article earlier this year, Using Customer Journey Maps and Jobs to Be Done for a Better Customer Experience. "These methods lead us from a fundamental needs analysis to an action plan for delivering products and services that customers really need," Komischke wrote.

We caught up with Tobias for a Q&A on the topic. Editor's note: This transcript is edited for clarity.

Dominic Nicastro: Hey, Dominic Nicastro here, managing editor at CMSWire. We're with our latest outstanding CMSWire contributor, Tobias Komischke, UX Fellow at Infragistics. What's going on Tobias?

Tobias Komischke: Hey, Dom, how are you?

Nicastro: Good. How are you?

Komischke: Pretty good. Thank you. 

Nicastro: So good to be joining you. Is that sunny Princeton, N. J., in the background? Or is that a phony background I see? 

Komischke: Yeah, that's my dreamy background. I'm not sure where it is. But I see palm trees, which I could really use right now.

Challenges of Customer Journey Mapping

Nicastro: Yeah. I’m in the northeast, with me being in Boston (since moving to the Granite State), you being in Jersey, we're always dreaming of somewhere down South, you know. We’re not exactly thinking of going to Canada anytime soon with the weather. But nonetheless, here we are. Your latest article is talking about, you know, journey maps, and everything in between. And, you know, when I think, Tobias, of journey mapping, you know, and CX, I think of these little Post-it notes all over the walls, and everyone's getting excited in a room. And they're like, yes, yes, let's do that. Let's do that. Take that. Put it in the file. But there's got to be some challenges around this. I mean, what are some of the common challenges you see with being in journey mapping?

Komischke: Yeah, I think you're right there. They are fun, you know, to be creative. But there are some issues there, in terms of failure modes. I think one is that it's really important that the whole journey map reflects the customer's perspective and not your own. Right? As we create them, it's so easy to just think about our own view on this. And a symptom of that is if you see a customer journey map that says, well, here is the first touchpoint between the customer and us. And here's the second one, here's the third one, you know, touchpoints, maybe a website or a service call, a sales call. 

But guess what, the customers may have many more steps and touchpoints beyond yours. Then the question is, do you know about them? Do you know what happens there? Because maybe there's an opportunity for you as a company to say, I think we are really in the position to help the customers in that phase. We have not done that before. They have not engaged with us in this particular step. But we may be able to help them quite well. So I think that is one of the issues. 

And I think the other issue is that sometimes journey maps are being created without customer involvement, without having real data from customers. 

Nicastro: Wow. 

Komischke: And that's not great, right? Because that's just you dreaming. And so if you really have no customer insights, that's not great. But yeah, you could then create your own customer journey map as a hypothesis. Right? Fine, call it a draft, whatever. But you have to verify it at some point with customers, you have to have the VoC, the voice of the customer, to verify that assumption. 

So I think that's two and maybe a third one is, what impact does your journey map have? Why is it a great result? An artifact that you as CX team create? But then, who's taking this in? Who do you report this out to? What impact does it have? Why if you have it and nothing happens to it, and with it, then why do you even do it? Right? That's a huge problem.

Related Article: 4 Strategic Approaches to Customer Journey Mapping

What Is the Jobs-to-Be-Done Approach?

Nicastro: That's right. There's so many times, Tobias, in a business sense, where I feel we all congratulate ourselves on doing something, where we get really intense and we work hard. You know, we work hard, we go into these meetings and we say, this is how we're going to do this going forward. This is the journey map we're going to create. And then it just becomes a sort of document that lives somewhere and it goes away. Right? You go back to the same old processes. So taking it to the next level is the key. And one of the things you talked about in the article is the jobs-to-be-done approach. First of all, I love that title, jobs to be done. I feel like that's like my wife's approach. Jobs to be done. Jobs to be done. Don't lay on the couch. Do not lay on it. But what, how do you, what is that in reference to in terms of CX in journey maps?

Learning Opportunities

Komischke: Yeah, I think it reflects that what's really important is to understand the reason why customers actually pay for your product or service or whatever you have to offer. It is because they want to accomplish something, to get something done, a job that needs to be done. And that means they may want to get entertained, right? Maybe that's a computer game. Maybe they want a B2B scenario. They want to purchase something from another company to bring in some abilities for their own company. No matter what it is, your product, your offering for the customer is just a means to an end. Right? And so that's the saying, you know, people don't want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. But the drill is really just a means to an end to get that hole in the wall to put a shelf on it. There may be other ways to do the same thing. And so jobs to be done is really the approach to understand what are the basic root needs that people have. 

Do you understand that? Do you know that? These needs, they could be open and stated, they could be unstated. But in either way, we need to understand this because in an outside-in world, they need to understand what the market needs are, and then we want to serve that market. And why I think jobs to be done is really good for anybody in customer and user experiences. It's worth the effort of identifying them, you know. How do you do this — with interviews and questionnaires and field studies. It's an effort.

But I believe it's really worth it because the needs are pretty timeless, they persist over a long time. While the technology that helps solve them, they change all the time. So for example, people have a need to be up to date on world affairs or local affairs, whatever way they want to get the news. Twenty years ago, the main thing was you had a newspaper and you read that newspaper.

Today, how do we get our news? It's on the phone or on a tablet or computer. So the need has not changed at all. But the solution has changed. And you could argue today's solution is better than the old solution because the news is much more up to date, compared to a newspaper that has to be printed and distributed. 

You could also argue that I have my news on the same device, my phone that I also use it for other things like making phone calls? The newspaper is a separate thing that I have to schlep around and buy and then tuck away in the recycling bin, right? So I really believe if you understand the basic needs of customers, and you can tie them in different phases, like on the journey map, you can profit from that knowledge for a very long time because the needs persist. 

Related Article: Getting the Most From Your Customer Journey Maps

Customer Experience Research Is Getting More Strategic

Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. And, going forward, what are some of the things you're watching in the next few months? You know, 2022 and beyond, and in VoC, in voice of the customer, and potentially some article fodder for you down the road? What can readers expect out of Tobias?

Komischke: OK. It's funny, just today, a company called User Research published their annual user research report, where they have statistics about, you know, is this trending up trending down, whatnot. I mean, they just confirmed, but I think all of us in that field, see that the buy-in of companies to invest in this, to have staff and to fund research studies is going up. The buy-in has gone up. The number of companies who actually do active user research and customer research goes up. So I think that trend has been there for a while. I don't think it's stopping because the more you understand your customers, the more tailored you can give them offerings that they pay for. So I think that will continue. 

And with that, I see probably a trend where that research getting more strategic, away from “Oh, I right now have a question.” Can you just ask some customers, get some answers. That's great. But a year later, nobody will even remember what you did. And nobody will remember the results. Today, there's good offerings out in the market, like we use research repositories that allow you to actually tag results, organize results, distribute the results, you can do meta-analysis. And so maybe a year later, when nobody remembers that you actually did something, a question comes up, and you can just say, well, oh, I think we did something about this. Let me try to find it and with a few mouse clicks, you have that knowledge from them.

Nicastro: Yeah, I think it's the No. 1 business challenge in terms of customer experiences, is knowing or maintaining that knowledge, that research, that data from the past. And you can have a great idea and throw it into Slack. Right? And it just goes poof, it just disappears. No one remembers, no one takes it and makes it actionable. So it's gonna be great. I'm looking forward to following that trend and those trends in software, too. 

So, Tobias Komischke, we can't thank you enough for being a CMSWire contributor. It is our differentiator. What separates us that we have people like you contributing to our website, so we cannot thank you enough and we're looking forward to the next couple of articles

Komischke: Well thank you for having me, Dom.

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