This CX Mini Masterclass is the second of a 3-part installment on the topic of the customer journey mapping. Show host and CX expert Julia Ahlfeldt shares practical tips and ideas for how to prepare for journey mapping, including planning what data sources you’ll need and how to structure your mapping team. This episode will help you lay the foundation for a successful journey mapping effort that will yield the best possible outcomes.
Set the stage for customer journey mapping
People often want to dive straight into journey mapping, and that enthusiasm is great, but if you want to get the most our of your journey mapping efforts, it’s best to do a bit of preparation. The good news is that this preparation is fairly straightforward, and needn’t be overwhelming. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare for building a great journey map.
Note that these steps assume that you’ve already decided on the type of journey map that you are looking to create. If you haven’t already done that, but sure to go back and check out episode 18, and the show notes, which will help you clarify which type of map is best suited for your needs. Once you’ve sorted that out, you can roll up your sleeves and get planning.
Identify whose journey you are mapping
Journeys are about the experiences of the end user. You want to create a visualization of experiences from the customer’s perspective, not the company’s. To do this, it’s imperative that you identify a user. This could be a fictional representation of the larger customer base or a particular segment. I suggest making this “customer” real and relate-able by developing a customer persona that will remind you and your mapping team whose journey you are mapping.
Bring in the voice of the customer
Since journey mapping is all about looking at the experiences from the customer’s perspective, it’s important to understand that perspective. Unless you have the luxury of bringing real customers into the mapping process (which is great if you can do it, but uncommon in my experience), you’ll need to incorporate their perspective through some sort of proxy. Usually this takes the form of customer data and insights. Here are some suggestions on data sources that are helpful for establishing the voice of the customer:
- Social media – Great for understanding sentiment, attitudes and motivations throughout the journey
- Previous customer research – Helpful for understanding what customer do/don’t like
- Focus groups – Can help clarify opinions about specific aspects of the journey and what customers are thinking/feeling before and after interactions
- Operational activity data – Clarifies how customers navigate various touchpoints (note that this only works for touchpoints that generate a data trail, so it will rarely give you a full picture, but is helpful nonetheless)
You don’t need all of this data to map the journey, but you do need some form of insight from the customer’s perspective. Ideally, enough to make an empathy map, which will give your team guidance on what customers are thinking and feeling throughout the journey.
If you don’t have enough information to build a basic persona and share some insights about the customer’s perspective, go out and gather it before you dive into mapping, or you’ll end up with a very inward-looking map.
Assemble your journey mapping dream team
Once you have your customer insights, it’s time to think about your collaborators for the journey mapping. You’ll want to work with team members who will help you create the best map and be partners when it comes time to socialize the outputs within your organization, so choose carefully. You will probably want team member with firsthand insight into the customer experience, team members who play a major role in defining and delivering experiences, and team members who will be able to help you drive customer-centric change.
If you have plentiful information about the journey and a concise group of journey mapping collaborators in mind, you might be able to structure your journey mapping efforts as a “sprint” workshop with a small group. Set aside a day or two to create your first draft of the map with this small team. If you would like to engage a large group of collaborators, I suggest developing your map as an iterative process. Think about building your draft map on the wall of a boardroom and then inviting teams to contribute individually over the course of a week or two. Both of these approaches work, but are best suited to different scenarios.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including journey mapping workshops!) or get in touch via email.