Lessons learnt from a recent Customer Journey Mapping project
New projects give us a chance to hone skills and learn new tricks
By Emma Flynn and Maria Elena Calisi
Service Designer, Maria Elena and Researcher, Emma share their experiences from their latest Newt Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) project.
1. What is your top take home lesson from this project?
“You cannot underestimate the importance of documentation – it’s impossible to complete a CJM project successfully without it.”
Maria Elena’s documentation lessons
1. Keep a record of everything
We use a template that lets us capture every detail – from insights and reference numbers for sources, to customer needs and new opportunities. The great thing about the document is that even though it’s big and full of information, it’s really readable and can be easily understand by anyone. Which makes it a handy tool for helping to secure buy-in.
2. Create a research catalogue
This should contain a complete tagged list of all research and background documents provided by the client. This can then be used to prioritise topics and provide easy reference when needed. It can also be shared with the client so they can track progress. To ensure the project moves at a fast pace, it’s essential all revelant documents are collected at the start of the project.
3. Use existing maps as inspiration only
The key here is to innovate rather than replicate. Clients may have existing data or maps, but you need to steer clear of simply building upon these or you will miss the opportunity to create something unique. Instead use existing assets as inspiration or spring boards to new discoveries.
“Great communication is everything. It builds working relationships and leads to a better end result.”
Emma’s communication lessons
1. It’s good to step away from technology
Remote working is great and has its place, but this was my first onsite client project and I really noticed the difference of face-to-face interaction. I was able to get to know our client better and get instant answers to questions, rather than waiting for emails or scheduling calls. It also gave me a chance to immerse myself in the company culture and get a real feel for the way they work. And, on a side note, it was also a fantastic opportunity to explore a new city.
2. Better notetaking = better results
This project gave me the chance to improve my notetaking technique during the customer research – and it made a huge difference. I focused on writing the notes in sections, following the flow of the interview itself and capturing verbatim quotes. This not only made it easier for my colleagues to understand, it also provided a powerful evidence-based resource for customer profiling and client feedback.
3. Confirm how the client wants to view the research
For this project, we decided to video record our customer research for analysis referencing. But we hadn’t realised the client would then expect the video as a deliverable. Next time, I will confirm this expectation in advance as we’d then be able to set up the video camera more efficiently, ensuring clips were more suitable for editing. Conditions which are not normally necessary when just recording for analysis referencing.
2. What did you learn specifically during the workshops?
“It’s vital to set guidelines that enable everyone to get the most out of the workshop.”
Maria Elena’s workshop guidance tips
1. Explain desired outcomes and follow a schedule
It’s really important to explain what you want from participants and how you’d like them to contribute. This, combined with a schedule, helps focus the group on what is happening during the workshop and what they need to do. The number of participants during the workshops can vary – ideally no more than 14 – and stakeholders from outside the core team are usually involved. This means there are a lot of people sharing ideas and thoughts, which is great for growth but sometimes “hot buttons” are touched. The key is to understand trigger topics and learn how to deal with these and the people in the room.
2. Colour code your sticky notes
Sticky notes can either be your best friend or your biggest enemy. Colour codes and keys are essential. In fact, it is crucial to have precise rules on how the post-its are going to be tagged and by whom. It’s also worth merging any duplicates as you go to keep the map clean and unrepetitive. And don’t forget to bring extra post-its with you, there are never enough!
“Workshops are all about people as they are the ones sharing ideas and identifying opportunities. Great people management is crucial to enable ideas to flow.”
Emma’s people management tips
1. Divide the workshop into groups
A CJM can have 270+ opportunities, which all need analysis. The best way to conquer it is to divide the workshop members into groups, which can each focus on a specific area of the map. The groups can then feed back their ideas to the room, which allows for discussion and keeps members involved and engaged.
2. Introduce customers as soon as possible
Clients need to know their customers in order to understand their journeys – and workshops are the perfect place to make this introduction. During one of our workshops, we told some stories about the customers we met during our research. Afterwards I noticed a difference in the way the clients addressed some opportunities saying “does Aurora use this?” rather than “I wouldn’t use this”. Seeing this shift of perspective was a real positive for me.
3. What final advice would you give to your past self and others working on a similar customer experience project?
“Focus on one thing at a time so you can put all your energy into getting excellent results. It helps to identify roles before a session so you don’t end up trying to take notes and be actively part of a conversation at the same time.”
“Prepare assets (such as schedules, tasks etc) well in advance, but have a plan B just in case as sometimes last minute prep is unavoidable. Oh, and always take a back up video camera in case the first fails – which unfortunately happened to us!”
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