I recently had the pleasure of facilitating three customer journey mapping workshops for clients. For me, the most rewarding part of these workshops is when, all of a sudden, you see the light bulb go on for the participants. It can be the realization that their customer has to jump through an inordinate number of hoops to submit a simple service request or have to wait five to 10 days for repair . . . or when the workshop participants realize they have no idea what their customers are doing or thinking, but maybe they should.

Just as the light-bulb moment can be different for each person, the insights they deem most valuable can vary and include:  

  • Ideas for designing future-state experiences. A group of participants from a retailer created a future-state journey map illustrating how customers could sign up for a credit card and rewards program while shopping in-store. They identified scenarios for how store associates could approach customers with credit card offers without seeming intrusive as well as appropriate opportunities to follow up with customers by email or mobile app if they chose not to enroll right away. These types of insights can then inform the design of the new credit card and rewards experience.
  • A sense of empathy for the customer. We ask workshop participants within the same organization to wear name tags because not only do we not know them but also most of the time they don’t know each other. In one workshop, the organization was siloed, as most are, and each participant owned her own small functional part of the customer journey. But no one had insight into or ownership of the entire process. When brought together to analyze the health of the end-to-end journey, participants walked away with a shared understanding that what they were each doing individually wasn’t working for the customer as a whole.
  • A prioritization of initiatives that affect moments of truth. While plotting steps in the customer journey, groups surmised how they thought customers felt at each point — satisfied, frustrated, WTF (yes, that’s an emotion often used). They also identified moments of truth — those points in the journey that were critical or decisive for the customer in some way. Then, after brainstorming ways to improve the customer’s experience, they starred those ideas that aligned to moments of truth and singled them out as those that could have the biggest impact on how customers felt about that journey. 

After attending all these workshops, I had my own "aha" moment, cheesy as it sounds, when I realized that part of the reason every participant comes away from the same workshop with a different perspective is because there are so many uses and applications for journey maps.

My colleague, Tony Costa, wrote about just this topic a few months ago in his popular report, "Journey Mapping Best Practices," which details six core activities — from designing experiences to prioritizing and measuring CX initiatives and informing the broader business agenda — for which CX pros can use journey maps. I’ll also be speaking on this topic at Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West in Anaheim, California, November 6th to 7th. Or join me and my colleagues at Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA a few weeks later, November 17th to 18th in London. Hope to see you there!