Brown Guacamole and How to Leverage Journey Maps with Unhappy Customers

I want to tell a story about brown guacamole. My first story about brown guacamole, and hopefully my last. Heres what happened: I visited a local burrito shop around lunchtime and purchased chips and guacamole. The cashier reached back and said he had an extra helping in the fridge. My cilantro-sense went off immediately. Is that from yesterday? I asked half joking. No, he replied with some hesitation. I brought the guacamole home and when I took it out of the bag, it was a shade of brown. Ugh.

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Like any millennial, I decided to rail against the company on social media. Like any robot system, they replied to my tweet with a link to an online form to make things right. The form read like a police report for a Mexican food crime. Where had this happened? What did I purchase? When did this occur? What time of day? Sure Mr. Vendor, let me recount this horrific experience minute by minute so you can send me a gift certificate for a restaurant I probably wont go back to.

The real irony in this story? I brought the food home to take a customer call in which the customer lets call him Frank- was unhappy with my companys product. I had never spoken with Frankbefore. So, prior to the call, I spent the morning researching the situation to arm myself with a journey map of Franks experience.

I researched the sales process: How long was the process? What was said to Juan? What was Franks business need? What were the expectations? Was Frank the decision maker?

I researched the product experience for the customer. How often had Frank logged in? When did Frank perform key actions or reach milestones?

I researched support tickets. Was Frank trained on our product? How many tickets had Frank logged? What was the basis for the support tickets?

By researching different touchpoints, I was able to piece together a cohesive customer journey. When the call began, Frank didnt have to repeat his issues (which had been aired out a few times before). Instead, I summarized hisproblems in finedetail. I allowed Frank the opportunity to voice any further issues but he had none. Throughout the rest of the situation, we chatted. I successfully sprinkled in nuances of Franks journey: Back in October when you signed up, Our customers should never have to log five support tickets in a month, When you spoke with our specialist I wanted Frank to feel likehe was our only customer. I expect he felt that way.

Empathy can take a lot of forms, but recounting the customers experience (especially when its a negative one) conveys that you care. Furthermore, it shows that you understand the time theyve committed to the issue and frustrations theyve endured. It wont fix the underlying problem, but it will build an even stronger relationship between the customer, you and the rest of your team. That relationship has a far greater value than a refund, a bug fix or an improvement to your product or service.

Oh, and if youre wondering yeah, I ate the guacamole anyway.

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