A Pocket Guide: The Art and Science of Facilitating a Customer Journey Mapping Session

Journey mapping is the tool we use to understand the interactions with a brand from a customer’s perspective.
There are many ways to do this for many different purposes and this quick guide gives you an overview of what we have learnt over the last 10 years of mapping journeys.


Journey mapping can really be a useful tool when trying to do the following:

  • Design a new product/service
  • Create understanding and alignment in a team
  • Communicate powerful stories about customer and employee goals
  • Create ownership of moments with the customer
  • Activate improvements to ensure smooth customer interactions
  •  Enable teams to visualize the future.


When running a journey mapping workshop, we ask our clients to make sure they have as diverse a group of people in the room as possible. This can include:

  • Owners of business processes
  • Front-line employee who serve customers
  • Quality assurance people
  • Legal and compliance representatives
  • Product development staff and owners of products.

We aim to have both people with very little and with a lot of technical knowledge in the room but continue to remind them to look at the journey from the outside in, rather than the inside out.


The ideal environment for journey mapping is outlined below. It is important to create a space where people feel safe to design and come up with their best ideas.

  • Large room
  • Adequate natural light
  • Plenty of wall space
  • Camera or iPhone
  • Great quality stationery – Sharpies, Thick markers, Post-it notes
  • Dry erase sheets or paper that sticks to any wall
  • BrandLove Customer Journey Mapping toolkit (paper version or Lego version).


When you are doing journey mapping on a wall it is very important to not have tables between you, the facilitator and the team. This is what we do:

  • Set up the people in a half moon
  • Facilitator stands in front
  • Paper on the wall.


Depending on the situation, you can do a lot of preparation but we have facilitated journey mapping where we did no preparation and relied only on our great questioning skills. Should you want to prepare, these are the aspects about which you should gather information:

  • Brand playbook or promise with any public campaigns that would illustrate what promise is created for consumers
  • Voice of the Customer (VOC) insights. As many verbatim comments as you can gather. Read them all.
  • Net promoter score (NPS ) and any accompanying verbatim comments
  • Mystery shopping results or doing your own research
  • Collect branded artifacts the customer would see and interact with – forms, brochures, letters, statements, SMSs.
  • International and local competitor research and case studies. Here we include mystery shopping with competitors, phoning their call centres, calling international peers and using the web extensively for understanding the journey of competing brands.

Turn up creativity

During the session, we want to ensure that we draw on as much creativity and design thinking as possible. To help the process we use:

  • Drawings in the journey to tell the story
  • Humour through creating these dramatic, crazy stories
  • Immersion through going on the web, doing an online chat or making a live phone call on speaker phone to let people really feel the emotions in the experience.

Important Questions – Act like a journalist

Think of yourself as a journalist who is curious, fearless and courageous. Think of yourself as uncovering the hidden stories and sharing that with the group so they can solve problems for the customers who are loyal to their brand. It is never about you as the facilitator and much more about you guiding the group to see the world through the eyes of the customer.

1. Who is the customer?
2. What problems do they have?
3. What problems would you like to solve for them?
4. What are their goals and triggers?
5. What happened before and what is going to happen after that moment?
6. Why? Where is the customer?
7. What emotions do they feel?
8. What emotions would you like to evoke in that moment?
9. What are the channels they use?
10. What are their expectations?
11. How can you exceed their expectations?
12. How can you fail their expectations?
13. What are the moments of truth in their journey with you?
14. What are the back-stage elements? Processes, systems, people and other enablers?
15. Who owns the moment?
16. Who owns the journey?
17. Where are your competitors winning hearts and minds?
18. What can you imitate and innovate?

Encourage participation

As it goes in groups, some people are just natural contributors and some are shy. It’s the shy ones who often see real solutions but just do not have the confidence to call them out. In order to ensure proper group thinking and real collaboration we follow a structure of first doing the exercise individually and then having a group discussion about it. So we use

  • The Journey mapping worksheet that each person completes individually
  • Sometimes we ask them to write 3 possible answers on post-it notes, which we then group on the map.
  • We invite people to vote, using stickers, on moments of truth and other items where we want to prioritise or eliminate too much information.


Some of the tools we have come to love and which really help us with capturing the session and documenting it in order to play it back the clients for them to act on, include:

  • Lego – we use Lego serious play as a facilitation tool to use design thinking and prototyping to shorten the time to get rich results
  • Evernote – upload notes and photos, post-it notes
  • Scannable – really great quality scans of journey mapping cards
  • IPhone – essential for taking photos
  • Camera – essential for photos, video and time-lapse
  • Google photos – upload albums for customers and allow people to download their photos
  • Uxpressia – Great cloud tool for personal creation and mapping of journeys
  • Milanote – great tool for research and collecting artifacts as well as mapping the journey
  • Cardflow + – great iPad app to use instead of paper if you want your journeys to be fully digital
  • Journeys – great iPad app for doing mystery shopping and creating simple but multimedia-rich journey maps
  • Smaply – our most rich journey mapping tool with powerful multi-personal maps that are highly configurable and provide output as PDF, XLS or PowerPoint.


It is essential to play the journey map back to the audience who created it in order for them to buy in and realise what they have created. This is an essential part of your transformation role as a facilitator and journey leader. We use various tools to do this:

  • PowerPoint
  • Story telling
  • Prezi
  • Multimedia, video, photo and sound clips.


Too often a journey map becomes a static artifact that will become a yellow uninspiring poster against the wall, unless you act and continue to empower people to tell the story and to own their part in creating a remarkable experience moment by moment through deliberately designing the customer’s experience.

The mantra we leave with our customers …

  • Act
  • Enable a team to take the actions from your workshop and implement them
  • Vest ownership in the people who engage with customers moment by moment
  • Celebrate success as you remove friction from the journey and start the process of differentiating and delighting
  • Don’t be afraid to fail … things will go wrong – sh*t does happen
  • Be prepared and design not only for success but design for when things go wrong
  • Weave the journey map into your induction and training programmes to create compassion and understanding for what customers expect, and how you can exceed or fail to meet their expectations.


BrandLove offers training and coaching programmes developed over the past 10 years to make you a “rock star” at customer experience transformation by delivering great journey mapping workshops.

Contact us at hello@brandlove.co.za if you need more information or want us to facilitate a journey mapping workshop for you.

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