Journey Mapping, a Powerful Tool

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How do people experience your organization? When does the experience start? When does it end? These are the types of questions we start with when putting together a Journey Map. In this case, we look at the journey of what are people thinking and feeling as they interact with you. By breaking the entirety of this interaction down, you can start to see where you may be able to improve an experience that will improve your impact. Take the map we created (above) for an organization looking to better engage communities that are under-served with an existing training program. After a few interviews with those providing services in these areas, we mapped out the high-level experience of taking the course and found there were many opportunities for people to feel uncomfortable in the process – even before they got to the classroom. By breaking it down, we were able to help them see the smaller challenges – and ways to improve each - within the larger challenge. Read below to get your own map started.

Define the beginning and end.

An Journey Map can start as early as when someone first hears about your organization from a campaign through to when they never interact with you again. You don’t want to make the process overwhelming so find a good scope that tackles the challenge you are looking to solve for, keeping in mind there are earlier and later touch points that might need to be considered. For instance, if you are improving a program, look to where someone starts to show interest and where they end their experience in a program. Draw a line and label the beginning and end with your decision. That may be good enough for now, but be aware of steps that were taken ahead of time (for instance, how did they find out about the program or tell others later on) in case they can affect your challenge.

Break the process into steps.

Take a look at the process, what are defined points that your organization interacts with this person? Depending on your challenge, this may be were you redefine your beginning and end. For instance, if you are looking at a challenge around visitor retention, you may want each step to be broad – entering the building, navigating the first exhibit, finding a program – but if you hypothesis that your challenge lies within the registration process, break that down into parts – filling out a form, choosing a membership level, making a payment. Draw a dot on your line for each step and label it accordingly. You can have multiple lines for optional steps, but it doesn’t need to capture EVERYTHING, just the main steps where you think the problem lies.

Gather information about each step.

Once you have the right scope, ask people about their experiences at each step. Ask visitors – especially those you want to engage - how the process went for them. Ask staff if they notice people getting frustrated at certain points of the process. Walk through the steps yourself with fresh eyes and think about your own experience. Summarize your findings and add the most important points below each step. Did any problem area reveal itself? Think about if these findings make each step more engaging or less engaging than you would like.

Use this map as a tool with your team to discuss each of steps a person takes on their journey with your organization. Think about how you can minimize the frustrations and maximize the positive experiences, even with small changes at first. You’ll find this is a great tool to improve your engagement with your audience. Need help? You can always schedule a time to talk.