Do you have the right people in the room for your journey mapping workshops?

I’m often asked about who should participate in journey mapping workshops. The obvious answer is the customer – or so you’d think. Let’s take a look at who should be in the room (in-person or virtual).

The following is an abbreviated excerpt from my book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).

Workshop Attendees

Next, you’ve got to determine who will participate in the workshop. Besides the core CX team, there are two attendees or constituents to think about: (1) customers and (2) stakeholders.

Let’s start with customers. This seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve got to call it out here: customers must participate in the journey mapping exercise, whether in person or virtually. This is the one untouchable rule of journey mapping: it is by, with, about, and for the customer (where customer is internal, e.g., employee, or external, e.g., customer, partner, vendor, licensee, etc.).

How do you select the customers to participate? This part is pretty easy. They must be representative of the persona for which you chose to map. And they must both know and be relevant to the journey you are mapping. Recruit six to ten customers to participate in the workshop.

The next set of attendees you need to consider and invite are the stakeholders. You want to make sure that you include the right stakeholders in these workshops. If you’re mapping a customer service experience, for example, you’ll have the head of customer service in the room, but there will be others as well. I recommend including marketing, sales, product design, product marketing, and billing too, depending on if you’re mapping a specific type of call/issue.

Why? Because they are the reason the customer is contacting customer service! Because marketing’s messaging was off; sales sold the dream; there was a flaw in the product design; the product documentation was inaccurate and not thorough; and/or the invoice was confusing and inaccurate. When these stakeholders hear the issues that customers are having—straight from the horse’s (customer’s) mouth—they are immediately alerted to how their department impacts the experience, and they are shown how the experience is cross-functional and doesn’t just happen in one department. And imagine if they fixed the issues upstream so that the customer never has to call, thus reducing call volume downstream (at the call center). Sounds like some serious cost savings to me.

So think about stakeholder attendees in that way; when you’re planning who to invite: be sure to have representatives from the various departments that touch the journeys you’ll be mapping. Think upstream and downstream. Make sure attendees have a stake in the game, that they have a vested interest in the journeys being mapped and can advocate for what they learn during the workshop to their departments and the rest of the organization.

If a key stakeholder cannot attend, make sure there’s a plan to follow up with him/her immediately after the workshop. And have the stakeholder send an alternate from his/her department, someone who is relevant to, or very familiar with, the journey being mapped.

But note this: do not have more stakeholders than customers in the room.

The final attendee in the room should be a note-taker, someone who’s meticulous about capturing comments, questions, conversations, etc. If you can record (video or even just audio) the workshop, that’s ideal, especially if you’ve got key folks who can’t attend.

I can’t end this section without noting that if your CEO can attend any portion of the workshop, especially if you haven’t yet gotten full commitment for the customer experience strategy, make it happen. It’s eye-opening for everyone, especially the CEO, who is often far-removed from the day-to-day customer interactions. I’ve witnessed CEOs giving their commitment for the work that lies ahead as a result of witnessing the journey mapping workshop.

It’s not “us versus them” or even “us on behalf of them.” For a design thinker it has to be “us with them.” -Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

Annette Franz, CCXP is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.