agent experience map

How to Craft an Agent Experience Map

Alright. You’ve got your agent persona(s) and your touchpoint catalog, right? Now let’s get join hands and make an experience map. We’re starting to get to the cream here everybody. You’ll start seeing real, concrete opportunities to revolutionize your operation. No but seriously.

So get ready for the thrilling finale in our series on the agent experience (AX).

Cue excitement.


But first, let’s talk ambiguity

In CX there is a long tradition of confusing two things: experience maps and journey maps. This is understandable – the second being a subset of the first, after all – but deeply annoying when you’re trying to figure out the toolset.

So let’s (briefly) set things straight: an experience map is a broad overview of what it’s like to interact with your business for a certain group of people. A journey map is a close-up of part of your experience map.

Think of it as the difference between a map of a country and a map of a city; the first is useful for establishing the general lay of the land and finding regions of interest; the second will help you avoid all the overpriced hipster burger joints.

Make sense? Slam dunk. Now let’s make something beautiful together.


Step 0

Just hold off a sec before you dust off that copy of MS Visio, cowperson. (Turns out finding a workable gender-neutral version of ‘cowgirl’ is hard.) As before, we’re going to do this collaboratively. Remember: this is an exercise in shared understanding and united vision, not an excuse to batten down the hatches and make process diagrams that look like the circuit-board schematics of an iPhone XXX.

Wait but what kind of shared understanding are we talking about here? Let’s get bullet-pointy:

  • the stakeholders
  • the overall journey
  • the emotions!
  • the hipster burger joints pain points
  • the joyous, joyous opportunities

We’ll flesh these out as we go along, shall we?


Step 1

Assemble your Avengers! Remember to involve people from every layer of the organization – you’re looking for multiple perspectives here, not some ivory tower guesswork.

(Keep your group of Avengers manageable though – again, aim for enough people to get through two pizzas without overdosing on cheese.)

You will need these tools:

  • big fat felt-tip markers, because visibility
  • sticky notes, because always
  • emoji stickers, because they’ve got gumption
  • doughnuts, because c’mon
  • patience, because you’ll need it

So look: this process can take time. And it’s easy – real easy – to get side-tracked.  Be sure to time-box this stuff, and make sure you have a hall monitor–type individual managing the schedule. Deputize this person and give them the biggest can of pepper spray you can find.


Step 2

Pick a nice, boldly colored sticky note – say, blue. Now pair off or whatever and come up with all the defining phases of an agent’s experience with your organization.

You could do worse than a list like the following:

Here, we’ll start you off with a few:

  • onboarding
  • daily work
  • training
  • retirement (#joke)

It’s up to you how granular you make these phases, but try to cover the spectrum of an agent’s working life within your organization, from entry to exit.

Now discuss your findings, weed out duplicates and stick them up in a horizontal line. Don’t crowd them!

This is the spine of your agent experience map.


Step 3

Remember your touchpoint catalog? Fantasms. Now here’s what we’re gonna do: we’re going to stick them under the phases they apply to.

Under onboarding, for example, we might include the following touchpoints:

  • contract
  • HR manager
  • operations manager
  • welcome pack
  • Spider-Man action figure

Daily work will likely feature at least the following:

  • taxi
  • operations manager
  • team leader
  • computer
  • headset
  • break area
  • toilets
  • customer (!)

Getting the idea? We salute you.

You should now have an unruly cluster of touchpoints under each phase. You’ll notice that some will go under more than one phase. Stay calm. This is to be expected; indeed this indicates that they are some pretty important points.


Step 4

It’s time to break out those emoji stickers. You’ll need at least three kinds: a smiley face, a meh face and an unhappy face. If you want to get serious you could include a crying face, a heart-eyed face, an angry face and that one that we’re pretty sure stands for chocolate mousse.

Hand these out to everybody like you’re Tyra Banks going full Winfrey with Vaseline. Do this because it’s better for everyone this way.


Now check: you’re going to vote with these stickers. Each person is going to place one (just one!) under every phase. This should come fairly instinctually.

Now stand back and regard your work. Notice phases where there is agreement. Notice the phases where there is a lack of agreement. Argue for a bit, but nicely.


Step 5

Have a doughnut, because you’re a star.


Step 6

Take a photo of your work!

Find the worst, most vomit-emoticonned phase of them all. Take a careful look at this phase, because we’re going to revisit it next time, when we create our first journey map.

Good job, Avengers.