Last week at UX Week 2012, Chris Risdon and I had a blast teaching a workshop not once, but twice on the art and science of experience mapping. The practice of experience mapping is not new, but there has been a bit of a buzz in the community of late on how to create and use them (thanks in part to Chris' excellent blog post of the topic and his subsequent one-man road show).
At Adaptive Path, we have been mapping experiences and customer journeys for some time, so a workshop on the topic was well overdue. Participants learned the basics of mapping by working in teams to create and refine experience maps of hotel guests. Key concepts that participants walked away from the session with included:
- Experience maps visualize the intangible stories of the experience customers have with a product or service. When done well, they communicate what is really happening outside of the walls of an organization and incite action by the stakeholders who have the responsibility to exceed the expectations of their customers.
- Rigor must be applied when gathering inputs to ensure your experience map will be based on truth. This means qualitative research backed with quantitative research.
- The core building blocks of an experience map are what the customer is thinking, feeling, and doing as she interacts with touchpoints across time and place. Again, qualitative research is needed to uncover this kind of data.
- Experience maps can take on many different forms to express the customer’s journey and communicate key opportunities to better meet her needs. Our advice: choose one building block, such as feeling or doing, to drive the narrative and tell an impactful story.
- As an outside-in view of the customer’s experience, experience maps challenge the traditional approach to delivering products and services via siloed functions. When possible, involve stakeholders from different functions to gather inputs and map collaboratively.
- Once completed and socialized, experience maps can help an organization strategically plan to improve, replace, or create new touchpoints that, one at a time or all together, better meet the needs of customers.
In other words, we stuffed a ton of content and exercises into just a half-day workshop. Yet, participants in both sessions did a great job of going from research to sticky notes to illustrated maps in just under four hours. Each team was challenged to incorporate storytelling and narrative into their maps, and the variety of approaches taken certainly illustrates the elasticity of method.
- Explore how to think about channels, touchpoints, and media, especially touchpoints, which tripped up a few participants,
- Learn how to conduct qualitative research, including the craft of taking notes (or sketchnoting) to capture the right inputs for experience maps,
- Discuss the relationship of personas and scenarios to experience mapping,
- Play more with the storytelling and narrative to make maps more effective,
- And share more ways to use mapping to get organizations to collaboratively focus on where the best opportunities are to orchestrate the experiences of their customers across channels and touchpoints.
Thanks to all of you who participated. Chris and I learned as much or more from you than you did from us.