Should I create journey maps based on real customer stories, or with stories made up by employees?
Customer journeys that are not based on real customer stories can be incredibly dangerous – because they’re filled with assumptions that might be incomplete or downright wrong. That said, you’ve got to start your journey mapping process somewhere, and assumption-based journey maps are a natural place to begin. Even if the journey these assumptions depict isn’t completely accurate, they’re a valuable tool for getting employees to empathise with customers and highlighting spots where additional customer research is needed.
Think about doing it this way: create an assumption journey map with employees from various departments — that way, you can draw on their various perspectives and insights. Then go out and do qualitative research with customers to validate (or invalidate) those journeys. This can include at-home ethnography, diary studies or one-on-one interviews.
One time- and cost-efficient research method is to bring multiple customers in to participate in one day of your workshop, have them walk through the assumption journey maps, and then ask them to change the maps to match their own collective reality.
Without quantitative research data, what is best practice for determining emotions throughout a customer’s journey?
It’s important to understand the relationship between quantitative and qualitative data — and what kind of insights each can provide.
Quantitative data is great at helping you understand customers’ overarching attitudes towards your company, where their pain points are and what they do as they interact with you. What you can’t get from quantitative data is a deep or nuanced understanding of customers’ underlying emotions, attitudes or motivations—or what exactly an ideal solution to their problems looks like. For that, you need to complement your quantitative data with qualitative research like observations and one-on-one interviews.
What about B2B customer journey mapping?
Journey mapping for B2B brands is just as valid and important as it is with their B2C counterparts. In each type of business, you have to start with your persona — whose journey are you mapping out?
Just like B2C companies, B2B organisations often have several different personas whose journeys need to be mapped. But while a B2C company’s persona journeys may never cross paths, the journeys of a B2B organisation’s personas may be intricately connected.
Consider the journey of a Chief Financial Officer who has to approve a major software purchase. They hand off the details of the transaction to their finance team before adding their signature. As soon as the paperwork is in place, the client’s Chief Technology Officer steps in to oversee the integration of this new software platform. And then, throughout the onboarding process, the company’s developers and system administrators step in for the required customisation. Towards the end of the journey, the internal training team ensures a successful rollout to the company’s employees.
While each of these roles may need to have a detailed journey map, the unified journey — including key handoffs amongst the various roles — is often equally important. Don’t shy away from high-level journey maps that illustrate the flow of actions and information from role to role.
Effective B2B journey mapping also involves extensive customer research. The B2B companies I’ve worked with bring in employees from their clients’ organisations to participate in workshops. While this may initially seem like a recruiting challenge, B2B journey mapping participants are usually more than happy to take part in an initiative that will make their jobs easier.