Customer Journey Mapping and Touchpoint analysis are hot topics right now. Do an internet search on each and you’ll find lots of great content. But what is “episode analysis” and why is it important?

If you search “Episode Analysis” your results are flooded by “Game of Thrones” references.   There is lots of great content on Customer Journey Mapping as well as Touchpoint Analysis, but why is this vital component overlooked?    Let’s briefly define the three tools and how they can be used to improve your Customer Experience.


Customer Journey Map – This is an end to end view of what your customer(s) experience in dealing with your company.    Using a consumer example, this would go back to 1999, when after hearing several friends’ positive experiences about Amazon, I subsequently placed my first order and continues to this day where daily essentials are delivered on my porch, and I watch Prime Video on several devices.  It’s worth noting that the “buyer’s journey” (learning about a problem, identifying options, choosing a vendor) is included in the Customer Journey Map. While a complete view is important, so we can deeply understand our customers, a 20-year journey is too much to manage, which is where episode analysis comes in.


Episode Analysis – This breaks down what a customer is doing digitally, physically, and emotionally during an event that they define.   Using a consumer example again, a recent episode was “plan my child’s birthday party.”     If Amazon mapped this episode, it would start with the discussion of “what’s the theme” and “looking at options online.”  The emotions that the buyer (my wife) and influencer (my daughter) personas experienced when choosing the perfect theme.   Amazon would not stop at our interactions with them. They would look at other items we bought (i.e., cake, balloons, plates, etc.) from different vendors and items we made ourselves (i.e., activities, sandwiches, etc.)   Thinking through the episodes lets you create a manageable view of your Customer Journey and can be useful in identifying “white space” areas where you can drive more value for them.


Touchpoint Analysis – This is a deep dive into one particular touchpoint.   The touchpoint is defined in the customer’s mind.   As Amazon has learned, the customer does not define the touchpoint as when they click “buy,” but when the physical item is in their hands.  The power of touchpoint analysis comes when you look at the different functions of your ecosystem come together to deliver on this.  What are the handoffs, and how do I ensure consistent excellence.   Which individuals are “on stage” (the UPS driver who hands me the package) and which are “off stage” (the web developers, warehouse team, package sorters)?    While the customer feels the friction at the “on stage” point (received the wrong item), we need to look at the different handoffs within each touchpoint to identify the root cause, so that it’s addressed properly).


As you can see, each of these tools has a place in your Customer Experience Transformation.  When doing this work, what are important considerations:


  • Be Outside-In – How you define the stages, and the language you use must be the customers. This is an important step in changing the language internally at your company.  We want the customer’s language to take over.   If you think through the buyer’s journey, you are not “generating a lead.”  In the customer’s eyes, they have identified a problem or opportunity where they think they need help.   They are learning about different options.


  • Prioritize – You simply cannot create a journey map for every single customer and/or every solution that you offer. Your Account Segmentation can quickly identify the customer types that you should map.   This should also provide you with a good view of the products/solutions that drive the most margin for your company.   For most companies, you can quickly get to an 80/20 view of which journeys, episodes, and touchpoints are most worthy of your energy.


  • Act on the information – We will write on this in more depth, but nothing is more frustrating than talking about the challenges with a product, and never seeing improvements. Prioritizing the improvements you make, and communicating them internally and externally is vital to your Customer Experience Transformation.


With your customer life cycle efforts, having the right listening paths is vital to building the initial views, as well as maintaining them over time.


Perhaps when the hit series runs its course, Episode Analysis will get is due in search results, but in the interim, download our Episode Analysis Tool, that you can use to map the key episodes in your customer’s journey.   If you need help, please feel free to contact us, and one of our experts will get in touch with you.


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