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How to Build Actionable Customer Journey Maps with Debbie Levitt

Hey i'm veronica from uxpression let me briefly introduce you to what we at your expression do your expression is an online platform where you can build customer journey maps impact maps and personas for your organization with more than 100 ready to use templates you can speed up your personal creation and mapping processes to help you build confidence on your journey and learn from other practitioners we host community events on user customer employee experience and all things journey mapping our speakers are industry experts that are willing to share their knowledge to help you design and build better products and services we also speak at the events ourselves and share tips and tricks we learn through years of practice and numerous interviews with other mappers on top of that we have the expression academy where you can dive into learning how to build journey maps personas and conduct interviews and do that all at your own pace don't forget to check it out and enjoy the event welcome to how to build actionable.


Customer journey maps i wrote this just for this event so this is the premier adventure for it i'd love feedback if anybody thinks it needs some love and for those of you not familiar with me thank you for the beautiful introduction you can find me on youtube as delta cx i have over 700 hours of video if you add me on linkedin please tell me you saw me here today. So i know you're not a scammer or a weirdo so please tell me you saw me here today we also have a free slack and discord communities you can join them if you like note that when i do these talks i tend to say cx and ux interchangeably to me when they're done right cx is u x u x is cx. And i don't want to die on the hill of who's a customer who's a user who's a human who's a dog who's a primary customer who's a secondary customer. So i'm just gonna say customer but it could be the end user it could be anybody so just to keep it short.

Skills you need to build an actionable customer journey map

So my starting point for this talk is about skills most people would probably say the skills you need to make a good customer journey map include having a good template knowing how to use a journey mapping tool dropping information into the template and having a good idea who customers are and what they're probably doing this makes it sound like anybody with a template and some good ideas can create a customer journey map that might be true but most people will create a poor journey map or the wrong journey map and these aren't the true skills that go into customer journey mapping we should have our eyes on the quality of the work being done and the outcomes it can produce but sometimes we think it's more important to just get work done even if it's not being done. Well so we know there's a difference between good and bad customer journey map so we'l be talking more about that today there's good and bad con conversations with users and customers there's good and bad screens you can use figma well and be a poor ux designer so we must remember that the artifacts and even the tools are not the skills customer journey maps are artifacts or documents of qualitative research while interviews can be effective it's best to observe the journey what people say and what people do might not be the same not everybody remembers or can describe every step they took and the details around each step this means that the real skills for customer journey mapping are cx and ux qualitative research skills and these skills include studies of human behavior and cognitive psychology problem finding and solving critical thinking deductive reasoning and logic putting your preferences and biases aside to design for user needs and especially for research planning the research choosing the best methods planning the correct questions and the tasks and journeys we should observe choosing the right quantities and types of participants executing sessions with neutrality and a good interviewing style observing and noticing things others miss being a good mini detective analyzing the data bringing it together to report on insights pain points and opportunities and delivering actionable suggestions around these strategies and decisions are only as good as our customer intelligence which is only as good as the research that we've done and that research is only as good as all of these skills and how are we're applying best practices and good techniques so anybody can create a customer journey map anybody can grab a template and drop real or imagined information in the question will be how are we making sure we're setting up our teams and projects up for success because we work from what we know and when we don't know we work from what we guess that's where risk and waste creep in and for many of us on the adventure right now 258 of us. It's probably partially or wholly our job to identify and mitigate our risks and save our team teams from making costly mistakes burning id burning bad burning ideas i'm sorry let's try that again i need my see take that again burning time on bad ideas and that's ultimately the real value of this type of cx and ux work we're helping our teams and company attract new customers make them happy or happier and retain them or improve that loyalty and every company wants this we provide the intelligence that will help make better decisions so we can achieve these a customer journey map is just one document that helps us represent and share custom intelligence.

Why create a customer journey map

So why do we create a customer journey map because we want to visualize how a target audience experiences something now that's mostly it great customer journey maps help us make decisions take action prioritize and understand our customers better great customer journey maps set us up for success when we attempt to streamline and optimize the task and experience and create a desired future state journey map bad customer journey maps might end up filed away never to be seen again bad customer journey maps mislead us and make us believe our guesses and assumptions are true bad customer journey maps should be treated as a document that represents project and company risk not as a document that is a source of truth the customer journey map you see on the screen looks pretty good. Right it's thorough organized and it contains all of the elements we expect to see in a journey map but what you can't tell from looking at it is that i created it as part of a job interview challenge i was asked to create a customer journey map choosing whichever persona i'd like taking whatever journey so i grabbed a persona i made in 2014 when my company did a research project on how people with parkinson's disease use fitness trackers. And i pretended that community carry is shopping for renters insurance the persona was real but didn't come from an observational study on how people shop for renters insurance the journey is completely made up and the persona is outdated and irrelevant but it looks pretty good and if we're not careful our company might create strategies directions and products for this imagined customer and her guest at and assumed journey today we'l be looking at some customer journey maps and using our critical thinking to determine if they're good or not but what are we looking for.

Customer journey map criteria

We need clear criteria to help us understand if the journey map we're looking at or working on creating is good or not first is the journey map from the customer's perspective did we map their experience or did we map awareness to advocacy or some sort of funnel did we map how our internal teams or business units view our customers or did we map our customers realistically if our journey map includes opportunities or suggestions do these truly solve real customer problems or pain points or are we suggesting what might solve our business problems or treating the customer like some pawn we push around does our map show the journey correctly or did we map something to high level or lacking in detail we'l look at an example later of a journey map that is too high level where did we get all the information we put in the map did this come from great qualitative and preferably observational research did it come from guesses assumptions and we know our users you can guess at a customer journey map. But that's risky and wasteful make sure your journey map is marked clearly that it is assumptive the best journey maps are made from watching our target audience live through their experiences in their natural environment we know the map we're creating represents the real journey because we witnessed it over and over with multiple research study participants that were carefully recruited to best represent a particular target audience make sure your evidence-based and data informed guesses assumptions or hopes that end up in your map should be marked as risks and elements to be replaced with knowledge if you're not starting with great qualitative research a map highlighting guesses and assumptions should inspire us to invest in a research study so we gather customer intelligence to that'l set us up for success does the customer journey map help us understand the user problem pain point task or need do we understand the root causes of these problems and pain points sorry can i ask someone to mute please it will be harder to create the right strategies decisions or products if we don't really understand users problems and everything causing them does our customer journey map make the mistake of offering so-called opportunities or solutions when we don't understand the real problems does our customer journey map provide customer intelligence so we can make better team product and service decisions did our map help us during a prioritization exercise did it help clarify what our team might need to work on first not which features do we build first which pain points and problems do we address first does our journey map inspire our cx and ux designers can they review this map and start to understand how to solve customers problems it's great when a customer journey map is pretty or even beautiful but it's more important that it be functional and actionable while working on maps or reviewing an existing map let's ask ourselves these questions and think critically about the answers this might lead our teams to some tough but important conversations.

What to include in a CJM (and how much?)

How much information should be on a customer journey map should we include the amount of time spent on a step how detailed should it be what about variations that we saw across research participants not everybody will take this journey or move through the task identically should we include how people feel if they don't mention how they happen to be feeling can we really know are we guessing what they feel should the customer journey map only show successful journeys do these always have to end on a happy note with smiling faces and people dancing with their dogs can our journey map end in frustration or disaster you should be including enough details so that the journey map is true and accurate helps us find pain points write good problem statements and see the opportunities for improvement or true innovation your customer journey map is not enough if it doesn't help our teams strategize prioritize and make better and more customer-centric decisions okay get ready for our first exercise together with 278 people please go to.

Example 1: What's good or bad in this CJM? 1941-1157 it's on the top of the screen this is a journey map these are just some journey maps i found searching google images so i'm not picking on these companies for any reason other than they showed up in google image searches so before i say what i see in this journey map and you see i've got room for it here let's see your comments what do you notice about this journey map that might be good or bad which is it is this working is the poll working 1941 okay doesn't include feelings which could be good or bad we haven't decided yet few customer actions quote from the user pov assuming they're real quotes maybe these were made up it's broad it doesn't tell me anything it's visual i'm reading some of the things that you're answering where are the emotions business point of view where's the persona hey there's no stereotypical picture no clarity on sentiment no friction points what's the graph line high level very broad simple tone is defeatist information to general squiggly line customer lo a lot of people saying it's lacking emotion someone said i agree with that as well where are the problems the journey doesn't end more positively than the beginning. Well we don't know no back of house touch points. Yeah that might be a little bit more service designy but still a great point shown as an nng example not realistic. Yeah. I think i have one from them later. Or some all i got them all from google. So they're all various you know things is this aspirational or as is we don't know opportunities are vague there's no milestones not humanizing. Wow this is great. I know there's hundreds of you and the comments are super many people are saying too simple and not specific it's high level and vague what are the real pain points here and again for those of you who aren't seeing the screen this is a persona from jumping jamie jamie needs to switch her cell phone plan she wants a plan that can save her money without sacrificing user usage limit so we'l talk about it. Yeah the bubble the speech bubbles are who are they real quotes or did we make these up and how will a company prioritize based on it. Okay great. So with 98 responses i'm now going to show you what i see when i look at this customer journey. So i'm not looking at your responses right now i'm going to go to mine but thank you for all of the great answers so let's start with are we looking at the customer's perspective maybe at least it's not first i became aware of company x but does jamie's life change if support answers calls faster was that a real problem knowledge sources and is it true we don't know the sources. But it doesn't seem true to me watch as commercial is a hint is that really a step of the process or something marketing put in so we feel better about all that money we spent on commercials is this journey different if jamie doesn't see our commercial do we really think that she will call her current cell phone carrier to tell them she's shopping around how often does that happen does she call competitors to negotiate with each one in the 2020s she doesn't just pick one and sign up from the website she will make all those calls and then call again to sign up if jamie wonders if she can pay less does she even check her current carrier's website or call them just to change to a cheaper plan i'm sure only a percentage of customers end up switching to other carriers especially if they're locked into a contract and switching means paying an early termination fee as it does in america wherein this journey is figuring out if she has an early termination fee or not does anybody atheistic. I think i have to load up a few more of these does anybody stop and define the parameters they require for a new cell phone plan who puts this much work into it the journey seems unrealistic it seems like the company imagined this but probably didn't observe people doing most of this is her expectation friendly and customer support i think i've loaded up too many arrows or is there expectation to not need support at all what do you think is there expectation friendly and helpful support or i hope to not call support at all and it looks like the same old happy sad happy customer journey map we are frustrated all day long. And we know companies suck yet every customer journey map seems to end with success and happiness journey maps should map reality now let's talk about problem definition even though i've loaded up too many arrows what is jamie's problem do we understand it how do things go wrong for her why is this so difficult doesn't tell us what's difficult opportunities look like specific solutions we don't really understand jamie's problem but we seem to know or imagine that comparing competitors offers breaking down her current plan and offering customer support via text messaging or chat will solve the problems that she has prioritization and decisions will probably start with showing competitors offers breaking down her current plan and adding more customer support channels but are those the right decisions top priorities how will we stay on top of every competitor's offering to put that on our site could we be sued for misrepresenting other companies offerings are we inspiring designers can cx and ux. Designers know what to create to help jamie solve her problems probably not if we don't understand her problems if i had to guess i would say this was a customer journey map put together by a marketing team and it's got a lot of guesses but real business decisions will be made from this i think our customers deserve better all right we're going to do the next one.

Example 2: A TSA journey

There's five of these so get ready this is a tsa checkpoint journey and i found it in an article so i'm going to read it out loud to you can read the screen or listen to me read and go back to mentee you should see a new question asking what do you think about this journey here's what it says for example imagine that you're designing a new experience of going through the tsa checkpoint at the airport your moments along the top of this user journey map might be pack for trip travel to airport arrive at airport find security line show id to tsa go through security find gate arrive at destination once you have your top level journey moments or touch points use your personas to go step by step and capture what your user is feeling thinking and doing it every phase through this process you can begin to map the breadth of problems your user faces to identify the most prominent issues to tackle through design or innovation okay lacks overview not easy to read arrive at airport when do i get on the plane. Yeah. I guess that's some good questions journey phases are so much broader than the real experience of going through tsa what is tsa transportation security administration. It's the security checkpoint in airports in america scope is too broad online check-in is missing doesn't this person have luggage it's very high level it assumes there aren't pain points getting to the airport getting through security and sometimes racist sexist transphobic people. The tsa yes thank you yes phases or different levels in terms of size and specificity it's biased to your own perspective you're not looking at customer information do you have tsa pre-check which is something you can get in america so you can skip some of the security line your moments might not be customer moments what about cues i feel like the user might be nervous during security because they could have an item confiscated there's no visuals. Yeah there's no visuals because this was from an article telling you how great customer journey maps are so this isn't the map itself it was someone talking about it where is drinking the whole bottle of water before security did not throw it out. I was doing that recently in milan's lenate airport and a security woman comes running over to me and tells me you don't have to do that our new machines can take liquids and it was like. Oh yeah go through security will mean take off your shoes take off your jacket unload your pockets put your laptop in. Yeah can i actually carry this how many ounces yeah wonderful answers thanks. Everybody i'm gonna go back to some of the notes i made but super answers from the live poll from many of you. So my first question is does this sound like a customer's real journey going through airport security can you think of important steps or experiences this misses do you think this is the journey for a disabled person how about someone who doesn't speak the language of the airport they're in does our customer understand the latest security policies and procedures did they pack ahead of time knowing those will they be surprised when they try to go through security and most importantly. And i'm not sure anybody got this one can you read a persona document and know what someone's journey was from reading a persona do we ever really know what our customers are thinking or feeling and can you read a persona and know what someone was thinking or feeling in a different situation i would say we only really know what people do or what they say they might say they feel or think something. But it's still what they said. And we're not psychic we must be careful of thinking that we know what someone feels or what they're thinking would this customer journey map pass our criteria will we understand problems in detail will we be able to make good decisions and take the right actions from it will designers know where to start it doesn't sound like any research was done it sounds like we're gonna guess based on what we think people do because we have a persona all right number three out of five who's ready to keep going.

Example 3: Anna's journey

So we've got anna anna is also going through airport security this is a different customer journey map i found what is good or bad about this customer journey map oh too broad no specifics looks like a template not filled out it's half filled out. Yeah. I'm going to load up the bottom in a moment confusing visuals have to have context sounds like an ideal experience with no problems. Right so true there's no detail or information random numbers there are visuals and photos and that's helpful why isn't it in the first person skipping steps is out of traveling with other people or alone doesn't feel realistic seems too linear too vague no visit to duty-free or restaurant that's right anna is hungry and never goes to the toilet right where do you someone says where do where's the part where you go to the bathroom and miss your boarding call where's her frustrations where's our opportunities to improve who's anna there's no pain points no bad things happen seems like an ideal experience doesn't seem to be actionable based on pain points lots of road lack of roadblocks and interruptions it's called an emotional journey but no emotions i'm going to load up the emotions in a moment it was a i cut them out who's responsible for each stage. Hey they're mixing needs actions and touch points into singular statements stock imagery isn't great. Yeah. I didn't make this so you get to say whatever you want are we guessing what anna is going through what is she feeling doesn't account for 9 of human experiences. Yeah these are great let me load up the rest of the slide because there's a lot to talk about here but thank you for these so far so let me talk through what this seems to say anna arrives at the airport she checks in whoa is that really her next step how did she find where to check in and how did that go is she even in the right terminal. Then she checks out the gates does she have to gates are sometimes written on the boarding pass i use an app that notifies me of my gate i don't look at the gate boards that much anna may or may not check the gates anna goes through security we already talked about how many steps that is that should not just be one step on a journey map unless this is super high level and you're going to have multiple journey maps to go with it because it could be dozens of steps from the knowledge of what you can and can't take through to packing and unpacking taking off certain item of clothing moving around your electronics and batteries so many steps just in what is one step here going through security and i'l stop with this. But you can see that a map like this is very high level it would be unlikely to be actionable or provide the details that we really need to make decisions understand the problem or start considering the solution and i'm a little nervous to see this up here it's a spot for you to fill in what percentage of this map is assumption based it's better to note how much of this is guessed or assumed than to not mention that. So yes calling things an assumption-based journey when it's not based on good qualitative researches is what we should do but why did we make a map from guesses and assumptions it's important for us to then do research so that we replace assumptions with knowledge but that raises critical thinking questions what's the benefit of starting with a guest at journey map are we basing decisions and strategies on incorrect information and if we're going to guess at the map do research and then correct the map did we waste time by starting with a guest app map did guessing at the map limit our research and accidentally cause us to miss steps that are assumption-based map left out a journey mapping instructor who showed this map asked attendees to think about how each of these airport steps went from their own recent experiences we were told to drop a dot based on how positive or negative each step was for us here are the dots that people placed this is reality at many steps of a journey people have very positive slightly positive slightly negative very negative and neutral experiences does our journey map capture that did we get all of that detail or did we go with our biases or stereotypes and say checking in for the flight was great and ann is happy going through security is awful anna is sad and mad we could draw all of these dots to show which participant had what kind of experience or felt what kind of emotion but does this help us is this good evidence how can we act on this do we have enough detail in each step to understand what's going well and what's going wrong the instructor said journey maps aren't supposed to document all the possible steps and experiences and if we want to map everything we need flow charts. Okay. We'l talk about that later. But if the customer journey map isn't the real customer journey what are we documenting what are we doing how do we know what to include or exclude will we pick the wrong things because of biases or stereotypes i'm very concerned about these things.

Example 4: Paula's journey

Okay we've got another one let's load it up. Paula i found this one in google images and it's clearly some sort of template but let's roast it anyway go ahead roast away tell me what is good or bad about paula persona because even though this is clearly some sort of template or example i think we've all seen real customer journey maps that made a lot of the same mistakes that this sample makes no defined persona super high level i like turtles very vague. No idea what paul is doing no context. Yeah. What is journey phase one and again this was probably a template so some of these things are vague. But i still noticed some real serious problems here that i wanted to talk about who's she interacting with what problem is paula trying to solve what are the phases mean. Super broad. Yeah. And again it was a template. So i'm sure some of this was left out on purpose. But i think as a template i'm not sure it's a good model that we should be following quotes based on what info heart icon for being concerned. Yeah that was a little weird karen much yes who is paulo what's this supposed to tell me no comment. But if there was a comment there's nothing to comment. Okay we have comedians in the audience today we could map the journey of the comedians comedian tries a joke comedian's joke doesn't go so well sad comedian what is. The irregular landscape line mean. Yeah. What are the gradients and colors mean what's each journey phase inconsistent icons and of icons and journey dots what are the actions that change your emotions how do they know the opportunities are the right ones i understand that this is a template but there should be a brief explanation of what this persona is experiencing that justifies these reactions great i love what you're all saying so here's what i noticed first we seem to have no idea why this customer is this angry dealing with our company what is the problem how when why always sometimes i have no detail on this which means i'm not sure where to start to fix this. But the map confidently says that we just need to incentivize support or sales reps more or better really does that fix the customer's problem are customers ready to leave us. And we think our internal teams need better incentives suddenly and magically this customer will be freaking thrilled with us everything's going great no concerns anymore all the past problems are forgotten and our opportunities are to share best practices learned that's it no problems to solve here it sounds like our company sucks in so many ways do we even know what best practices are holy cats it looks like our customer is in hell again they're annoyed because some other part of our company failed them. Wow we really have a lot of problems in a lot of areas did we learn from sharing our best practices evidently not. And i don't know what we are smoking. But we imagine that our customer has multiple problems with multiple parts of our company and dreams of leaving us but won't leave us really they've considered it but will be loyal despite the problems we cause them and our opportunity here is to use digital tools which ones how will digital tools solve various multi-dimensional problems customers have with us it's obviously a template. But it's a poor example nobody should follow it isn't realistic or actionable i have no idea what to do because i don't know what's going wrong this is the type of map i see when a company really has its head in the sand we suck but people won't leave us and let's use some digital tools okay for fun there's one more.

Example 5: Online shopping CJM

Handful of slides and we'l go to questions and i will certainly stay late for questions because i know we've had extra fun roasting these journey maps so take a look at this one this one again i found on google images and it says it is an online shopping customer journey map starting with motivation searching for websites browsing evaluate and paying no persona true not a good thing shopping for what. Yeah. I guess we don't really know anything doesn't matter needs who can say we've got 252 people here somebody must why so happy. Yeah there's lots of happy here i like that they have customer expectations why is motivation on a comparable row with activities i am so confused feeling won't magically go up after being very angry. Yeah is box a feeling who simplistic and sentiment analysis no decision fatigue who is the user what are the problem areas how does the person check ongoing deals very vague. I don't believe they're excited about having to find a gift love it well at least box is happy what his box is happy box misleading infographic what are the opportunities missing touch points what is discount news. Yeah these are great. I love i love these you've been a fantastic audience. Yes there are more slides. But this is great pain points anybody no recognition of potential drop-off at the unhappy stages it always assumes the person can be recovered. Yeah like the last one we magically poop on this person at every step but they're gonna stay our customer only good thing is a discount no ferraris there seems like a funnel emotions are simplistic it looks like a good customer journey map but better description of the emotions and i'm not a big fan of the emotion stuff i have to admit because i there's only so much i can solve for that i solve more for what people do and how they wish it went then how do they feel i always think that for me the feeling is the side effect of the process being awesome i wonder if it's important to reflect variants in consumer experiences i'l be talking about that coming up. So. Yeah we still have a few more slides so very little of this seems realistic to me it seems made up and manipulated which means it's risky and not a source of truth we shouldn't make decisions based on a map like this nearly zero customers would say i expect to find it easy to obtain news of discounts this sounds like something marketing made up so they can say they're solving that by emailing the mailing list lots of discount offers as a strategist architect and designer i can't make a more user-friendly search engine until i learn what's wrong with our searcher search results so this doesn't help me design and we would have to spin up a separate research project to know that. And how do we know that is the problem we're going to show people ads and then allow them to hide ads and the sales team selling the ads is going to allow that and the advertisers are okay with that maybe we should just have fewer or no ads if we make more money selling things to people than from ads. Maybe we get rid of the ads and remove a whole step that makes people annoyed is the customer still happy with our website if they don't know how to find the best prices why is they can't find the best prices and they're kind of happy why is this a happy moment this says we need clear and innovative website design is our problem clarity is our problem a lack of website innovation is creating something people have never seen before what do we need to invent because people can't find the best price have our teams failed if they solved the price problem but don't innovate i can go on and on with these.

Do your research

Actionable remember a lot of this is about the research that we've done when we haven't done the research our customer journey maps are likely to be inaccurate based on guesses based on things we want to pretend people are doing based on things that feed what we're hoping to get permission to do because we were going to do them anyway. And we have to remember customer journey map is about so much more than did we fill out a template with some things we think we know an american government agency emailed me to ask about taking my customer centricity training i sent them the web page describing the workshop and the key takeaways. And they replied they were not interested in that workshop because they just wanted to know how to make a customer journey map what's on this screen and the entire qualitative cx and ux research process is how you make a customer journey map well and.

Replace guesses with knowledge

Some say assumption-based customer journey maps are good because you can learn what your team or stakeholders assume that's a lot of time spent just to capture what one or more people guess or assume and you run the risk that the document will be treated as accurate and truthful there are other ways to capture assumptions like this exercise i have on the screen it's a simple quadrant that you can run as a meeting workshop exercise or something your teammates and stakeholders can do asynchronously your goal is to capture what they think they know about users customers this task this journey context all of it they can drop sticky notes where they have unanswered questions guesses and assumptions potentially outdated and incorrect information and what they wish they knew yes these are all variations of asking the same thing. But i find that when you ask them in different ways it just sparks ideas from people and they add more notes than they otherwise would use this exercise to remind your team of the risk we have when we move forward with a project when we have so many unanswered questions use this to explain to people that we shouldn't be making customer journey maps personas or other documents without customer intelligence and accurate knowledge of all of the topics on this board then your qualified researchers can use this to create their research goals and plan one or more studies that answer all of these questions.

Task analysis and optimized task flow

Many customer journey maps don't account for variations in how people do things i want to talk about task analysis which i prefer over jobs to be done task analysis is normally done after qualitative research like observing users and interviewing them you can't do a great task analysis based on surveys or what we guess about people even diary studies can leave out steps or workarounds the user thinks wasn't important to mention if we had observed these people we would have noticed the missing puzzle pieces task analysis starts with a researcher creating a flow detailing every step the user takes based on what the researcher observed during the study this is the what do they do the researcher then adds notes related to the tools knowledge and workarounds the user employed to accomplish each step this is the how of each step they checked the sticky note at their desk they asked a co-worker where to find the right form they went into photo editing software we also add issues and concerns anything that might be an obstacle or blocker of the process documenting tools knowledge workarounds issues concerns and obstacles gives us six new categories where we can find behaviors themes preferences unmet needs insights and opportunities sure we want to improve the steps of the process but we can also make improvements that account for all of these areas researchers then analyze the task flow and what we learned from our observations and interviews look for knowledge gaps the difference between what we assumed people knew or understood and what they actually know or understand think about security what do people know going into airport security versus what we assume they know huge knowledge gap and you'l see knowledge gaps in observational research especially when people use workarounds get stuck or give up let me give you an example from some research my agency did in 2021 our observational research asked people to shop for a certain item pretending that they had a thousand dollars and needed to buy 125 of this same thing almost everybody grabbed a real calculator or their phone calculator and did one thousand divided by 125 and said. Okay. I have eight dollars per item. But then they were surprised at the end of the task when they were over budget only one person said i don't have eight dollars per item i probably have six dollars per item because i know at the end of this you're going to add set up fees and tax and shipping she was right not only did we see the calculator used as a tool. But we saw the knowledge only one person had that shopping for this type of item had a lot of added costs at the end now going back to task analysis after you're done with the analysis then you make an optimized task flow your desired future state by looking at anywhere the system can take workload off the user this isn't just automation and making the system perform steps of the task it's also intelligently and deliberately architecting our systems to account for what we expect people to know or remember build knowledge into the system and for that e-commerce product project we added to their individual product page a way for people to enter their total budget the system would then deduct taxes shipping setup and other fees and tell you how many of this item you could afford as you changed color shipping speed and other parameters the number of items you could get for that budget changed. And i did all this in action was really fantastic. I'm very proud of it not only did this solve multiple problems and fix the tool and knowledge dependency but we invented something no competitor was doing during our generative research we saw 20 competitors and nobody had a way to enter your budget and see how many you could get so you can start to see how a technique like this goes far beyond what we know from surveys and a b tests and if you want to learn more we've got a bunch of free videos on the youtube channel just go to youtube and write delta cx task analysis and you should get like four videos that we've done and we're coming out with a book.

Task dimensions

About it in about a month or two task dimensions is part of this is from larry marine we can watch for these when researching with our current and target audiences to see where there are problems and potential opportunities these end up in our task analysis and by the way we didn't invent this task analysis has been around for decades manually intensive does a task or flow have a lot of steps or manual work high cognitive load don't make me think people don't want to have to figure things out or make sense of your mess error prone is there a step where it's highly likely people will make a mistake whether or not they know it's not enough to give people an error message and hope they solve their own problem great cx keeps people from ever making that mistake in the first place and knowledge dependent is there something we assumed a user knew understood or remembered that they don't think about when you've gone to pay a bill online and they ask for your account number now you have to dig up an old bill find your account number that was knowledge you didn't have so that's an example of knowledge dependent and i love task analysis diagrams because they really get into the variations of how different people might do things so this is a little bit more of that flowchart approach that earlier person mentioned and i've got a lot of text describing this. And i know we're running low on time so very quickly i did kind of the little piece of the of a possible journey i made it up what if we were waiting at a gate in an airport and suddenly they announced that they weren't going to be able to put everybody's bags in the overhead compartments you're going to have to gate check your bag. So what's going to happen now well people are going to do different things some people are going to gate check their bags some are going to repack their bags some are going to fight it some are going to consolidate their bags but all of this takes different knowledge do i know what items to remove or include if it's an e-cigarette you have to keep it with you can't put it in the cargo hold there's knowledge here that people don't know and there's questions and blockers like what am i doing and when do i get this back so there's so many questions and when we do an observational study and map it out this way we can really clearly see it now again it's not focused on emotions you could put a happy face on it if you want. But it's really focused on the parameters and details of the task and that's where those of us who are critical thinkers and problem finders and solvers is just going to jump out at us what some of the possible improvements and solutions might be.

Expanded service blueprint

So i just got one more slide and then i'l take questions now this is another style of map you could use i'm playing with this it might be a little bit much i might have overdone it. But i'm playing with it as an idea you're welcome to use some of it none of it all of it. And i made this after i was having a really bad experience trying to get my car repaired so this is obviously not a real project this is just from my perspective. And i'm calling it an expanded service blueprint because it starts with the concept of a service blueprint which takes a journey map further you start with the journey map you add what's going on within the company and backstage technology and actors and actions and on stage stuff. And basically i've just added a mountain of stuff to it just out of curiosity to see if it's going to help anything or any body. So i'm still experimenting with it you can too. So we've got stages and substage is in the amount of time there they'l take we've got channels and evidence we've got the customer steps and the onstage people which are the workers they'l interact with we've got onstage tools and technology with which customers will directly interact with the backstage is people tools tech and processes and other supporting processes from task analysis from larry marine's task stuff i added questions issues blockers tools knowledge workarounds and these things from task dimensions manually intensive cognitive load error-prone or knowledge dependent i didn't fill these in maybe they won't always be relevant or work but if you're observing some people having trouble getting their car repaired you might see the customer's tools workarounds issues and try putting them in from customer journey maps i put the customers a likely thought or a real quote please don't use fake quotes i left off the usual swim lane for emotions i tend to not find those helpful or actionable you can add that in if it's meaningful i tend to be more focused on the experience knowing that a better experience makes people happier i added opportunities and suggestions but i didn't want these to be exact solutions just possible direction for improvement products services and experiences ux pressure had icons for whether the process was straightforward or not so i played with that. And i added some more swim lanes metrics for what metric metrics do we have showing something's going right or wrong or what metrics might we use later to measure this step of the process i added risks policies and considerations so is it a lot sure is it a more complete picture sure you might want fantastic detail you might want to hide some of these swim lanes it's just something i'm playing with and you could see what you think.

Customer Disaster Journey Map

And finally last slide i thought this was sorry was last slide i like to do. And i like to teach people to do what i call a customer disaster journey map you can create this when you see risks in a project and negative outcomes but others on your team just aren't seeing it they imagine things will work out well it'l go exactly as planned customers will remember tiny details and have no trouble with lots of steps of a process i created this one some years ago when i was contracting at macy's the project i was on sent people a beauty box. It was like little samples of makeup and the idea was you would go back to the website and buy the big versions of the makeup if you liked the little ones but the product manager and engineering didn't want to code the page so that when you clicked from the beauty box page to the real item that it had the same color that we sent people they wanted it to just show the default color which for makeup would end up being a different color and in this case it was a lipstick and i couldn't convince these people that it was worth it to code the page so that people coming from this page saw the product page with the color we actually sent them in the sample box. So i mapped it out what would it look like and this is a little bit more of a storyboard. But i like to call it the customer disaster journey map what would it look like to order to get a sample lipstick like it order it get a color you weren't expecting talk to customer support who can't figure out why you're complaining about getting the color you ordered they tell you to go to the store to fix it now you've got an errand to take care of. And then the customer ends up mad and angry and writing on social media and canceling their beauty box subscription because this sucked and then when my teammate saw this it hit them the risk was unacceptable and they actually decided to code the page based on the suggestion i had now i'm using humor in this if that works for your style and your team you can use it too so with that thank you for coming you can check out my site at i've got some upcoming workshops at space my new book is customers know you suck actionable cx strategies to better understand attract and retain customers you can find it at ckys including the digital versions that are as little as a dollar on my website and if anybody wants coaching i always give people free 30 minutes before charging them so if you think i can help you email me or let's just talk because i want to try to help people so hopefully we've got some questions i'l stop sharing my screen and i haven't been following the chat. So it's okay help me what are the questions. Okay first of all thank you so much debbie for this talk for this engaging talk that was a lot of fun actually with the nepal stuff. And i really like the activity of the people and we will actually go ahead and take some time for questions unfortunately we will need like another 10 or 15 minutes probably for that. So if someone needs to go well we understand that if you have questions and you want to need and you really want to hear an answer so please stay with us for another 10-15 minutes meanwhile i would like to at least if you have questions be sure to type them in the chat and meanwhile i would like to remind that you can visualize customer journeys analyze and improve your customers experience and do that all with your teammates in your express your platform register and start exploring the features on your own or sign up for a personal demo and our team will highlight the features that you might be interested in and if you want to speed up your journey mapping process and if you are looking for some good templates do check the ones that we have at uxpressure so now let's move to the questions that you have and we actually had a couple of questions during your talk the first one was from elena that was when you were talking about the criteria.

Q&A: Mapping a journey for a product that doesn't exist yet

What about the future state map for a journey that doesn't exist now what do you think about that a future state map for a journey that doesn't exist now so if the journey doesn't exist and it sounds like this is a product that doesn't exist and i mean technically the journey exists we might not have a product for it and if we do the observational research around it we'l see what people are doing now there's got to be a journey for this it just might not include our company or we might not have built a product or service that addresses it but there is a journey there's something that humans are doing now unless this is so new and so innovative that no humans are doing anything like this or related to this which probably exists but it is probably rare and i wish we had more context from that person but onboarding for a new product. Yeah. I'm always amazed how focused people are on onboarding and sometimes not as focused on the rest of the product but onboarding is certainly a journey but the question is how is there a way that people are doing this now and what have we learned from that and when it comes to onboarding my general advice for onboarding is separate from customer journey map advice it's give people the least onboarding they have to because they want to use whatever this is they want to do it they want to use it. And i find a lot of times people think more onboarding more tutorials more tips more first-time experiences the least onboarding is the best onboarding because ultimately you. Oh if it's something where you need to collect information or link a bank account or whatever. Okay you have to do that. But i find some people you end up with oh well marketing wants us to collect this information and we want to show them this video if your product is intuitive easy to learn and easy to use you don't need all that stuff your onboarding can be minimal take out your swipey tutorials take out your tool tips take out your pop-up stuff and walk throughs just make an intuitive easy product that's all you need you don't have to customer journey map the onboarding chances are and i don't know what you're building or what industry you're in it's b2b and tech stuff. So it's very complicated but it doesn't have to be complicated so the question is what is the least onboarding that you can do so people can get started i look at complicated text systems like aha hashtag not sponsored i'm definitely not paying them i'm But you look at aha and there isn't a lot that you have to put into aha to get started so the question to elena and her co-workers would be what is the least information we need to collect from people so they can just get into this thing and feel like they're using it so be careful of over complicating the onboarding stuff only ask people for the deal breakers. Like. Wow they're really not going to make it very far in our system if we don't make sure we have this piece of information or whatever it is now is not the time to walk them through everything this thing does and try to take them to school it this is not i wouldn't even i wouldn't even go there agree. Thank you. Yeah feel free to write to me privately if you think i can help more than that. But i think the minimal onboarding is the best onboarding. And i would i would say your usability test think and hopefully support that thank you so much debbie we have another question from becky.

Q&A: Using multiple journey maps

Multiple journey maps so that some zoom in on more details of one portion of your higher level. One. Yeah. So for me. I'm usually doing task analysis more than i'm doing customer journey maps just because i find them to be more detailed and more actionable and in that case we typically have something that might be more high level. And then we're breaking it down into its sub tasks but again you have to be really knowledgeable of what that journey is to break it down into subtasks otherwise we might be guessing so even when we think about the airport experience there's so many subtasks there it hurts you know you're going to need 40 customer journey maps but hypothetically if you really were trying to look at the end-to-end airport experience then you need a squillian journey maps maybe you need to take a look at what it what are you focused on right now and start with the trigger for that particular thing and then look at that particular journey because again sometimes i mean we want to be end to end. But if you are looking at improving going through airport security we have to take a look at what that includes ultimately that does include a lot of things. And i think it does start with packing for the trip but already right there you have a knowledge dependency and a knowledge. Gap so the best thing i can suggest is we do make multiple task analyzes for different tasks and then we show on kind of a larger flow chart how these tasks are related to each other and sometimes that's part of the optimization process because even how the tasks relate to each other or the order they should go in or something like that is is something that could be improved so i know that was a bit of a general answer but hopefully a little bit helpful.

Q&A: Questions to ask in qualitative interviews to create better journey maps and hit pain points

Some questions you ask in qualitative interviews to help you create better journey maps and hit all necessary pain points show me how you do this. Really. Yeah so basically are a lot of our qualitative observational research at my company is observational sometimes there's something that happens over such a long period of time that it's hard to watch and we have to kind of incorporate other methods like a diary study or interviews or partial observations but if it's something that you can watch in kind of one sitting hypothetically you could go to the airport and follow someone with their permission and watch them go through the whole airport and security process you could do that in one sitting. But i'm not going to interrupt them i'm not going to ask them a lot of things so i would say don't make the mistake of thinking that the qualitative process is about asking people hey tell me about the time you did this that's plan b plan a is can you go watch this can you go watch people do whatever this is in their natural environment or some piece of this maybe if it's about buying cars maybe you're spending some time in car dealerships with permission listening to some of the conversations that sales people have with prospective buyers that's part of the journey is being in the car dealership for that time so ultimately the best question the best questions are show me how you do this. And how could this be improved that's it. We i don't ask did you like it will your cousin like it would you pay for it's really just i want to understand what the journey and the tasks are and mostly i want to watch it if i can't watch it i'l ask more about it and if it's something over time and we have time then a diary study might be part one of the multiple methods we use thank you so much and we have a question from titiana you mentioned you mentioned.

Q&A: Shouldn't we include emotions in journey maps?

That you don't use emotion as much because a good experience make people happy however shouldn't emotion include it when you analyze the different journeys for example if you are in a bad mood because you have been body checked by tsa this will be influenced this will influence how you feel the rest of the journey. Foreign. Yeah hypothetically i think first it real that's going to be person to person some people are going to hold on to that for the rest of the day and some people are going to let it go fast we don't know i'm still angry about going through a tia security in manchester uk airport in 2019. So i'm really holding on to that a long time that still gets a sad face and angry fire don't go through the manchester airport. But i think that what i what i always say about this is if adding emotion to a journey map or service blueprint helps you or your team in any way then go ahead and put that on there i just find that sometimes it takes up a lot of room. And it's a pretty picture that people look at. But i'm not sure that it necessarily sparks action i can still document that experience i can say you know anna then goes to the food court she's still pissed about the security experience. And she buys too much panda express and really overdoes it you know or anna hated her security experience so much she drops by sees candies and overspends on scotch mallows so i think that you know this it can be part of your storytelling or can be part of the visual journey mapping i think we're used to putting emotions on there. But i personally tend to find that people sometimes get distracted by the emotions happy face sad face high line low line. And i really want people to be more familiar with the real process and experience so again put emotions on there if it helps you and your team and your project i tend to not put them on there. But that's just a personal choice i think it can it can go either way thank you so much debbie and thank you from titiana we have another question from leah is.

Q&A: Is the collaboration template for research planning done before conducting the actually research, during, or after?

The collaboration template for research planning done before conducting the actual research during or after great question thanks. Yeah as i like to say about that quadrant with the collaboration i would love to see this done at the start of every project when you're planning the project because maybe it changes how you plan a project maybe we try to start a project or reduce super early planning of a project we do this exercise which could take half hour maybe less if you can get everybody together it doesn't have to be a multi-day workshop this is this is a 20-minute exercise in my opinion get everything up there look at that and say okay we have a lot of unanswered questions can we make time in this project for one or more research methods whatever they might be to help us answer these questions and that way because that might change the project planning but in my opinion there is never a bad time to do that quadrant exercise i did a talk a couple of days ago for a private company and they do a lot of cro and a b testing and they were like can we can we do that quadrant if an a b test fails and we don't know why. And i said why not there's never a bad time for people to sit down even for 15 or 20 minutes and say what did we think we knew what were our guesses and assumptions what do we wish we know what's going on here. So i think while i love to do these at the start. And i'm now sending them to my clients as soon as they sign my contract i think there's never a bad time to run that exercise and figure out what do we think we know what are we guessing and assuming what do we wish we knew and then ask ourselves can we make the time and invest in answering the unanswered questions thank you so much we have another question it's from caitlin.

Q&A: Should we always make journey maps based on research and avoid assumption-based maps?

Always make jenny maps based on research and avoid assumption-based maps. Yeah that is just my personal opinion like i said earlier there are some people who love assumption based maps because they think well it's fast let's just get assumptions out there are defin there's definitely a group of people who seem to think that working from guesses and assumptions are faster. But i would ask people to calculate the real costs of their projects and the problems and failures and customer issues that it creates and put that into the cost of your project and put the cost of fixing it later into your project and then make sure that guesses and assumptions really are cheaper and faster because my hypothesis would be they're not so that's where i stand on that i am not for i feel like in the time that i took to make an assumption-based map do research and then fix the map and hope that people aren't too in love with the map that i've now torn up and thrown away and said wait a minute this didn't turn out to be true i could just run the quadrant exercise the quadrant exercise will capture those assumptions and guesses i don't have to make a fake customer journey map out of it. And then i can just make a much better one it might even help us reframe our problems so you know someone's saying i think it would be good to make an assumption based map do a research-based map and talk through the comparison of why yeah. I mean brian's not wrong you certainly if you want to wake people up to the danger of their assumptions and guesses brian's right you could start with an assumption-based map with guesses and assumptions. And we know our customers. And then you could do your quadrant do the research that answers all the questions in the quadrant. Yes that might take four six weeks to do really good observational and qual research and then come back and go hey turns out this is the actual customer journey and then say hey here's an example of what happens when you know here think about the risk that we could have you know do a future perspective what would what would have been the risk if we had run with this as a source of truth rather than what ended up being the truth. So i would agree with brian there though again do just do that once and you know hopefully then it tells the story and how does the quadrant map capture.

Q&A: How does the research quadrant capture assumptions?

Assumptions. Yeah. So the quadrant. And you can reword it if it would help you but the quadrant has four areas it's guesses and assumptions so that's literally on the map right there guesses and assumptions and this could be about users the task the process the journey the context anything related to this project or area of product guesses and assumptions what i wish i knew potentially outdated or incorrect information. Like oh we studied people five years ago it's a different world now. And oh gosh i'm forgetting the fourth i have to go look at my own slide is it bedtime yet hold on oh unanswered questions. Yeah so basically these basically say the same things four ways and if you want to word them differently you can you could put a fifth one that says what i think i know. But that can accidentally sound a little bit judgmental. But that's really what you're trying to collect what do people think they know about any of this about people contexts and systems whatever it is the journey the task however you want to look at it so are they open-ended questions they might be i've had people put stuff on these ranging from very specific questions that they want to know about human behavior to really broad questions that my research probably isn't going to answer like how much will people pay for this when it's when this represents something we haven't even imagined or built yet how much will people pay for a thing we don't even know what it is. Okay. That's out of scope. So. Yeah you do get lots of questions but to me i love that because it helps us as researchers start to create our research plan and goals decide our methods figure out are recruiting who do we want to meet and how many of them so i love collecting everybody's unanswered and open questions about whatever this is and i'l have to tell them some of them are out of scope or kind of unreasonable and many of them i can answer thank you once again.

Q&A: How do we know when the complexity is becoming too much and not useful?

We think about it enough we can always create a cgm with more complexity and represent more diverse experiences how do we know when the complexity is becoming too much and not useful or actionable and that's going to be the eye of the beholder you know you've got a b2b universe so this might be a different elena. So i don't know what universe you have other elena but ultimately i would say usually the problem isn't too much complexity i think usually our customer journey maps are lacking information or lacking depth or possibly lacking the true complexity of the true journey. So i'm not worried about putting in too much and that's another reason where you could use one of these types of tools and again not sponsored you know there's certainly ux pressure. And there's others but you can use a tool where you can put more complexity into your service blueprint or some of your other stuff and then just hide that swim lane for certain audiences just because you have information in a map doesn't mean every audience sees the same map you can certainly try to condense or hide some of that. But ultimately i would say we do want more diverse experiences the project we're doing a project we've done at my company they first had some market research and market research went and talked to eight millennials in new york city making about a hundred thousand dollars a year that was extremely vanilla that they didn't get a lot of good information out of that. And we do want there to be diversity we do want to meet people who have adhd are autistic have other conditions. And so i think that too often our customer journey map it didn't even look at all of these people they're not edge cases they're real people stop treating them like edge cases these are these are real humans with real needs and they're 25 percent of the population they're not some weird edge case this is the middle of the bell curve most of us right now have some sort of disability condition or diagnosis that affects how we move through life so stop acting like anna just sails through an airport you know on wings and roller skates because she's got we all have stuff we have more baggage than the suitcases we packed thank you so much and the last question.

Q&A: When would you not use customer journey mapping?

For today so we were we talked about like a lot of hero customer journey maps are handy but peter is asking when would you not use a cjm are there moments when it would be the entire run next step. Yeah. I have to say i don't use them much because i've fallen in love with task analysis you know i thought customer journey maps were cool. And then i discovered task analysis i also find people think jobs to be done is cool. And then they discover task analysis so you know to me task analysis is really a great way to go and it goes beyond the customer journey map also service blueprinting goes beyond the customer journey map so to me i'm not using customer journey maps because there's something inherently wrong with a customer journey map i'm using them less because i feel like i've kind of evolved that they worked for me for at one point but then wait a minute there's i want more information here there's more i'm trying to solve for than what i can put into this nielsen norman group template or whatever i found. So. Oh thank and thank you to the private message i'm getting yes absolutely valued. So sorry. That was a i'm sorry it was a private message i don't know how to answer that it's private. So if a customer journey you always have to pick the right tool for the job there are some people who use figma for everything and i'm over here going okay figma's great sometimes. But you should really know action because when you want to test your prototype figum is not a realistic prototype it looks good. But it's a click-through model you need action for more realistic prototyping and some people go now i'm going to keep using figma and some people go hey what's this action thing. So it's just a matter of picking the right tool for the job sometimes a customer journey map can be a good match to what's going on at your company and what the project needs and sometimes you might say let's try one of these other possible art these are all artifacts they're just documents and when you have done your research and you have your information. And you say okay. Now how do we map and document this then you have to figure out what matches it the project we're working on now we originally promised our client to task analysis and then when we finally end interviewed people we found nobody did anything remotely the same way at all. And then we realized we weren't even having them we weren't even talking to them about the same tasks it was such a broad target audience they're not even doing the same thing i can't make a task analysis i have to make a different artifact that matches what the study kind of accidentally ended up being and what's going to best help that client and deliver the answers and information that will help them create strategies decisions and initiatives that benefit the business and the customers and users thank you thank you so much as far as i can see from peter's reply in the chat it helps cool if you want to see more events like this make sure to check the upcoming ones at or check the recordings we've got on this channel take care.

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