Mapping your customer journey is an effective method to understand customers’ experience with your company, product, or service. Replace the word “customer” with “user” or “employee”, and now you can dig deeper into their experience too, and by digging, find areas of improvement.
Sometimes just one person takes the challenge of listening to customers and building a customer journey map. When the organization is small, it may be enough. But in most cases, customer journey mapping works best when it’s a shared responsibility. To gather and engage a team around such an initiative, you can always start with a workshop. It’s a great opportunity to introduce a team to this methodology, generate ideas together, and engage stakeholders and colleagues.
Read on to learn how to prepare for a customer journey mapping workshop, how to conduct it smoothly, and what to do afterwards.
We collected the basic steps you need to take and spiced them up with actionable tips.
Step 1. What’s your “why”?
A workshop without a goal is like a sky without birds. Too poetic? In more prosaic words, it’s a waste of time. You can approach a journey mapping initiative from different angles, but you can’t do it properly during one session.
First, let’s look at what you have. Did you map a journey, identify pain points, and need to come up with an actionable plan? Are your pain points not defined yet? Is your map empty and only you have a persona whose journey you want to visualize?
Second, what do you want to achieve by the end of the workshop? Is it having a full-fledged journey map with an actionable plan on fixing what’s broken? Or an engaged and motivated team that is eager to go on? Or maybe a buy-in from your top management? The goal may be small or big, yet make sure it’s reachable within one session.
Step 2. Who’s running the show?
Of course, facilitators. Workshops are not perfect self-regulating systems. So choose at least one person who will help participants throughout workshop activities. This person has to be familiar with journey mapping and be good at managing a bunch of people.
Step 3. Identify the stakeholders
You can do a workshop without facilitators, and it may be a successful one, but you certainly can’t run it without participants and stakeholders. So who should you invite to the workshop? To find the answer, first ask yourself these questions: Who is directly related to the journey of your customers and/or can influence it? Who will be deciding what ideas to implement and in what order?
Here are a few tips for Step 3 that will help you effectively go through it:
Tip #1: A cross-department team is a key to success. Invite only top managers, and you are likely to fail with map validation, as they don’t work with customers every day. Not inviting top managers, you’re risking not getting buy-in and financial support from them. Call only researchers, and you’ll miss a fresh look at and a solid contribution to the customer journey map from other departments’ representatives. So ideally, you bring together both top and middle managers, as well as employees from different teams (especially customer-facing stuff!).
Tip #2: The number of workshop participants should be optimal. We would suggest 10-15 people. A big crowd will create havoc, while a few colleagues won’t get the required momentum. If your team is large and there are simply a lot of stakeholders, either consider dividing them into teams or running two separate workshops. Here are some easy ways to engage your stakeholders.
Step 4. Prepare the ground
Scoping first. Will your team consider the entire journey or focus on a specific stage? Will you drill into a specific area of the map, like touchpoints or customer problems?
Now think about time. How long will the session take? In most cases, the optimal duration of a workshop is 4 hours. During this period, the team won’t get tired or lose concentration. They will maintain momentum and come up with brilliant ideas.
Tip #1: Breaks are important. Schedule 1-2 breaks for 10-15 minutes to stretch the limbs, have a snack, or go out for fresh air.
Now to the format of your session. Will you host an online, offline, or hybrid workshop?
Tip #2: For an online workshop, digitize the persona(s) and map (if you have one). For this purpose, you can use either a specialized customer journey mapping tool or any other online software that fits the purpose. Also, compress all heavy images and documents, as their loading can slow down the teamwork at the session.
Tip #3: For offline and hybrid sessions, book a room, make sure it’s comfortable; take care of stationery, projectors, and other necessary equipment; bring snacks and drinks.
Tip #4: Make sure everyone has a stable internet connection and you have a Plan B (e.g., mobile internet) to save the day. Ensure that all participants can access and use the required materials regardless of the OS and device they have. For instance, instead of preparing a presentation in a specific program, create it online and share it via the link with the team.
To catch the team under the same journey mapping spell, you may provide them with research data and other materials for the workshop (a persona, a map, statistics, explainer videos, etc.) before its start. It will ease the stress before a new kind of activity for those who have never mapped a customer journey, plus ensure all participants know the basic information.
Tip #5: Give small tasks to the participants before the workshop. For example, provide a fictional journey map and ask people to think about a few ideas for improving the persona’s experience.
And the finishing touch is that you have to remind everyone who should attend the workshop that it’s about to take place when day X comes.
Tip #6: Life can be busy. Send reminder emails or messages to participants one day and ten minutes before.
Now that you have everything ready for the upcoming brainstorm in the name of happy customers, you can relax a bit and gain strength before the workshop phase.
To find out what to do during the session and after it, read the next article (Part 2). In the meantime, discover more insights on the customer journey.