The 5 Steps to Customer Journey Mapping

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Hi, I’m Kate Kaplan and I teach the NN/g seminar “Journey Mapping to Understand Customer Needs.” One of the frustrations I often hear from professionals who undergo journey mapping initiatives, is that there’s no standard process that they know of to actually go through the process of journey mapping. So what I want to introduce today is a high-level five-step process that you can use for your next current-state documentation of a customer journey. The first phase I like to call aspiration and allies. This happens before you even begin journey mapping: you need to go through your organization and find a core group of cross-disciplinary team members that are going to be your allies throughout the project. You also need to create some kind of aspiration for your map. In other words, what’s the point of view? Determine the scope of whose journey you’re mapping and what journey you’re mapping. Secondly start on the inside. Do a bit of internal investigation. A lot of times organizations have a lot of knowledge sitting in various departments about the user that you can go through, investigate, and start to piece together in order to formulate some kind of assumption. The assumption formulation stage is best carried out as a workshop with your team of stakeholders that you pull together where you piece together those bits of knowledge and start to create some kind of picture of the as-is state that you can use to shape your external research. But don’t stop there: you have to go out and validate and make sure that you’re not making decisions based off assumptions that are inaccurate. So remember to go out into external research and remember that journey mapping research is a qualitative process. You want to do anything that puts you in direct line of observation with users; so user interviews and contextual inquiries are great places to start. From there piece together your external research in order to validate and make sure that what you put together in the assumption map is accurate and to fill in the gaps. And finally, the fun part — the mapping, but remember that this is still a collective initiative so bring together your team that you established at the beginning in order to do the final state mapping where you take what you’ve learned internally coupled with your external validation and create an accurate depiction of the current state journey. From there you might decide that this is enough for you in your team and that the process of journey mapping has given you enough insights to move forward otherwise if you’re working with a larger team or you’re working with a client you might need to create some kind of polished visual or diagram to share with them in order for them to understand the insights that you’ve learned throughout the process.


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