Your Journey to Ease of Doing Business
We have already written about Ease of Doing Business extensively. And we will continue to do so. Why, you might ask? Because it’s that important. We see the challenges as pervasive—across virtually all the organizations we have spoken to, worked with, and researched. As a result, we want to highlight any approaches we can to help organizations score some quick wins by becoming systematically easier to do business with.
Love to Hate Journey Mapping
One such technique uses journey mapping. We just love to hate journey mapping—mostly because it’s so often viewed as a panacea for all thing wrong with Customer Experience… and beyond. Your customers are dissatisfied? Journey map! Your user interface is rotten? Journey map! Too many service requests? Journey map! Loyalty scores are low? Journey map! Your revenue is down? Journey map! The business is under-performing? Journey map! If only it were that simple.
Journey mapping is a useful tool, but it has to be applied narrowly, for a very specific purpose. In the case of Ease of Doing Business, we apply bits and pieces of it to identify HOTSPOTS where friction is especially egregious.
Focus on Ease of Doing Business Hotspots
So far, in our Ease of Doing Business series, we have discussed exactly what it means, why it’s so important, how buyers and sellers think about it differently, what the typical business drivers are, what sort of capabilities are required for an effective program, how to build a business case, and—most recently—some critical success factors in making yourself easier to do business with. We believe you can very effectively use journey mapping to quickly identify a handful of these hotspots where customers are especially at risk for defection to effect real change, really fast.
How to Do This In 7 Steps
Identify and characterize prototypical buying personas. Typically, this would include the personas’ background, some demographic data, key identifiers, goals & challenges, and some discussion on what we as the seller can do to help to address those goals & challenges.
Create the initial Ease of Doing Business Map, doing this with a view of the customer lifecycle and each of the most important channels to market. Lifecycle phases can take any form, but we typically use something like: define need; research fulfillment of need; select provider; buy; receive goods or services; use goods or services; maintain; and recommend to the next buyer.
Identify the Ease of Doing Business Hotspots along this journey based on customer, front line employee, intermediary (as appropriate), back office, and management team input. You would be surprised by how valuable the back office (legal, accounts payable, contracts, accounts receivable, etc.) is.
Rinse and repeat. Iterate the personas, the map, and the hotspots through a combination of interviews and workshops and reconcile the hotspots with the typical Ease of Doing Business Drivers seen in research.
Prioritize the hotspots based on how easy and inexpensive it would be to implement fixes versus the positive impact those fixes will have on customers and your employees. Obviously, the hotspots that are easy to fix, inexpensive, and highly impactful to both customers and employees will be the first things you will want to tackle.
Further test the most actionable hotspots by holding them up against your CEO’s vision and priorities for the business and make sure there is line of sight to enterprise operational and financial metrics as well. If you’ve been following along for the last several weeks, these are elements of the business case.
Lastly, select the critical few to turn into initiatives and build out a project plan for each, including change management imperatives and a scorecard that will help you gauge incremental progress. You will definitely want to assign tag teams, as discussed last week, to guide each initiative.
Where to Start
We like to start with a customer survey and a series of customer, internal executive, and front-line employee interviews. That will give you the starting point for the personas and for putting the actual journey map together. And, as always, we’re here to help. If you haven’t already, check out the Ease of Doing Business Accelerator. There’s a public version, where we bring 4-5 companies together for a session that benefits from sharing of best practices and lessons learned across businesses and industries. And there’s a private version where we do a deep dive for one company.
That’s it for now. See you again next week.
Jeb & Curtis