It’s not Necessarily a Design Issue

I regularly receive emails that go something like this: 

I have almost completed my organization’s journey map! Can you give me some design suggestions before I share it with my company?

This request comes from a good place, a desire to educate the company about the customer’s journey, but after a few questions, it quickly falls apart. There are at least three problems with this request. 

  1. Journey mapping isn’t an individual sport. The first problem is evident from the very first word: I. When we asked successful journey mappers what’s most important in the process, they were quite clear: “Involve a broad cross-functional team.” It’s certainly easier to do it by yourself, but that’s not how you drive change. You need to include the people you’re trying to influence in your process. 
  1. Where’s the customer? While most people include some customer data, as we talk it usually turns out that the “voice of the customer” they’re relying on is a general-purpose survey combined with their own experience. That’s not a customer journey; that’s your best guess. Learning your customers’ journey requires actually talking to them through qualitative research–not writing your guesses on a Post-It Note. 
  1. Displaying the journey probably isn’t your problem. Yes, presentation matters. Science tells us that a graphic approach is more easily remembered, so it’s worth taking the time to figure this out. However, when we talk to people whose journey maps failed to drive change, this is rarely the first problem. Instead, graphics are what you use to go from good to great.  

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve built a business around using immersive journey maps to drive change. But until you get the other pieces right–involving a broad cross-functional team, involving customers, and selecting the right journey–the presentation doesn’t matter. 

So yes, it’s good to think about your journey mapping software, but only after you’ve answered the tough questions. 

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