We’ve run countless workshops to help clients create customer journey maps. It’s a privilege to help people think differently and take their business forward. We’ve learnt a thing or two along the way about what works best. And what doesn’t! Here are 7 elements that describe the most successful workshops:
1. Base customer journey mapping on real customer data
Don’t just decide to do a customer journey mapping exercise on it’s own. Many times we hear companies saying ‘we did a journey mapping exercise’. But they literally did that. Just mapped the ideal customer journey. The problem is that it is the ideal customer journey according to you, the employee of the company. Not your customers’ ideal journey. It’s a bit like deciding on an athletic training programme someone you don’t know at all well. You think you know them, but there’s lots more to understand about them. It’s best to find out as much as you can before you start journey mapping. We place a lot of focus on customer experience insight. But it’s for a reason. Our CX Lab test results give our clients real ah ha moments. And this enables them to create memorable customer experiences.
2. See your product/service from the customers’ perspective
This is so so easy to type. So so easy to say. In practice, incredibly hard. It’s actually the one thing we consistently see clients struggle with. It is hard to be objective when you have years of experience of dealing with customers. It’s absolutely natural. Totally understandable. But it doesn’t help when trying to see your own product or service through the customers’ eyes. We would say this, but this is where it is really useful to have a partner from outside of your business. An external partner can help you to step away from all that day to day stuff. Thus enabling you to look with fresh eyes at your own actual customer experience.
For example, we play back our Biotracker data to clients, showing the customers’ physiological and stress response levels. This gives the factual evidence of how customers are reacting to their service. Which in turn helps everyone to see the CX through the customers’ eyes. Decisions are then made based on facts and not bluster or internal agendas.
3. Embrace emotions
Customer behaviour results from customers’ emotions about your services and products. Customers are barely aware of this. But it’s the critical element in customer loyalty. Just think of the restaurant you go back to again and again, or the lovely B&B you always tell your friends about. You are a fan of these places because they’ve made you feel really great, or special, or valued, or relaxed. When create a customer journey map it is useful to discuss and agree on the feelings your CX aims to generate. For example, you may want customers to feel a sense of anticipation and excitement as they enter your store.
4. Include customers
That’s right, real live customers at your workshop. We like to include customers in one session at least, like a mini focus group. It’s absolutely brilliant for the internal team as they can get real time reactions and opinions. It also helps everyone to see the CX from the customers’ point of view.
5. Involve your customer facing employees
Sometimes organisations plan a customer journey mapping workshop but only invite their marketing team. Or the attendees are purely senior operators. We see amazing results where the workshop involves a wide cross section of employees. From front line managers and managers to senior leaders. HR always make a great contribution too. The people who have to put the customer experience into practice will need support and clear comms. Therefore, it makes sense to involve their managers and the comms and learning team who’ll support these changes.
6. Allow for solo thinking time
Groups are not the best source of creative ideas*. Of course it is useful to get a bunch of people together. Especially at the start of the journey mapping process. But typically it’s believed that a 1-3 day workshop is enough to complete the customer journey mapping exercise. In reality, we find it works best when it’s kicked off in a workshop of a few hours length. But the secret ingredient is to let everyone go off and take some time to create their own ideas. After a few days or a week, when the group gathers back again, they have good quality thinking to share with one another.
*This has actually been proven in many research projects since as far back as the 1980s. The main reason why groups are still used so much is that people have bought into the myth of group creativity. Here’s an article from the European Review of Social Psychology from 2011, summarising why idea generating groups are not as productive as individuals.
7. Become experiment-led and fact based
You have designed your shiny new customer experience journey. You are itching to roll it out throughout your whole organisation. This is a mistake. Invest the time to give it a test drive and learn how to best implement it. Set up a quick pilot and measure it. Make the necessary adjustments and then you are ready to go for the full shebang.