Customer Journey Mapping: Where to Start and Who to Involve




CX Network recently ran a Power10, an online boardroom style discussion, on customer journey mapping with its Advisory Board.

The discussion was hosted by Ingrid Lindberg, Founder & Chief Experience Officer of Chief Customer and former Chief Customer Experience Officer of CIGNA & Prime Therapeutics. Ingrid was joined by a selection of the CX Network Advisory Board:

  • Victor Milligan, Chief Marketing Officer, Forrester
  • Paul Sands, Director of Retail Development and Customer Experience, Bang & Olufsen
  • Gero Niemeyer, Managing Director, Customer Service, Deutsche Telekom
  • Edwin van Outersterp, Senior Director, Global Customer Service, Sanofi Genzyme
  • Kerry Bodine, Co-author of Outside In & Customer Experience Coach, Kerry Bodine & Co
  • Richard George, Director of Digital, eir Group
  • Sanjay Saxena, Senior Director of Marketing - CE & Operations Transformation, Huawei


At the start of the discussion, Ingrid said that Journey Mapping is the hot new thing. While people have been talking about it a lot in recent years, it’s now become something that many businesses are investing in and implementing. As it is such a hot topic within the industry, the Power10 panel discussed:

  • Customer journey mapping learnings and best practices
  • Who they build the roadmap for and invite into the discussions
  • Whether or not to bring the customer into the meetings
  • The biggest wins they’ve seen on the back of customer journey mapping
  • Advice for organisations just starting out with their journey maps


Where to Start With Customer Journey Mapping

First things first, the panels answered the question where they started with their journey maps. Paul Sands said that Bang & Olufsen has a “three days to dream” approach. He explained: “We discussed where we should start and we decided the first thing we wanted to do was imagine the beautiful future ideal journey. We allowed ourselves the first three sessions just to dream.

“The reason we did that was because we thought that if we started mapping today’s journey, worrying about the current problems would be too much. We wanted this chance to imagine a no-constraints world. We swapped responsibilities and deliberately mixed things up. We set a time limit on this of three sessions after which we looked at today’s journey and compared the two.”

Victor Milligan from Forrester added: “We had a sufficient number of things that we knew weren’t working. They were easy to identify and well-known, and they got people used to working the problem. We then began a process similar to what Paul described and looked at where we wanted to end up. That gave us a little bit of muscle-memory and skills to attack the more far-reaching processes.”

And Kerry Bodine, Customer Experience Coach at Kerry Bodine & Co, shared her piece of advice on where to start. She said: “There is always some existing data in organisations pointing to some customer pain points and low hanging fruit. I encourage my clients to really go broad and look at quantitative data. Customer Journey Mapping is a qualitative process and it shouldn’t be compartmentalised but taking all of that and building on it. And start at the beginning. Start with on-boarding and the first experiences customer have.”

Ingrid also asked the panellist if when building their journey map, they used software to aid them with this. Gero Niemeyer from Deutsche Telekom said that they don’t use any particular software, but what has been helpful was to integrate the journey map into the product development process. They have a design thinking approach with this; old school with post-its on the wall at workshops.

SEE ALSO: 7 Key Steps for Customer Experience Leaders to Gain Senior-Management Buy In

Another company that doesn’t use a piece of software is Bang & Olufsen. Paul explained: “We’ve chosen not to use software because we quite like the analogue nature of being in a room with post it notes, brown paper and pens; it feels more creative. I have used software previously, at other companies, but it feels a bit more like a workshop if you stick bits of paper to the wall.”

Ingrid added that this old-school approach creates more of an inclusive environment. Victor Milligan from Forrester also supported this point. He continued: “Those kind of workshops are not only helpful to educate but also to empathise with the customers as it makes a business understand what they put customers through.”

Who Is Involved in Customer Journey Mapping?

Another area that came up within the discussion is the people involved with Customer Journey Mapping; who do you build the map for and which stakeholders do you to be a part of the process? Going one step further, do you invite the customer into the room?

Ingrid highlighted that especially when there are multiple constituencies involved, such as business to business to consumer, it can be difficult to decide who to build the map for. Do you start with the end-purchaser? Or the first purchaser you interact with?

Victor answered: “We tried to get information from the person most likely to capture value from experiences with Forrester, so we don’t misunderstand where experiences and business value relate to each other. There may be other people along the way enabling different experience and we want to make that happen but we want to start with those that derive value from it.”

Next Ingrid asked, who do you invite into the room for a journey mapping session? Sanjay Saxena from Huawei answered: “Look at the specific journey and reach out to different groups that are involved. Invite people who can provide an inside-out perspective.”

Kerry added: “There is definitely the question about which different departments or functions you include, but there is also a quality of the person you include. You need to make sure the people are not so high in the organisation that they’re disconnected from the work that is happening but they do need to be influencers in some way. It does not mean budget control or decision-making authority, but some level of influence over people and the ability to evangelise what they saw I the workshop and take it to a larger group.”

“You also need people that are at the crossing point between the customer and company that are in that dynamic and know what things are happening,” Edwin van Outsersterp from Sanofi Genzyme continued. “At the same time you need support from people that can really make a difference in the company. It is always a balance.“

Paul said they started very small and went wider. “The reason we have done that,” he explained, “is because we needed the right type of individual and people who aren’t too territorial. We started with a small group but we agreed we have to bring in a much wider group of stakeholders. It felt wrong to us to start off with cast of thousands as it would’ve been too hard to co-ordinate until we had basic framework in place.”

Ingrid added: “I’ve seen the most productive journey mapping sessions being held without executives in the room, because you generally tend to have execs who are too far away from the reality of day-to-day. And yet if you don’t have the buy-in you may not be stretching far enough. And expose them to the work that needs to happen. So it really does depend on what type of journey map you’re doing. If it’s smaller, bring in the people directly impacted and affected. If it is to journey map a new world for the company and try to transform how the company works, bring in a much broader audience from start to try to level that.”

Once you’ve decided who the most suitable internal stakeholders are to be a part of the journey mapping process, you need to look at the customers themselves. Do you bring them into the room during the sessions? And if you do, how?

Kerry said that bringing the customer in is amazing, exhausting, eye-opening and a lot of fun. She continued: “Oftentimes it is the first time people in the organisation have talked to the customer extensively. And it is interesting thing to bring customers in because they often come in with their own agenda and what they want to talk about. You have to have a mix of setting out a plan and being open to the stories and experiences people bring in. You need to find ways to let them express the experiences while marching towards the end result you’re trying to get to. And ultimately you have to validate journey maps with customers in some way, otherwise it’s based on assumptions. Bringing customers in is cost effective, time effective and a culturally effective way to do that validation.”

Paul added: “The co-creation idea is great one. We have not yet done it, so I can’t talk about direct experience, but it is part of the plan. Even if you can’t directly have a customer in the room with you, go out, spend some time in store (or whatever your environment is) and talk to people.”

If there is a reason you’re unable to physically bring the customer into the room, Ingrid also shared an example of an organisation that has cracked that obstacle. She said: “I have client who can’t bring the customers into their facility so what they do is they assign multiple people to be multiple personas. You see people go into persona for the entire journey mapping event. They stop being a person that does this ‘thing’. They wear a t-shirt that has a different name on it and it says ‘customer’ on the back, and hey are that customer. There are ways to bring the customer in for sure.”

Sanjay also added that you can’t bring one type of customer in the room and you indeed have to look at personas because different personas look at the journey from a different perspective.

Customer Journey Mapping Wins

So you’ve started the process of customer journey mapping and decided who will be involved in the process. Ultimately, what are the wins you can see off the back of it?

Victor said that the biggest win on the back of customer journey mapping is fixing experiences that are causing the client frustration. He explained: “Tying it into CX and journey mapping is a great way to drive efficiency in the business as you often find that there are overlapping goals and inefficiencies in the process. The marriage of building a better experience and looking at efficiency is great way to drive gain from the bottom line.”

Kerry shared a great customer experience win they gained on the back of a specific journey mapping workshop for a software company. She said: “We brought people in to look at the buying experience and post buying/installation experience. The initiative was led by CMO and at the end of the workshop the CFO and CEO came in to listen to the customers, give feedback and tell us what their highlights were throughout the workshop. After the customers left, the CEO and CFO pulled the CMO aside and said: ‘You know that budget you’ve requesting for a year that we said you can’t have? You can have it now’. There was an immediate change after hearing directly from customers that really changed their minds.”

Ingrid, finally gave another great example of how customer journey mapping can drive instant change and wins within a company. She said: “We were doing operational work with a financial services institution. We had entire group together, trying to figure out what the experience should be vs what it was. My favourite moment was when we had a supervisor from one area and a supervisor from another area stand together and realise the number one reason they were getting phone calls was because of a form this person controlled. There were four things on this form that the customer service supervisors asked to be changed for years but had consistently gone into the whole of nothingness. The form owner was in room and said ‘I can make this change today’. And he did. He walked out, made the change, came back, and it was in production by the end of the week.”

>> Click here to watch the full Power10 on demand and hear more insights from the panel, including their advice for those starting out with Customer Journey Mapping <<