Quality work is table stakes, not a competitive advantage. Lots of firms deliver quality work and many clients cannot tell the difference between great work and average work. In contrast, the client experience is a powerful differentiator. Very few firms can deliver an outstanding client experience consistently. Those that can scale. The tool they use to do so is called a journey map. Attend this session and learn what a journey map is, and how to create and use them effectively.
Greg Alexander [00:00:10] Welcome to the Pro Serv Podcast, a podcast for leaders of thriving boutique professional services firms. If you’re not familiar with us, Collective 54 is the first mastermind community focused on the unique needs of founders of boutique professional services firms. My name’s Greg Alexander. I’m the founder and I’m going to be your host today. On in this episode, we’re going to talk about one of the most important tools that services firms have at their disposal being best in class. And this tool can make a significant improvement in many areas of your business. And the tool I’m referring to is the journey map. And we have a role model with us today who’s an expert at this. His name is Miles. I’m going to mispronounce your last name. I’ll say it for me. Kelburn Kelburn. I was going to say Kelburn. So thank you for that. And Miles, it’s good to see you. Would you introduce yourself and your firm to the audience?
Miles Kailburn [00:01:13] Certainly. Thanks for having me on today. We are a 17 year old creative firm located in northern Colorado, primarily focused on high lifetime value segments and client industries. And our company is OTM. You’ll find us at Time.com.
Greg Alexander [00:01:35] All right, Very good. So let’s let’s start from the basics. You know, we have some young emerging firms here, and this term might not be familiar to them. So what is a journey map?
Miles Kailburn [00:01:46] Simply put, a journey map is a visual representation of whichever audience you’re going after. Could be employees, that could be customers. Anything that we’re we’re tracking. But really, it’s it’s a visual representation of the process that they go through, whether it’s employment, buying services, things like that.
Greg Alexander [00:02:06] Okay. And let’s let’s take those one at a time here. So if I have a journey map and let’s say I want to use it for service delivery because I want my client to have an exceptional experience, how might I use it in that context?
Miles Kailburn [00:02:25] It’s a great question. And I just walked out of a service delivery meeting where we were going through that right now on SEO and social services. So. The first thing is to go through and map out what are the touch points in terms of I guess, first, are we looking at securing new work or delivering existing work to existing clients?
Greg Alexander [00:02:47] So I’m going to get to the new work in a moment, but for this example, delivering existing work.
Miles Kailburn [00:02:52] All right. So that’s what we’re going to map out. First is what our client engagement experience is. So we’re going to look at that typically on our side on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. And so we’re going to map out all the touchpoints that we need to have with a client and really also what are the touch points and areas and timing of their business that they need to communicate with us. We’re going to lay that out kind of on a linear, flat visual map. There’s some great tools at mural near Miro smartly to to map that out. And then from there we’re going to look at what are the emotions that are driving that on the customer side, Where where are there intentional opportunities to align with the customer that we can get ahead of that we can predict? And then from there, we’re going to start to build our services really around that map.
Greg Alexander [00:03:46] Okay, some terminology here. So touch points. What is a touchpoint?
Miles Kailburn [00:03:52] Touchpoint would be any engagement that a prospective client or existing client has with our brand. So that could be visiting a website, reading a newsletter, engaging in social for the existing client side. It’s typically going to be more around our IT within our client engagement model. It’s going to be more around client meetings, client cadence, client reviews. Typically anything that account services leading is going to be a communication touchpoint.
Greg Alexander [00:04:25] Yeah, Okay. Very good. And our audience here today is our members. So I’ll use Collective 54 as an example because they’ve all gone through this. An example of a touchpoint for us is your onboarding session. You know, we know that if you get onboarded well and it’s a good experience and then we’re off to the races and things are going to work out when onboarding does not go well, which sometimes happens for a variety of reasons, then you know, it’s a rocky road from there and we’re in recovery mode right away. So that’s an example of a touchpoint, that’s a milestone on a journey map. And, you know, highlighting that and recognizing it for the level of importance that it has and being really good at it is what a journey map would help you do. Now, you mentioned the word emotions, which I have to double click on because I completely agree with you on this, because sometimes with clients it’s not necessarily what you deliver them, although that is important, of course, but it’s how they feel in the project itself and emotions can get in the way. So for example, when someone comes to our onboarding session, they they kind of know like what they just bought, but not really. So they’re coming at it with, you know, a fair amount of skepticism. And then we need to know that. And so therefore we kind of go overboard in how we explain things to remove some of that skepticism and get them to open up a bit. So emotions plays a huge role here. So, Miles, how does how does your firm help clients? Because I know you do this for a living as well as use it yourself. How do you help people identify what those emotions may be?
Miles Kailburn [00:06:00] The emotions are. I mean, to your point, that’s that’s almost almost a majority of what you’re managing from. From analyzing that, it really comes down to a bunch of different touch points. Some of it’s qualitative, some of it’s quantitative. So we use focus groups a lot. We use session recording tools like Hotjar that will record website activity to look at hesitancy and delay. But really it comes down to watching the customer in one way or another. We can you and I can sit in a room and we can hypothesize what what a pinpoint is to a perspective or where the emotional state of a prospective collective 54 member or potential sales prospect. But that doesn’t really do us enough good until we actually sit down and have those conversations like you guys do with your prospective members in measure that go back, look at the journey map. Are we addressing these touch points or are these emotions at the right touch point? And what could we do differently maybe leading into that onboarding process or things like that to actually influence that emotion?
Greg Alexander [00:07:16] Yep. Very good. Now, these are used also in the sales process with new prospects, not just with existing clients during client discovery or client delivery. Excuse me, is it the process basically this the same into supply differently or is it an entirely different process?
Miles Kailburn [00:07:35] The way we do it as well will basically take a look at the full funnel. So we’re going to look at it from a marketing and sales perspective first. So we’ll start to map through the marketing marketing process. So looking at awareness, consideration and acquisition and so working basically top down tracking that prospect or that persona really from the point at which they are even entertaining the idea of joining a group, buying a car or whatever, that, that buying that customer journey is all the way down through the marketing channels. The transition from marketing qualified lead an MQ out to a sales qualified lead, handing that over to the sales process. And then from there it’s a it is a separate journey inside of the sales process, but we look at it as a linear extension of that marketing, qualified marketing customer journey cycle, because really we’re looking at what is the customer’s experience or perspective customers experience going through that whole process. And then once they become a customer, then it serves to nurture and client engagement, so commonly referred to as a bow tie funnel. But really at that point, once they’re signed, you basically start a whole new customer journey.
Greg Alexander [00:08:55] Tell us what a bow tie bow tie funnel is.
Miles Kailburn [00:09:00] So think of two triangles that meet in the middle and the pointy side. But basically you’ve got your customer journey coming in, you’re attracting customers, you’re nurturing them, you’re getting them into your sales table. So from left to right, that’s getting a little more narrow. And that that center point in between is the conversion that client has purchased. The client has signed up, and at that point you actually start the process all over again, just well further on the right hand side of the spectrum. And that becomes what we would consider a client engagement model. So instead of looking at how are we heading them up with drip campaigns and nurturing their sales process, it’s how are we nurturing them as a customer? Are we having the right meeting cadences? Are we delivering things as planned, and are we doing our quarterly business reviews and things like that at the right cadences?
Greg Alexander [00:09:54] Okay, got it. If I’m a member and I don’t have a journey map and I want to get started, but I might be paralyzed because I don’t even know how to take the first two or three steps. What do I do?
Miles Kailburn [00:10:07] It’s a little funny, but the first thing I would do is the accidental way we got into this is I would go Google Starbucks journey map. There’s a couple of visuals. It we accidentally stumbled across it a decade ago, and it’s an incredibly well structured document that outlines the buying process and considerations that go into getting that daily cup of coffee. And it’s pretty spot on. I would take a look at that first. That’s pretty easy to wrap your head around as we’ve all gone through Starbucks going from there and actually putting it into use, the two resources would be smartly applied. They are a very large customer journey focused platform, but they’ve got a lot of resources. And then video audio, which is IDL, has some human centered service design courses that you can take and those are really fantastic, maybe 4 to 6 week boot camps that really can get you going from from nothing to your first map.
Greg Alexander [00:11:12] Awesome. And the first one just to do the spell again. S a l. P y.
Miles Kailburn [00:11:18] S a ap l y a map.
Greg Alexander [00:11:23] My, my, my dyslexia is getting the best of me simply because.
Miles Kailburn [00:11:31] I want to. Yeah. Napoli Yeah, and they’ve got a lot of great resources.
Greg Alexander [00:11:37] So who in a firm should own this? Not only the creation of it for the first time, but I would imagine it gets heavily iterated against who owns us.
Miles Kailburn [00:11:46] It’s a great clash and we see it as a cross-functional resource. So with our clients, we work with about 45 brands, pretty much all of them adopt customer Journey as a focus at the leadership level, typically at the CEO level. They’re not the ones leading it, but once we once we can align with the CEO around leveraging and managing towards and building towards customer journeys, that really allows us to build through the cross-functional teams, whether it’s customer experience, marketing, sales, h.R. And so in most of our clients, really, the ownership is usually spread out across two or three department heads that are each managing it in their own areas. We’ve got clients that use them for professional development, onboarding internally, externally sales, marketing, even down to how to build a house. Our clients have kind of taken journey maps as really the source of truth for almost everything they deliver, which has been absolutely exciting to see.
Greg Alexander [00:12:56] Yeah, I’ll share a story to bring all this to life as maybe a way to put a bow on our session. So I had dinner with a gentleman Tuesday night this week. He reached out to me, called on LinkedIn and said, Hey, I read your book and I’m going to be in Dallas on a business meeting. I’d like to come see you. And I looked him up and he looked like somebody that would fit well with our community. So I said, Sure. So I went and met him for dinner. And he he’s really great guy. And I was so glad that he reached out and said, So what did you think of the book? And he’s like, Well, he goes, I read it about two years ago. And right there I was, dropped my fork in my plate. I’m like, What? So all of my assumptions of my journey map kind of went away. I’m like, So you read it two years ago and here we are tonight. So like, what happened? And he’s like, Well, I started listening to your podcasts and you mentioned at the end of your podcast, so that told me my call to action was working. He goes, and I went back and listen to it this time via the Kindle audio version. So and I didn’t know that right in there. I am kind of not really paying attention to those early steps in the journey map. And then he went from listening to audio and to reaching out to me, which is, you know, the idea behind content marketing. And here we are face to face. And it was something about the audio that did it as opposed to the text, you know, audio, all of it more intimate, you know, not a flat, that kind of thing. So just as an example for the audience that, you know, really understanding the behavior, the journey that a prospect or client goes on can help you make informed decisions in so many different ways.
Miles Kailburn [00:14:35] Well, Greg, one point in there is you mentioned duration. You know, everyone has their own duration and that might be a little bit on the farther side, but respecting the duration that the customers are organically going to go through allows you to really back your tactics and and decisions to align with that and in our opinion, respect the customer journey. Yeah.
Greg Alexander [00:14:59] Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, in fact, if I had known that he had read the book two weeks ago, my aggressive sales guys might have reached out to him and it probably would have backfired. Like he that wasn’t the way he wanted to go through it. So I guess I got lucky in that scenario. All right. Let me let me summarize a few things here. So for members that are listening to this, you’re going to get a meeting invite for the exclusive private member Q&A session. And this will allow us to double click on this much more than we can do so on a shorter podcast. And it gives you the opportunity to ask Myles your questions directly to him. So I highly encourage you to attend that. For nonmembers that are listening, get off your, you know what and become a member and you can do that. A collective 54 icon fill out a form and some will follow up with you if you don’t want to get off your you know what and you want to just, you know, investigate a little bit more. Check out the book that I just mentioned. Ironically, it’s called The Boutique How to Start Scale Sell in Professional Services Firm authored by yours Truly, Greg Alexander. And again, you can find that on Amazon. With that, Miles, you know, the way that collective works is, is we make deposits in the collective body of knowledge so that we all benefit from it and we share best practices, and that’s how we all get smarter. So you made a big contribution today. So on behalf of all the members, I want to thank you for being here.
Miles Kailburn [00:16:15] My pleasure. I’ve been on the receiving side of that for a long time. So happy to give back. Greg Alexander [00:16:19] Okay, Very good. All right. Until next time, I wish you luck as you try to grow, scale and sell your firm. Take care.