As more and more people are learning about journey mapping, it’s becoming clear to them just how useful it can be. And that’s great! But sometimes journey mapping can be misunderstood—or rather, only used at a fraction of its potential. While many people conceive of journey mapping as a research activity, in truth it can be so much more than that, if you do it right.
The true usefulness of journey mapping lies in instigating organizational change. Doing it right obviously involves lots of time researching with your customers. In fact, a key reason that some see journey mapping as only a research tool is that it is a research tool—but only in part. Viewing customer journey maps as a research project leaves out the most important recipient of the journey mapping process, and the one that makes it a truly unique tool—those parts of the business that most need to understand your existing customer experience.
Why Does Mapping Fail?
Usually when journey mapping fails to have impact, it’s because it was treated as a research project. The researchers have a kickoff, go away and do their secret research, and come back with a report. Instead, it should be seen from the beginning as a project focusing on organizational change. To do this, you have to do some things a little differently.
Before starting the research itself, it’s essential to look inside your organization in the initial discovery process. There are a few steps to follow to ensure a smooth and ultimately useful discovery. Review previous research to create the setting for the new research you will be doing. To round out your understanding of the organization, conduct strategic context interviews with employees who work with the customers whose journey you’re mapping, as well as the executives tasked with the organization’s operations.
In addition, you should gather employees from throughout your company for a hypothesis mapping workshop, to more fully understand not just the data the organization already has, but also how your teams view your customers’ journeys. By taking the time to do this you will not only gather critical information – you will also create an appetite for the eventual map. Don’t be surprised if participants stop by in the weeks to follow asking how the research is coming. The hypothesis mapping session creates curiosity – which is a very good thing!
The whole discovery process should take a bare minimum of three weeks—don’t rush through it. It’s in this phase that you establish what questions you should ask your customers to get answers that will most affect change on the organizational level.
Then it’s time to go to your customers, and learn how they truly use your products or services, matching it up with the organizational context you just established. Now, you can position the results to show employees and executives what customers are truly doing – and how it differs from what they currently believe. Then, when you share the completed journey maps, they won’t merely be added to the other research the organization already has, but be in a prime position to effect change.
And isn’t that why your in customer experience in the first place?