By Crystal Gee, Solutions Associate

We find more and more clients are interested in understanding their customers’ journey to purchase. But from experience, we also know that these studies can be massive and require extensive time and travel, both on our side and the client’s.

In our typical journey mapping interview, participants create a large map that represents their triggers, behaviors, emotions and influences in their decision pathway. All the complex individual journeys, from all the interviews, in all the locations, are then combined, digested and refined in an extensive ‘war room’ synthesis session with our own and client teams. This approach has been very successful in producing strong, actionable decision pathways that reveal opportunities for clients to influence their customers’ decision-making.

However, as believers in the importance of continuous innovation, our team explored platforms that would allow us to do much of the in-depth interviewing, journey mapping and partial synthesis virtually.

Landing on a platform called Realtime Board, we customized it for our own unique systems-focused Journey Mapping approach. This allows us to:

  1. Conduct online journey interviews with geographically dispersed and sometimes difficult-to-reach audiences,
  2. Use an overarching framework and set of journey icons consistent with our in-person work,
  3. Share a screen with the respondent, so they can populate a journey map as personally and in as much detail as they would in-person,
  4. Allow clients to observe the interviews from their own offices, adding probes as the respondent’s journey unfolds.

One interesting application of this approach to journey mapping was for an appliance client. Due to the virtual nature of the interview, we were able to interview people who were actually in the process of making a decision. Capturing them in real time yielded nuances in the decision process that are often forgotten in retrospect.

A final, important point: the Realtime Board makes it possible for us to do much of the pre- and post- synthesis work virtually, so the analysis process is more efficient and quickly identifies the patterns we need in order to understand the human story. This means we can spend more time in-person working on solutions.

We know our clients’ time and money are precious and we’re proud to be able to offer this option for Customer Journey research that allows them to capitalize on what we consider to be a stellar systems approach, while respecting both their time and budget.