Welcome to the Monthly Business Smoke Break with Robert Grossman of Grappling Hook. Each month we’re going to hang out, chat and hopefully, you will walk away with an easy to use tool that helps you in your business. This month’s topic is Key Steps in a customer journey.

You know how you talked about how experiences are becoming so important in the cannabis industry? You’re right. Cannabis use is very social and you do turn to people you trust to learn more about it. Being able to provide positive experiences helps to reinforce that. That’s why it’s fantastic that there are certified nurses available in some dispensaries, as well as the regular staff. Nurses are trained to be patient advocates. They are prepared to deal with some heavy situations, and the good ones help to turn a super stressful experience into something manageable. That builds trust.

Smart companies are designing the experiences that they offer people. That means they are spending the time to research, analyze and develop the interactions people have with their brand and its products. Credit card company Capital One is coming up with new ways its card users enjoy individualized travel. Disney’s Imagineering, the unit that creates everything you see and do at the theme parks, brought in designer Bruce Mau to help it capture and replicate the internal work culture as the continue building a better new employee experience. That makes you amongst a smart crowd.

You’ve heard of the customer journey, yes? Well, you can apply that same concept to employees, financial backers, volunteers or community members, whoever you feel you need to focus on. To do that the first thing you need to do is figure out what the significant steps of the journey are. It’s real quick.

First, since you are on smoke break, sit back and take a minute. This is a job for sativa. You don’t want to be in the couch right now. Give that new piece of yours some action.

Get your supplies

You’ll need some sticky notes, markers, and a blank wall space. You can do this digitally, but the coupling of physical experience with a mental exercise allows everyone can see what’s on the board and riff off each other. You’ve done this kind of thing before? Great. Then this will be easy. If not, just follow along.

Assemble your team

Make your team diverse. Core people from your event, business and marketing teams should be in on this. Talk with some customers to get their point of view. They may provide steps you hadn’t considered yet. So, if it’s a dinner party, speak with a couple of potential guests, Get them in on figuring out your steps and what order they’d be best in. Together, you can create improved better experiences.

Write out the key moments of the experience

Take a maximum of ten minutes to do this. Write out one journey step, per sticky note with the marker, whatever you think those might be. At the moment, there are no wrong answers. Write them down and slap them up on the wall! Some steps for a dinner event might be Invitation, RSVP, Meet & Greet, Drinks, Hors-d’oeuvres, Dinner, Dessert, Entertainment, Wrap-Up, and Follow-Up.

Put the steps in order

Read over every piece of paper that you put up on the wall. No need to dwell. No judgments. Just arrange the notes in the order that you feel the experience would happen. It doesn’t have to be exact at times. Some things definitely need to come first and last; like invitation comes before Dessert. Don’t worry if some will repeat or take place at the same time. Think of it as breaking the evening up into manageable chunks. Fluid moments with overlap might be Bud Sampling and Entertainment. Appetizers my come at the same time as Meet and Greet. You know how it goes. Just get them up there in the order you like for now. You can always switch it later without much difficulty.

Determine Combinations

Can some steps be combined as one for more natural understanding? Entertainment and Guest Speaker might combine under Program. Some ideas might take place on multiple occasions. Like Vape Sampling might fall under Meet & Greet and After Party. Remove any repeats that don’t belong in other spots. Put them all in order and record what you’ve done so you can reference it later when mapping out and executing your project.

Put it to use

Breaking the journey up into smaller steps makes it easier to manage and to comprehend what you’re getting into. Using these to begin to consider what will be experienced can help you track objectives and create interactions. Picking whom you are developing your experiences for will better inform your decisions. Be sure you are thinking about what their emotional state may be.

Working out the customer’s experience journey will not only help your teams all be on the same page, but it’ll also help you develop new ways to tackle critical moments and provide more opportunities to do killer stuff that people will react to. One of the first steps to doing this is writing out what journey’s steps. Referencing it when you want to innovate or when you feel lost will aid you in staying on track. You’ll be taking a more thoughtful approach to what you do for people. Why are you winging it when you can spend a little extra time and make fewer mistakes?

Be sure you share your successes with the community using #businesssmokebreak. By the way, if you need a soundtrack for this exercise, let your ears and concentration give CHIRP Radio a try. Breaks over. See you next month.

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