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Setting Your Journey Mapping Foundation: Capturing What You Already Know

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The mere thought of journey mapping, while exciting, can be anxiety-provoking for some marketers.

I don’t have the time – these take forever!  We just don’t have the resources.  Where will we find the right customers and source experts to help map a complete journey? 

Breathe.  There’s good news.  Journey mapping can be done on many different scales to fit your timeline and budget.  In this article, we’ll focus on “quick and dirty” journey mapping – which can often provide enough sophisticated, insight-driven data to make a profound impact on your customer experience and be completed in one week to as little as one day.  

Get to Know What You Already Know

Journey Mapping is a great tool to build consumer empathy, understand the journeys they have with your brand, and identify where you are doing well, falling short, or have unrealized opportunities.

The best journey maps are built from a multi-dimensional research perspective – by including business owners, front-line staff, and real customer participants from the relevant customer segment.  However, if you haven’t journey mapped before, don’t have the support to create a multi-dimensional perspective, or simply have limited time and budget – there are other ways to tackle journey mapping.  That’s by focusing on the knowledge of your front line staff.  As with all approaches, there’s pros and cons to this type of mapping: 

Pros Cons
+  Quick
+  Cheap
+  Barely any lead time needed
+  No recruiting or participant incentives
–  Missing the true voice of the customer
–  Limited time to map multiple journeys (versus one) – more limited research scope


Still, despite the cons, this type of super-fast mapping can give you an understanding of the major pain points a customer experiences during the course of their journey and an opportunity to capture low hanging fruit to get started with improving their experience. 

The first step is identifying the right front-line staff.  Who on your team works directly with consumers along their journey?  Some examples include:

  • Customer Service Representatives (CSRs)
  • Account Reps
  • Sales Staff
  • Navigators (such as Nurse Navigators)
  • Nurses, Tellers, Customer Care Reps, Service Technicians

These resources often hold a wealth of consumer insights and data, yet are rarely engaged in identifying problems or defining solutions. Some will even understand multi-channel aspects of the journey. For example, a CSR may be engaged in a phone or chat channel while uncovering insights about digital, brick and mortar, fulfillment, or other service issues.

If you haven’t captured what the right stakeholders and frontline staff understand about you customer’s journey, then you simply Don’t Know What You Already Know!

“Quick and Dirty” Journey Mapping – How to Get Started 

Below is a list of 9 action items to start working with your front-line staff on a journey mapping project:  

Action Items Description
1.  Define the journey you want to investigate. +  Be sure to start small. Generally, shorter project timelines lend themselves best to “applied” projects (the 10’ or ground-level view of a customer’s experience).
+  Think about this in terms of a particular service line (such as Orthopedics), or as precise as “high school athlete’s journey for sports medicine treatment”.  Read more about “How to Approach Your Project”.
2.  Build alignment with functional areas to ensure the proper stakeholders are on-board and cooperative with the project plan. +  Meet with executives and stakeholders who don’t have direct consumer-facing roles separately.
3.  Define the initial journey with your stakeholders. +  Once the journey is defined, be sure to ensure that the front-line staff are confirmed for their upcoming journey mapping workshops/sessions.
4.  Conduct journey mapping sessions with the frontline staff in groups of 8-10 (more and the session will be hard to manage). +  Be sure to use actual front-line staff, not managers or directors (they can be stakeholders that help define the initial journey that’s being researched)
+  Try to keep group participants from the same level within the organization. This will help to avoid negative group stereotyping.
+  Don’t be stringent on the journey dimensions.  Let the front-line staff modify (or correct) the journey as defined by stakeholders as well as the dimensions – such as Doing, Thinking, Using, Feeling, Satisfaction, Barriers and Pain Points, as well as Opportunities.  (Read more on defining dimensions).
5.  Capture anecdotes and specific experiences to exemplify the story. +  Take copious notes and ensure that all participant input is being recorded.
6.  Analyze the findings. +  Be sure to resolve discrepancies in the research notes/data.
7.  Develop and finalize the visual map. +  It will be a rough sketch given the time restraints.
+  Portray the customers journey and thoughts/actions along each dimension.
8.  Discover the quick wins. +  Look for low-hanging fruit that you can control or influence to begin building an action plan. Track and measure your wins moving forward.
9.  Reconvene with stakeholders to socialize the findings and promote your success. +  Be sure to track and measure wins, while determining key metrics that will define success moving forward. (Read about strategies to incorporate Action & Metrics Planning)


This can be a simple, cost effective way to get started with journey mapping and get quick-win results.  While this plan can be implemented in very short time frame, remember that understanding your customers and improving customer experience is an every day, ongoing goal.  The ultimate outcome of journey mapping is a deep understanding of your customer’s feelings and experience – and sharing these deep customer insights to inform high-level strategies as well as detailed campaigns and tactics.

At Red Privet we like to say: “It’s about the process, not the poster.”


** More of “Our Thinking” about Journey Maps: 


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