Syniverse Customer Journey Mapping

My role:
Experience designer
Tools and methods:
Hand sketching, Qualitative research, Sketch, Journey mapping

Syniverse is a global technology and business services company. They partner with telecommunications and enterprise businesses to help them exchange information, money, and messages.

My colleagues and I were tasked with mapping Syniverse's current customer journey. We wanted to see how Syniverse's users were actually using their product and perceiving the company's messaging and actions. We hosted an in-person internal workshop, developed an interview guide and conducted 25 external interviews. From there, I created a visual map representing the stages, touchpoints, and experiences a customer goes through while interacting with Syniverse's products and services.

What we're aiming for:

  • Reimagine the current Syniverse customer experience. Align it to our new brand to continue to shift perceptions, drive business growth and create loyal, satisfied Syniverse customers

Discover

In-person workshop

First, we facilitated a workshop with the core Syniverse team and key stakeholders to learn about goals, expectations, and internal perceptions of Syniverse. We developed blank initial journey maps for workshop attendees to fill in and empathy maps for internal stakeholders to write on.

We broke down the journey map into these components:

  • Stage: a step in the process
  • Substage: smaller moments within each stage
  • Activities/touchpoints: a point of interaction involving a specific human need in a specific time with Syniverse
  • Questions/gaps: missing areas or points within the stage
  • Pain points: any negative interaction or moment of friction within the stage of the process
  • Opportunities: areas where Syniverse can take advantage and succeed within the stage of the process

We wanted the internal stakeholders to visualize user attitudes and behaviors. Using their personal experience within the company, we can not only begin understanding Syniverse users, but also to understand how our clients perceived their users. As a third-party, it's important to understand both sides of the story. We employed the use of empathy maps. The exercise would also help our clients understand and prioritize their customer's needs. We sectioned the empathy map into five sections:

  • Thinking/feeling: what is the user thinking or feeling?
  • Influences: what is currently influencing the user?
  • Goals: what are the user's goals?
  • Problems: what problems is the user currently facing?
  • Tasks: what does the user need to do?

Initial hand sketch of journey map parts (left), empathy map plan (right)

Digitized initial customer journey map

The finalized blank journey map we took out "what works" because we wanted internal stakeholders to focus on only pain points and opportunities. We found it redundant if they already wrote down "pain points" that they had to also write the opposite. Furthermore, we broke down the whole journey into its separate stages for groups to work on in the room due to limited time.

From a previous project, the Siegel+Gale team and Syniverse had already identified the design targets to be "Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)" and "Enterprise Businesses". With ten tables of internal stakeholders, five stages, and two design targets, we divided each table's focus instead of having everyone fill out the whole journey. Each table focused on one of the five stages (awareness, consideration, acquisition, ownership, or renewal) and one of the design targets (MNO or Enterprise). For example, one table would need to concentrate on how Syniverse currently raised awareness for only Enterprise businesses.

Internal stakeholders ideating

Example of filled journey map about renewal

Example of filled empathy map

Customer interviews

For over a month, I helped conduct phone interviews with key external constituents. Our goal was to hear directly from customers about their ideal brand experience relative to the competition, what Syniverse did or didn't do for them, and how to improve our client's proprietary value.

Our interviews were with current and lapsed Syniverse customers from all around the world in both MNO and Enterprise categories:

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

  • Aerialink
  • Alaska Wireless Network
  • ATNI (ATL)
  • AT&T
  • Bell Mobility
  • Carolina West
  • DoCoMo Pacific
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Tigo Guatemala
  • Telia
  • Turkcell
  • Verizon
  • yTel

Enterprise

  • Bandwidth.com
  • BBV
  • Bertelsmann
  • Google
  • Phase 3 Innovations
  • Navy Federal
  • Twilio
  • UPS

Our questionnaire guide was broken down into our five customer journey stages (awareness, consideration, acquisition, ownership, or renewal) as well as added categories for current Syniverse perceptions and customer needs. Review our full questionnaire

Example of questions include:

  • How did you first encounter Syniverse? How did you find out about them?
  • Tell us about the sales process? How did you first come into contact with a sales representative? What did they say?
  • Describe the implementation and onboarding process. Who did you work with? How was it done?
  • How does Syniverse respond to problems? What is their customer service like? Are they proactive?
  • What do you think Syniverse is doing well today? Where do they struggle?

Materials audit

Lastly, we performed a materials audit for Syniverse. These were materials received from our client and helped us visualize what customers saw on a day-to-day basis.

  • Sample internal email communications
  • Dashboard screenshots
  • Customer support documentation
  • Customer query tutorials
  • Sample webcasts
  • Website
  • Customer portals
  • Product marketing materials


Define

Personas

Before any sketching of the final customer journey maps, we further defined the two design targets:

  1. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)
  2. Enterprise

As these categories were dictated by a previous project I was not a part of, I needed to outline the needs and expectations of MNOs and Enterprise-type customers. I used the user interviews and quantitative data compiled by our Insights team to create the personas.

Throughout the Discovery process, I learned that MNOs were mostly (if not all) telecommunications companies. They almost all had longstanding relationships with Syniverse with some partnerships lasting for over a decade. Historically, Syniverse is mostly known for their roaming and messaging services.

Syniverse has expanded their product and services offerings and began to diversify their customer audiences.

Synthesizing the qualitative data

Themes from the workshop

After the workshop, we compiled the data. The major themes emerged from gaps and current pain points were:

  • Awareness of trends and challenges
  • Complexity limits our impact
  • Internal collaboration + integration instead of harmful silos
  • Consistency + standardization for speed and efficiency
  • Empathy in customer service is not our strong suit
  • Measuring + communicating success for more precision and focus

Themes from the interviews

After over 20 engaging interviews, there were a few patterns we noticed in the feedback from Syniverse customers. We found that most of their feedback and conversation revolved around the quality of relationships that come from Syniverse. Customers feel that their experience would be greatly improved from stronger bonds between themselves and their Syniverse teams, other Syniverse customers, and the offerings of the Syniverse brand in general.

Insight #1: Strong relationships are tablestakes

Customers prefer to view Syniverse's relationship with them as a partnership, instead of a vendor-payer situation.

  • Customers wanted Syniverse to get to know them and their issues, then give updates on trends and solutions Syniverse can offer to make it better.
  • That being said, customers hated random up-sell. But if Syniverse approached the conversation on a current problem they saw the client having, the client would be more receptive.

Customers want a network to help each other grow

  • Customers want to connect with other Syniverse customers and experiencing the brand in a live setting (e.g. forums, user groups, conferences)
  • Customers appreciated having the opportunity to connect with other Syniverse customers to discuss problems, trends, and concerns

Insight #2: Customers will switch to competitors because of innovation and cost
  • Syniverse was seen as cost-prohibitive than competitors. If the service and perception of Syniverse were poor, customers couldn't justify contract renewal.
  • Competitors were seen as more innovative and had better customer service.
  • Customers mentioned Syniverse being too rigid with their offerings. Syniverse had to become more adaptive in mixing-and-matching since the business landscape is evolving.

Insight #3: Inconsistent and poor customer service
  • Customers that were either small- to medium-sized organizations or international customers felt undervalued. They felt like Syniverse wasn't giving them the attention or information they needed. This was especially apparent when customer spoke of their on boarding experience.
  • Some customers were okay with their experience, but only after escalating concerns to upper-level management.
  • Syniverse's response time was inconsistent and sluggish
Internal customer support plan vs results

Comparison of Syniverse perceptions between customers of various sizes

I also learned that between the interviewees, many fell into two major categories: Business or IT. There were people that leaned heavily towards the technical and implementation side while others were in tuned with the operations and humanistic side.

To get to these themes, I compiled basic information about the company and key points from the interviewee.

I made a Gsheet summarizing major points of the interviews to compare
Digitized information from the workshop
More Gsheets to compare and contrast customer type, size and location

Design

Using PinPoint™ and EyeOpener™ Quantitative Data

Siegel+Gale has proprietary quantitive research tools called PinPoint™ and EyeOpener™ run by the Insights team. PinPoint™ determines touchpoints that drive loyalty. EyeOpener™ help us understand why people in a category choose specific brands over others. Both tools work by modeling the way customers make brand decisions, provides competitive brand scorecards and identifies key drivers of brand preference. Once the design targets have been identified, surveys are created and sent out for completion.

I take the results and align them with the qualitative data to fully represent the customer journey. It should be noted that the survey replies skewed heavily towards MNOs than Enterprise customers. Since Syniverse had recently began partnering with Enterprise businesses, the pool of survey-takers is smaller.

A sample of the results:

Bar graph of which service MNOs associate with Syniverse the most

Color-coded list of what's important to MNO customers
Bar graph of which service Enterprise customers associate with Syniverse

Creating Customer Journey Maps

We broke down the customer journey maps as follows:

  • Stage: step in the process
  • Subphase: smaller moments within each stage
  • Touchpoint impact vs. Satisfaction: tk
  • Customer needs: tk
  • Pain points: any negative interaction or moment of friction within the stage of the process
  • Opportunities: areas where Syniverse can take advantage and succeed within the stage of the process

The stages and subphases stayed relatively the same.

For the touchpoint impact vs. satisfaction, we outlined the current touchpoint interaction moments as the line going from left to right. The vertical placement of the touchpoint aligns with how satisfied the customer is with Syniverse. The solid color shade is the impact of that touchpoint. The higher it is, the more the customer values the interaction and vice versa. What we want Syniverse to focus is areas of high impact but low satisfaction (colored as yellow). These are areas of improvement Syniverse can work towards building a higher customer satisfaction, and consequently, better overall customer experience.

The customer needs outline the customer's mentality. Outlining this allows Syniverse to empathize with how the customer may be feeling or thinking at the time. By placing themselves in the customer's mindset, Syniverse can better understand how to identify and understand pain points and opportunities. We pulled this information from empathy maps and user interviews.

The pain points are where customers had a hard time with interacting with our client.

For opportunities, we offered potential solutions Syniverse could implement to increase satisfied customer engagement.

Working with the Experience team lead, we reiterated the maps multiple times to ensure they were illustrating the themes we came across during our quantitative and qualitative data collection process.

Multiple rounds of edit were done

Final map deliverables

Customer journey map for MNO customers

Customer journey map for Enterprise customers

Alongside the customer journey maps, we also outlined takeaways and solutions gleaned from our interview and survey collection processes.

Reflection

The best part of this project was being able to speak to customers and learn what truly grinds their gears or uplifted their experience. Hearing their anecdotes grounded the work I was doing, and I felt a duty to ensure their voices were heard by the client.

It was also a personal achievement of mine to overcome speaking. Being an INFJ, I find speaking to others a bit anxiety-inducing. But once I finished the first few interviews, I felt tremendously more confident in my communication skills.

The most difficult part of the project would be aligning the quantitative data executed by our Insights team with the qualitative data we compiled. If I had to do this project over again, I'd like our teams to be more integrated in the quantitative data process. We were conducting these studies and user interviews simultaneously, but siloed amongst our teams. It would be cool to have the quantitative studies come first, I get preliminary data, then that could inform my qualitative data.

Team

  • Group Experience Director - Leesa Wytock
  • Associate Director, Experience - Christina Choi
  • Global Director, Business Analytics and Insights - Brian Rafferty
  • Associate Director, Analytics and Insights - Marc Desmond
  • Senior Strategist - Nora Bradshaw
  • Strategist - Corey Johnson
  • Project Manager - Laura Corcoran
  • Experience Designer - Jenny Chau