1. Web Design
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How to Run a Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

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Read Time: 8 min

Do you want to create a better user experience for your customers?

In this short video tutorial from my course, Everything You Need to Learn About Customer Journey Mapping, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide to creating a customer journey map. We’ll focus on the need to produce a customer journey map as part of a collaborative process with other stakeholders.

We can do this by running a customer journey mapping workshop, so I’ll talk through the process of running this kind of workshop and give practical advice for making it a success.

How to Run a Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

Why You Need Help to Create a Customer Journey Map

The first thing to say about creating a map like that is that you should never do it alone. There are two reasons for this. 

First, you simply don't know enough about the customer journey to be able to create the map by yourself. Most customer interactions happen with different departments at different stages of the journey. And because you're not responsible for managing the end-to-end experience, you can't possibly know all the elements that are involved in it. Instead, you need to bring together everyone who has knowledge of the customer and their experience to ensure that you've got the complete picture.

The second reason you should never workshop alone is because creating the customer journey map is an excellent opportunity to get colleagues and management thinking about customer experience. It could be used to shift thinking away from getting the user to purchase your product or service and towards the organization learning how to meet the user's needs.

Planning a Customer Journey Map Workshop

So, in order to facilitate this more collaborative approach to creating a customer journey map, we need to run some form of workshop. But how do you go about doing that? Well, the first thing to know is what you want from the workshop. You need to set those goals up front.

The goal for the workshop is not just to produce a customer journey map. There's more to the workshop than that. In fact, it's unlikely you'll be able to create a detailed map of the entire customer journey in a single day. Instead, expect to walk away with a draft of maybe one or two customer journeys and not much more than that, to be honest.

The aim of the customer journey mapping isn't just to map the customer journey, and it's certainly not to map every nuance of the user experience. You're not trying to create a realistic representation of the user's experience. Instead, you're trying to tell a story—a story that you can circulate around the company to engage people with the idea of customer service.

Something to get them thinking, that's your aim. The workshop helps in that regard, because it will focus key influencers from across the organization on the importance of user experience. You're going to get them in a room together. It educates them, so they can better understand how to serve their customers and to carry out further research.

The process of creating the customer journey map will also help you to identify weak points in the customer's journey—places where the organization is letting the customer down and processes need to be changed. It's important to keep these goals in mind. It's easy to get sucked into endless discussion about different paths that the user might follow. In truth, you've just got to pick a path and tell that story. 

Who to Invite to the Workshop

With these goals clearly defined in your mind, your next decision will be, who do you invite to the workshop? 

There are two types of people that you should invite when you do a customer journey mapping workshop. 

There are those who understand the customer journey, and there are those who do not but are key influencers in the organization. It's often senior management that fall into that latter category. The more senior you are within an organization, typically, the less contact you have with customers, yet the more of your decisions affect their experience.

That's why these people need to attend the customer journey workshop. It helps to focus them on the customer's needs and shows them the consequences of some of their decisions. 

But that only works if you also have people in the room who understand the customer journey, and they have to be there too. It's vitally important. The most obvious sources of these people will be customer service staff—those who engage with users on a daily basis. They'll have loads of invaluable anecdotes of failures in the user experience, stories you can incorporate into the customer journey map. 

However, there are other people who can make a contribution as well. Marketers often have insights into user behavior based on market research that they've carried out. Your digital team will also have good contributions to offer, contributions based on usability testing and the analytics that they've done. 

Make sure that when these people attend the meeting, they bring any research or data that they've collected with them. The more material they have with them, the easier the session will be, and the less reliant you'll be on personal opinion. 

How to Run the Workshop

Running a customer journey workshop is not as hard as you might think. Different people run these workshops in different ways, but the approach I've settled on is very straightforward and really can be run by pretty much anyone without too much trouble.

Begin by identifying the key stages that the customer passes through in their interaction with your company. This will often involve stages such as discovery, research, purchase, delivery, and after-sales—that kind of thing. 

It's important to note that this will vary depending on the nature of your product and service, and there's no right or wrong set of stages that you could organize your customer journey map into. So feel free to decide on a model that works for you, and do that together in the workshop. 

The second decision that the group will have to make is what information you want to add to the map about the user. What is it you want to know? What do you want to know about each of the key stages in their interaction?

Again, this is up to you, but some typical areas might include:

  • What tasks does the user want to complete at a particular stage in the journey? 
  • What questions does the user have at that stage? 
  • How does the user interact with the organization at this point in the journey?
  • What is the user feeling at this stage in the process, and how does the organization let the user down at this stage? 

With those two decisions made, you can now create a grid with key stages along one axis, and the information you want to gather along the other. 

Grid for customer journey mappingGrid for customer journey mappingGrid for customer journey mapping

It is important to stress that the final customer journey map doesn't need to look like that, but it provides you with a framework within which you can work. I recommend getting a really large roll of paper and covering an entire wall with this grid, as big as you can possibly manage.

Now, as a group, work through the first column—the first stage, if you like. For each row, start writing information on Post-It notes and adding it to the grid. For example, what tasks is the user trying to complete in the discovery phase, if that's your first phase? Write each task on a separate Post-It note and add it to the appropriate cell on the grid.

The reason to write them on Post-It notes is that as the day goes by, you may well restructure your grid. You may also decide that a task happens later in the process from where you originally placed it. Where possible, use data and information people have brought along with them to inform your Post-It notes.

But if in doubt, take a guess. You can always confirm your guess after the workshop. It's better to maintain momentum than get stuck on some part of the grid. 

By the time you reach the bottom of the first column, people will understand what they're trying to do. So at this point, I tend to split the attendees down into pairs or small groups depending on numbers. I give each pair a column and ask them to work through it by themselves. This breaks up the process and stops the day getting too monotonous. 

Customer journey mapping grid broken down by groupCustomer journey mapping grid broken down by groupCustomer journey mapping grid broken down by group

Once the pair or the group has finished their column, you'll come back together and discuss the results. This ensures everyone's in agreement, even though they didn't produce each column themselves. 

Watch the Full Course

Customer journey mapping is a popular tool among digital professionals. It’s a tool that helps them better understand the needs of users and improve the digital services they build. But what exactly is a customer journey map, why is it useful, and how do you go about creating one?

In the full course, Everything You Need to Learn About Customer Journey Mapping, I’ll teach you everything you need to know to start mapping the user’s journey.

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