Too many see journey mapping as an employee workshop.


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What is journey mapping?

That may seem like a strange question from a blogger whose title is “Mapper-In-Chief,” but there’s so much confusion on the topic that it’s a question that needs to be asked.

This confusion is fueled by vendors who offer “journey mapping workshops.” This is a half- or full-day workshop where you gather a bunch of employees who each adopt a customer persona and use Post-It Notes to document your perceptions of that customer’s journey. Oracle hosts this type of workshop, and by all accounts it’s a ton of fun. It’s possible they mention the need to actually talk with customers, but the attendees I’ve spoken to don’t remember them saying that.

Forrester is similar. They sell a workshop where your employees document their perceptions, then tell you to go validate your findings with customers. However, from what I can tell from talking to current and former Forrester employees, hardly anybody does.

At least the workshop is fun and engages the team with the customer journey, right?

Well, it’s certainly fun, but the journey you’re showing probably isn’t the real one.

We also start our process with an employee Hypothesis Mapping Workshop, but we use that language deliberately. It’s not a customer journey mapping workshop; it’s documenting your best guess of the journey. That best guess is typically about 70% right. The overall framework is there, but the Moments of Truth are all over the place. For example, a recent workshop featured twenty-five participants, generating over a dozen candidate moments of truth. Each group felt that theirs were right, but you can’t prioritize a dozen “most important” moments. Your customers need to do that.

This is why the second-most critical item in journey mapping is “involve customers” (we’ll address the most critical on Friday).

Our experience is that employees miss what’s most important to customers. They get the overall journey structure right, but their interactions with customers are limited to only a few steps in the customer’s journey. They don’t get to see what happens at the customer site when your software doesn’t work, or how the vendor’s success (or lack thereof) shows up in a review.

You can’t create a customer journey map if you don’t include your customers.


This is the third in five posts on reflections after five years of journey mapping. The five will be:

  1. Journey mapping has become a must-have approach to customer experience.
  2. We still have challenges navigating the trade-offs when deciding what to map.
  3. Too many see journey mapping as a workshop.
  4. Journey mapping tools still don’t address the most critical challenges.
  5. Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

These all reflect, to varying degrees, the five journey mapping questions that you should consider before embarking on a project:

  1. What is the business problem or opportunity?
  2. What is the right journey to map?
  3. Who is the right customer to map?
  4. What is the right approach to bring the voice of your customer to life?
  5. Who should be on your journey mapping team?

Please, join in the discussion by leaving your comments on our blog, or on LinkedIn.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Tincher
Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers. This lifelong passion for CX, and a thirst for knowledge, led him to found his customer experience consulting firm, Heart of the Customer (HoC). HoC sets the bar for best practices and are emulated throughout the industry. He is the author of Do B2B Better and co-author of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, and he also writes Heart of the Customer’s popular CX blog.


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