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Remote Journey Mapping: A Coffee Journey

We believe that looking at the customer experience through the lens of a customer journey map allows companies to narrow in on opportunities for redesigning the experience – opportunities to improve messaging, eliminate overcomplicated touchpoints, or introduce new products or services to make the experience better. We have a multi-phase approach to creating customer journeys, but two of the most important steps are ethnographic research and customer mapping workshops.  We recently engaged Gen Z consumers in a virtual setting to map their experience buying coffee in a coffee shop. Here’s how we approached it and what we learned.

Virtual Ethnographies: 

We used virtual ethnographies to “tag along” with them on their coffee buying experience.  We use a lot of different tools for our virtual ethnographies but for this project we used one of our favorites, Revelation, leveraging their easy to use, robust online and mobile capabilities to set up activities and questions for our Gen Zers. They first described the different steps of their coffee buying journey through video, text and photos, then took us along for the ride as they bought coffee; sharing not only what they do when they buy coffee (ordering apps, menu selections, drive-thru or walk-up, etc.), but what they like and don’t like, and how they feel about the journey.

Taking us through the experience prior to the journey workshop not only showed us the in the moment experience, but also put them in the frame of mind for the workshop discussion so they could actively participate.  Their inputs also allowed us to design the overarching framework of the journey prior to our workshop. We’ve found that having a starting point helps everyone hit ground running with the mapping exercise.  

Remote Journey Workshops: 

Our Gen Z consumers joined our workshops via Zoom to map out the details of their journey.  We kept the workshops to 6 consumers to optimize the experience and collaboration for everyone in a remote setting.  Prior to the sessions, we created the journey framework in MURAL using the phases of the journey from the virtual ethnographies.  Our Gen Zers worked together in MURAL to co-create the journey by adding their thoughts and ideas on sticky notes to the whiteboard. We moderated the group through a discussion about how they felt in each phase of the journey, what worked well as well as the challenges they experienced. After co-creating the journey, we had them choose a few challenges they wanted to tackle in an ideation exercise to generate ideas for creating a better customer experience.

Some learnings:

While we love being in person, we’ve found that the journey mapping workshop experience works just as well virtually. And, in some cases, there are a few advantages:

  • Broader geographic reach – participants from all over the country can be in the same workshop together 
  • More convenient for the participants – it is easier for people with busy schedules, such as  college students, new moms, nurses, service industry workers, etc. to fit a remote workshop into their schedule because they can do it from the comfort of their home.

There are a lot of remote white boarding tools. We like them all for different reasons and discovered for our journey workshop purposes, MURAL and Stormboard seem to allow the most functionality and flexibility.

There are also a lot of virtual ethnography tools that we like and use. However, for this purpose we used Revelation because, along with their robust functionality, they have a great mobile experience which was important for our Gen Zers as they took us along on their coffee buying journey. We also like the backend of the tool that makes it easier to synthesize the findings. We find that features like video transcripts make a big difference.

As you embark on remote customer journey mapping, reach out if you want to share ideas.

Sara Dougherty

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