This post is part of a 3-part series on customer journey maps. In Part 1, we defined what we mean by customer journey maps and presented ways you can work with existing user data as well as ways to generate new data. In this part we focus on how to organize the data into meaningful points along the journey. Part 3 puts everything together.

Creating a customer journey map provides the opportunity for a hands-on workshop activity with core team members and/or key stakeholders. There is tremendous value to be gained in the process of this collaborative activity, as the results provide a shared understanding of the customer’s experience across lines within your organization.

How do you use a team-based workshop to create the customer journey map?

To prepare for the workshop, you need to organize the data you have in some reproducible way, such as Excel spreadsheets. If you want to save time for the team, you can transfer the data points onto sticky notes, using a unique color for each persona you are tracking along the journey. Or, you can provide sticky notes and pens in different colors so that the team produces the sticky notes as part of the workshop, using the data you provide in the Excel spreadsheets.

Next, you want to gather together the workshop participants from the critical stakeholder groups. These stakeholders will form the core team to create the journey map(s) from the data.

Whether the team creates the sticky notes or you arrive with them in hand, you want the main activity of the workshop to engage the team in posting and organizing the sticky notes along the path of the journey. The places along the customer journey will vary from company to company and product to product.  A typical approach for a try-to-buy scenario might use the following categories:

  • Inquire/learn
  • Investigate/compare
  • Decide /purchase
  • Get/install
  • Use
  • Review/Recommend

When the team has put up all of the notes into the proper categories, they can then walk along the journey and cluster notes that form patterns in an organizational activity called affinity matching. Team members can then review the groupings and write additional sticky notes to indicate the subgroups of issues that emerge.

How do you add the emotional aspect of customer experience to the map?

customer experience testing

At this point in the process of mapping the customer experience and grouping the elements, it’s an excellent time to assign emotions to the findings. Are customers happy at some points, frustrated at others? Does their anticipation turn to disappointment anywhere along the path? If so, be sure to capture these emotional changes by adding sticky notes for these critical points. A subset of the journey map can be an empathy map, in which you capture the emotional changes a customer experiences on the journey.

Using your research findings to mine for great, representative customer quotes, add these at specific junctures along the journey to bring the customer’s story to life.

Be sure to identify gaps, pain points and barriers, as these shortfalls will be important for the team to address with the goal of improving the customer’s journey.

This post is part of a 3-part series on customer journey maps.

Read Part 1

Read Part 3

Image credits:  Featured image; emotions image Richard Tait, Winning Customer Experiences

Carol Barnum

Carol brings her academic background and years of teaching and research to her work with clients to deliver the best research approaches that have proven to produce practical solutions. Carol’s many publications (6 books and more than 50 articles) have made a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge in the UX field. The 2nd edition of her award-winning handbook Usability Testing Essentials is now available.