In this three-part blog series, I’m answering all of the great audience questions from the webinar. Part 1 of this series focused on common journey map components and how to use maps to prioritize customer experience initiatives. In this post, I’ll tackle several questions about the nitty-gritty details of creating journey maps.
What is the process for creating journey maps? Is there a common workshop format?
I find that it’s best to start with documenting the practical nature of customers’ steps and then move one to mapping their thoughts and emotions. This essentially maps to standard interview (and therapy!) methodologies. (It’s much easier to get someone to tell you what he had for breakfast than it is to elicit emotions about his childhood…)
On a purely mechanical level, the process involves putting a bunch of sticky notes up on an 8- or 10-foot sheet of butcher paper, moving them around, removing some sticky notes, and adding others. In the workshops I facilitate, I like to split everyone into 3 to 5 small groups, each of which can focus on a different persona or journey. Groups with 4 to 6 participants are a perfect size to get multiple perspectives while ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard.
Who should be involved in customer journey mapping workshops?
Marketing and customer experience folks are the obvious choices for workshop participants. But I’d encourage you to include behind-the-scenes employees, as well. Think about employees in sales, finance, operations, legal, customer service, eCommerce, or any other part of the organization that has some influence on the particular journey(s) you’re focusing on. You can also include any partners who are key to delivering that journey.
And I hope this isn’t a surprise, but I HIGHLY recommend including your customers in these workshops, too. In my experience, customer participation is what leads to the most transformational organizational improvements.
How long is the workshop for an average journey map?
I’ve found that any workshop lasting more than two days completely exhausts the attendees and sends them running back to their regular day jobs. 🙂 But in two days, you accomplish a hell of a lot! There are many ways to design an effective two-day journey mapping workshop. Here’s one that works well for us:
- Day 1: Bring together internal stakeholders from across the company and create your assumption journey map(s). In an ideal world, you’ve done some ethnographic research prior to the workshop, and the resulting artifacts can serve as inputs to the mapping activity.
- Day 2: Bring customers in to validate (or invalidate) your assumptions. The customers are typically with you for 4 – 5 hours of this day.
We also use several other one- and two-day configurations that align with various business objectives. (And, of course, if you’re interested in engaging us for a workshop we’ll figure out which one works best for you. Just give us a jingle.)
What are some great tools to create visually appealing journey maps?
As I mentioned on my webinar, no two customer journey maps are the same, and the type of journey map you should create is entirely dependent on what you’re actually trying to accomplish by creating it. And so, it’s really difficult for any vendor to create a software tool that will take all of your customer inputs and programatically pop out an effective journey map that will meet your business needs.
That said, I’m really impressed with two tools created by Marc Stickdorn, author of one of my favorite reference books, This is Service Design Thinking.
- Smaply helps you map you develop aggregated customer journey maps.
- Experience Fellow helps you map individual customer journeys as part of a qualitative research project. (Bonus: If you’d like a €100 discount on Experience Fellow, just enter the discount code “bodine”.)
BTW, if you’ve got a tool that helps companies map their customer journeys, I’d love to learn (and write!) about it. Please drop me a line.
In the Part 3 of this series, I talk about the research that’s required to make your journey maps accurate and effective.
What other questions do you have about journey mapping workshops? Better yet, what are some best (or worst) practices you’ve learned from doing your own journey mapping?