How Storyboarding Can Help You Spot and Correct Problems

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Before I talk to you about storyboarding, let me tell you about the time I got a job after I complained about poor service.

I was 17, and my mom and I were ready to check out at JCPenney. We couldn’t find a person anywhere in the juniors department. We walked through departments and finally found someone in the boy’s department.

That someone was a middle-aged man in a suit. With the boldness of a brash teenager, I said, “What do you have to do to get service around here? We’ve been trying to spend our money, but no one’s around to take it.”

My mother gasped. The man said he’d get someone to help us and then he dialed a number on a black phone at the desk in the boy’s department. While we waited for that person to show up, I told him how long we’d waited and said,

“This isn’t acceptable. Your people should be here, ready to serve.”

“Do you think you could do better?” he asked.

“Yes, I do.”

“Then, you’re hired.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re hired. I’m Mr. ____(I don’t remember his last name now). I’m the store manager. You’re hired. I’ll get someone from Human Resources to process the paperwork. When can you start?”

True story.

I have a knack for spotting problems. Identifying problems and doing something about the problem. It’s what makes me good at what I do.

A Big Problem

A few years ago I made my annual trip to the Tag Agency. (A Tag Agency is the same thing as the DMV, but we don’t have the DMV in Tulsa.) Inside the agency, I got caught up in a 46-minute nightmare “assembly line.”

I was there to renew my vehicle tags. A simple process.  It should work like this. I walk up to a clerk, hand over my registration postcard and my insurance card, and my information is entered into the computer. I then pay, and I leave. But it didn’t work out this way for me.

I presented my registration information and insurance cards and then was told to have a seat and someone would call me to take my payment. That was odd. Why not just make my payment right now? I waited about 12 minutes for my name to be called. When I approached the clerk, she took – and kept – my debit card, and she said for me to have a seat until it was time for me to sign for my debit card payment. Really?

Another 10 or so minutes passed, and I was called up to sign for my debit card. I was then told to have a seat (again) while my information was entered into the computer. Seriously? Several more minutes passed, and I was called up to get my registration receipts. AGAIN, I was told to take a seat and to wait. This time I was to wait for my tag stickers. Whatever.

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During my peculiar 46-minute wait, I did a quick storyboard of my experience. I did it right there in my lap. This is something I do with my clients, though not in my lap. I diagramed each step of my “journey” with the tag agency. See, this is me spotting problems again.

When you storyboard (a fancy way to say draw out our map out) a process in your customer experience you get a clear visual that tells you what steps are:


Causing confusion or delay

Frustrating for customers

In short, storyboarding helps you see what you need to fix. The key is to take immediate action to remove steps that cause delay, confusion or frustration. Fixing the problems will give your customers a faster and easier experience.

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