Keep the Customer Journey in Mind at All Times - Key to Your Success


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  • Poor Integration is Bad for Customer Journey and Worse for Brands

    Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt in my mind that customer experience is here to stay. The brands that catch on to this truth, and commit to improving the customer journey, will be our service providers in the future.

    Do you need an example to make your business case in the board room? By all means, use our recent horrible experience with TD Bank Small Businesses Banking.

    Understanding Customers’ Needs is a Bare Minimum for Brands

    In his CCXP prep book, Michael Bartlett talks about the concept of jobs-to-be-done. Those jobs are customers’ needs. And they should be the drivers of the market (vs. products of industries). In this sense, a job could be paying a lawyer, making a bank deposit or linking a bank account to Quickbooks. According to Bartlett, understanding these jobs helps a brand understand its customers and deliver better customer experience.

    How does this relate to our TD Bank experience and our customer journey? We are a small consulting business with a TD business bank account. All of the above examples are core needs. The bank still has not met those needs.

    After such bad experience and no working policies or procedures for recovery, TD Bank probably lost a customer tonight. To make things worse, my business partner and I both already have existing personal banking relationships with TD Bank. This is an example of severe loss for TD. The bank did not just lose a new customer. It lost two loyal customers that have a pretty high lifetime value. Our business is growing…

    So, what happened?

    No Business or CX integration along Customer Journey

    TD Bank offers only one way for a small business to make a payment free of charge. Following the product design incentives, we chose that method – Bill Pay. Apparently, our payment of less than $2,500 was flagged by the third party system that processes the transaction for TD Bank. They locked our online access to the business account. By itself, that is not a problem. If that event was communicated and fixed through customer support. Instead, TD Bank did not reach out through any channel to inform us that: 1) our vendor is not getting paid; 2) we no longer have access to our account.

    Since this product is managed by a “partner” of TD Bank the bank’s customer support is NOT empowered to fix customers’ problems related to this service. It is not even clear if they have the ability to see what happens to their own customers along their journey. Allegedly, the vendor called me to ask me to validate the payment. Since I did not happen to pick up the phone, I was out of luck. Below you can see my analysis of the emotional and personal cost I paid to recover my experience with no success. We are still locked out of the account.

    Describe bad customer experience
    TD Bank Journey Map

    Procedures without the Customer Journey in Mind

    Let’s look at this example through the procedures lens. And identify the failures along the customer journey.

    Flagging an amount of less than $2,500 for a small business account is not a practical procedure. Monitoring accounts for fraud and making sure our funds are safe is one thing. Designing very conservative procedures that restrict the access to liquidity and limit the ability to do business is counter intuitive to the product value of “small business banking.” Even if there is more to the reason why this particular transaction was flagged. TD Bank should be able to provide clarity on that issue. At least that is what is expected from a transparent brand today.

    Instead, the three people we have spoken with have not been able to answer our questions the same way. It seems like there is no procedure for our incident since they also had different answers on next steps. Escalation also did not work here. Their supervisor had to follow a procedure that did allow him to call me or text me or email me back with an update.

    System Integration without Customer Journeys

    It is clear that the integration of TD Bank and the Bill Pay System was not designed with the customer in mind.

    Nobody thought about the customer experience or recovery. And there are no procedures, documentation, or access in place for TD Bank customer support agents to communicate or resolve customer issues proactively.

    Now, if my Bill Pay was a really rare customer job (paying somebody) in a bank, I could understand leaving this as is. The 80% / 20% rule does not allow for perfect customer experience design for all transactions. But since we know this is the only FREE way to pay people, I imagine this is more of the 80% jobs of small businesses.

    After two hours on the phone with three different agents and one supervisor, we still have no access to our small business bank account. We have not been able to pay our lawyer, deposit money, set up our new accounting system, or manage our finances properly. From a brand perception perspective, we have had five different touch points on the customer journey, more than half of which have been negative and none of which were successful.

    Prove It

    This experience is a great example of ROI that you will have a hell of a time proving to your CEO when you ask for complete integration that includes UX for your support team so they can actually assist customers.

    It may also help you get some funding to revise your procedures with the customer in mind vs. regulatory requirements alone. Last, but not least, perhaps you will be able to fund a phone system and procedure that will allow the supervisor I spoke with tonight the ability to CALL ME BACK to tell me what he did. Apparently, the money did not cover that feature…


    A detractor with a loud voice

    Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments

    Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.

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    Organizational Culture and Access to Information

    By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet.  It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.

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