At the (CEX), a member journey mapping session energized everyone at my table. They all talked about bringing this exercise back to their association. Even if you missed CEX, you don’t have to miss out on the impact this exercise can make. Describing it as “transformative” is not an exaggeration.
Diane Magers, CCXP, the CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), led us through the member journey mapping exercise. The goal of member journey mapping is to understand the chapter and National membership experience from the member’s viewpoint, so you can discover ways to improve their experience and increase their engagement.
One of the factors making member journey mapping so insightful is its focus on a member’s emotions during their experiences with your association. You don’t only look at what the member does—the process or experience—but also how they might feel while doing it.
Why are emotions so important to our understanding of their experience? Because, Diane said, 85 percent of what we experience is emotional and subconscious and only 15 percent is rational and conscious.
Marketers have long known and leveraged this fact, but, apparently, hoteliers haven’t. Diane asked us to recall what we feel when unpacking in a hotel room. For example, when you open the closet at some hotels, the hangers have tiny hooks at the top that hold them to a skinny closet rod. Intentionally or unintentionally, the hotel is sending a message: “Don’t even think about it, you’re not going to steal our hangers!”
When designing a member experience, such as joining or onboarding, think about the subconscious messages the member may receive and the emotions they may feel. An experience must always take into account their emotional as well as their functional needs. If you succeed in meeting both types of needs, your association is more likely to benefit from increased member attention, participation, retention, referrals, and revenue.
How can you understand what your members experience as they interact with your association? Member journey mapping helps you step into their shoes. This collaborative exercise helps your association think about, understand, and design experiences from the member’s perspective.
Member journey mapping is a visual illustration of a member’s needs, emotions, and perceptions over the course of their relationship with your association—and no artistic skills are required!
The four goals of member journey mapping are:
We were ambitious at CEX. We attempted to examine ten different touchpoints of a chapter member’s journey. Although we didn’t have enough time to complete each one, we did enough to realize the value of this exercise.
Our ten touchpoints represented different milestones in the first five years of a chapter membership:
We looked at several different aspects of each touchpoint, starting with the member’s needs, emotions, and expectations. I captured some of the points made at my table during a discussion of touchpoint #2—when the member joins National. So many “aha” moments occurred as my tablemates realized what new members might be experiencing. I’m sure many of them would have been happy to work on this exercise all day.
What is the new member thinking and feeling during this specific touchpoint? What is the voice in her head saying as she joins your association? What is she expecting? Here are some of the needs, emotions, and expectations a new member might feel when joining National:
The table agreed that this initial experience could color the rest of her new member experience.
Think about the people and things the member comes into direct contact with along the journey. Who and what influences their experience? Sometimes even the little things (microactions) can turn an experience around.
What contributes (or not) to the joining experience:
When you identify a member’s pain points during their membership journey, you can look for their root cause and figure out why the member might be feeling that way. Pain points represent opportunities to enhance the member experience.
Pain points (opportunities) during the joining experience:
We’re not done with member journey mapping yet, but let’s take a break here so you can think about your members’ experience during one or two touchpoints. In our next post, we’ll complete the exercise and discuss ways you can use member journey mapping back in the office.