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I am currently mapping the customer journey for the company I work for. We have visualized the journey based on internal knowledge and experience with our customers. Now I would like to test what we've come up with, by interviewing our customers.

What would be the best way to do this? Showing them the map that I created doesn't seem like the best option for me. Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance!

  • Why is showing the map no good? Some kind of guided walkthrough is required, perhaps using mockups/wireframes of major screens. – Steve Jones May 24 '18 at 17:10
  • Well, I believe that when showing the map, the user is already given information about how the journey would look like, so his answers may be biased because he's already limiting his thoughts to what is shown on the map. I would much rather something like a contextual inquiry interview, so that questions are open-ended and there are no mental constraints to begin with. – Nina May 25 '18 at 9:24
  • "Now I would like to test what we've come up with, by interviewing our customers." What is the idea are you testing? What question are you trying to answer? – Luke Smith May 29 '18 at 16:06
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Now I would like to test what we've come up with, by interviewing our customers.

Some more information about your research goals would be helpful but in the meanwhile I'll just assume that you want to compare your perception of the customer journey to the customers' perception.

We have visualized the journey based on internal knowledge and experience with our customers.

How did you do that? Did you have an internal workshop? How many people? Was it focused around a discussion guide? If you used a process to come up with your putative customer journey map, you might consider repeating that process with a group of customers and then comparing your internal map to whatever they came up with. At least that way you can contrast assumptions with "reality."

I say "reality" because as a research method journey mapping is qualitative and highly subjective and messy to interpret, but it's still a great excuse to talk to customers and soak up their anecdote a few at a time.

In the future, you might just save some time and preempt some of the stakeholder read-out by having customers participate directly in a journey mapping workshop.

  • Hi Luke, Thanks for your input! We indeed have internal workshops to visualize the current customer journey. I definitely think it's a great idea to do the same workshop but with customers, however, it will be quite difficult to find customers who are available to all come to the same location on the same day and time. That's why I think doing individual customer interviews is the best solution at this point. But I think next time, it would definitely be great to do a customer journey workshop with customers. Thanks again for your feedback! – Nina Jun 14 '18 at 10:47
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Get some customers in and interview them one at a time to find out how they see the journey.

It's important to get context so ask them questions about when they start to consider using the product, what they use the product for, how much of the product they use, where their engagement with the product ends, and where they go on to afterwards. You may find that you have different sets of users who take different journeys based on their needs.

You could also set up a dummy account for your product, get them to talk you though a typical journey as they replicate it, and use a screen recorder to track their journey.

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Depending on the specific journey, you could imagine a kind of role-play for the users. You might need props / prototypes and colleagues acting out any in-person interactions.

You get them to start somewhere, give them an objective, and see if they spontaneously follow the journey you mapped. You can insert short narratives to accelerate the time to the next step in the journey.

Use observation / recording and ask the user to speak their thoughts aloud. Keep some time at the end for a debrief of what happened, what they thought, if they had any suggestions.

You can test different scenarios, depending on the research questions you have. You often learn more when things go wrong for some reasons.

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Personally, I wouldn't use the Journey Map itself to validate with customers. I'd use research methods to understand your customers and use that to validate your Journey Map.

Questions like: "Walk me through the last time you did X. How did you go about it? What initiated it? What was your intended goal? What steps did you go through? What worked well for you? What were problems for you?" Using these types of exploratory research questions, you get the data you need to validate your Journey Map as far as stages, needs, problems.

Also, to that I would add observation. Observe what your customers actually do.

Ultimately, a Customer Journey Map should be an artifact that represents what you know about your customers, which you get by research.

Nothing wrong or bad about starting with a provisional Map as you did. I'm wary about using it or your preconceived map to validate as it may bias or lead customers. Open-ended interview questions will discover their needs which you can then compare to your Map.

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