That’s not too much to ask from Santa, is it?!

Well, good thing he has a little helper elf to set you on the path to achieving customer understanding.

I wrote this book called Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business) earlier this year and published it in early September. It was a lot of fun to write (well, OK, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word), and I’m extremely happy with the outcome and with the feedback so far. (Check out the reviews on Amazon!) As far as accomplishments go, it’s right there at the top for me.

I’m often asked what I want readers to take away from the book. Please don’t be fooled; this is not just a book about customer journey mapping. Yes, a lot of folks automatically connect me to the fine art of journey mapping, and I’m quite OK with that. But I know – and subsequently do – so much more with and for my clients. I spend a lot of time coaching CCOs and CX leaders about developing a soup-to-nuts CX strategy, which includes the building blocks of a successful strategy (and customer understanding is one of those blocks).

So, back to the question: what do I want readers to take away from the book?

The main thing I’d like you to know is that customer understanding really is the cornerstone of customer-centricity. In order to develop a customer-centric culture, it’s important to know that it means that the culture is deliberately designed – there’s a commitment from the top – to put the customer at the heart of all you do. That means that no discussions, no decisions, and no designs are had/made/done without bringing in the customer voice. You cannot design a customer-centric business without bringing the customer – and especially your understanding of customer needs, pain points, problems to solve, and jobs to be done – into your day-to-day operations. I spend some time at the beginning of the book laying the foundation for this.

The second thing I want you to know is that there are three ways to achieve customer understanding: listening (surveys and data), characterizing (design personas), and empathizing (journey maps). They are all important, and they all work together. I go into some detail on all three of these in the book.

The third thing that really stands out in the book is the last several chapters. They contain details about the journey mapping process. I want you to know that journey mapping is a tool and a process. You must know the tool and embrace the process; if you don’t, your mapping efforts will be a waste of time. I spend a good chunk of the latter portion of the book taking you through the process and outlining exactly how to conduct your own workshops.

Why then do I spend a disproportionate number of pages of the book on the how of journey mapping? Because it is an extremely powerful tool (and process) in your experience management toolkit. Journey maps inform your CX strategy in a variety of ways – so much so that I like to call them the backbone of your experience management strategy. (Download the CEM Backbone graphic on this page.)

And the fourth thing that you should know: everything I write about in the book can be applied to the employee experience (or any other constituent’s experience), as well!

To learn more about the book and to get more details about the answer to the question about what I want readers to takeaway, check out the following podcasts and interviews:

Check out the Book page of this site and the Resources sub-page for links to some of the resources from the book.

I’ll have more podcasts to add to this list in the coming weeks. I’m always happy to talk about the book and its contents!

If you’ve purchased the book, I’d love to hear your feedback on it. Please share it in the comments below and/or add a review on Amazon. If you haven’t purchased it yet, I’d invite you to. Those who’ve read it have told me it’s well worth it!

Just remember this: You can’t transform something you don’t understand.

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. Her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business), is available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.