5 Customer Journey Mapping Mistakes that Lead You Nowhere


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Understanding what your customers are doing when is such a sexy, intriguing topic.

We all want to better comprehend why our customers behave the way they do and when they make certain choices. If we can understand that, then we can understand what and how and when to sell, communicate and appreciate them!

That’s why customer journey mapping is such an inviting idea. When we map out the actual journey our customers take and turn it into a beautiful visual? Well that’s like crack to marketers and executives alike.

But therein lies the problem.

Beautiful customer journey maps are easy to find. The Lego version is a top choice from a Google search, and for good reason, because it’s gorgeous and compelling.

I love the idea of mapping out the journey for your customers. I love the motivation behind it. I just don’t always love the outcomes.

Here are 5 mistakes that make customer journey mapping a waste.

customer journey mapping mistakes

1. When your journey map is treated like a deliverable

I’ve worked on my fair share of journey mapping projects. Too often, it is driven by a leader stating “we need a map!” This means everyone working on the project thinks the end-goal is a suitable visual deliverable. “Let’s make it a subway map!” “We decided to make it a circle.” These become the drivers instead of real action to improve the customer experience.

2. When journey mapping is checked off a to-do list

We did it! After months of mapping a customer’s true experience, the team high fives each other and moves on to other important initiatives. This means the project was a success, right?


Journey mapping is about the process, and it’s about the process over and over and over again! If you aren’t determining a way to incorporate the map into your internal processes, you’ve already lost.

3. When CRM software drives the mapping process

Did you know $6 billion is spent on Customer Relationship Management software that’s never used? Software can seem like the solution, so organizations want to believe! They sign a contract and cross their fingers, but if the goal of the map is to better understand customers in reality, software forces them into a prepared model that may or may not fit.

Software isn’t the answer, but it can be part of the solution.

Creating a customer journey map

4. When parts of the journey are left out

I attended a workshop from a large organization well known for journey mapping. They made a point of stressing what needs to be left off the map. Sometimes the critical pieces are ignored because it’s only a small group of customers affected.

I bristle at this!

Journey mapping could help you find small problems that will be BIG issues in the future, but only if you actually include it all.

5. When it’s not about action that drives change

Your journey mapping exercise should lead to real action to improve your customer experience. It’s difficult to change a beautiful, overly-designed image. Sometimes the best journey maps are not that pretty, but everyone knows what needs to be done.

After several years of seeing these types of mistakes, we developed a way to track individual touchpoints that doesn’t require software or designers. It’s not always pretty, but it works.

What success have you seen with customer journey mapping?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


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