I’ve just published a new report in response to all the great questions I’ve been getting about the customer experience ecosystem and the process of ecosystem mapping. Here are a couple of the questions (and answers!) from the report.

What is ecosystem mapping?

Ecosystem mapping is a collaborative process that helps companies identify the set of complex interdependencies that shape all of their interactions with customers. Typically conducted in a workshop setting, teams identify and document the people, processes, policies, and technologies that create the customer experience. This includes those parts of the ecosystem that are in plain view of customers as well as those parts that influence the customer experience from behind the scenes.

What benefits should companies expect to get out of ecosystem mapping?

Companies that undertake ecosystem mapping exercises can expect multiple benefits, including:

  • Detailed knowledge of customers’ journeys. When customers and frontline staff join ecosystem mapping workshops, teams can construct a detailed picture of what customers go through when they interact with their company. More often than not, teams identify interactions that frustrate customers as well as opportunities where companies could interact with customers, but don’t.
  • Greater understanding of the interdependencies within the ecosystem. Ecosystem mapping helps teams identify previously hidden people, processes, policies, and technologies — and the customer interactions they influence.
  • A prioritized list of root causes that need to be addressed. Understanding the complexities of the ecosystem is a good start, but customer experience professionals ultimately need to know which levers to pull in order to have the greatest impact on customers. Ecosystem mapping helps teams identify the root causes of problematic customer interactions, which helps teams prioritize fixes that will have the greatest ripple effects throughout the ecosystem.
  • Better communication across functional silos. Ecosystem mapping gets people talking. Companies that invite a broad cross-section of internal functions and external partners to ecosystem mapping workshops often find it’s the first time that many of these people have spoken about, let alone considered, work processes outside of their immediate roles in the context of customer interactions.

Check out the full report for answers to these additional questions:

  • What does an ecosystem map look like?
  • How does the process of ecosystem mapping work?
  • How does it complement BPM, Lean, and Six Sigma approaches?
  • Who should be involved in the process?
  • What kind of advanced preparation is needed?
  • What should companies do after they complete the ecosystem mapping process?

And if you’re interested in learning more about how to map your own customer experience ecosystem, please join my teleconference this Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (18:00 – 19:00 UK time).