How to Maximize Customer Experience with Journey Maps – and Why So Many Companies Don’t


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Lots of companies now use journey maps to understand and improve the customer experience. Problem is, they don’t use them very well.

Analysts have documented this problem for years. For example, Forrester Research CX expert Joana de Quintanilha says one common mistake is not doing the surveys, interviews and other research necessary to understand all of the customer touchpoints, behaviors, influences and needs.

“Without upfront insights, companies struggle to articulate how journey maps connect to outcomes that benefit the business and risk drowning in a myriad of initiatives that don’t target CX drivers,” she writes in “Getting Help With Customer Journey Maps.”

Photo by PeopleImages via iStock

That is why we recommend, along with de Quintanilha, that any journey mapping effort be paired with insights uncovered by and/or supported by customer research and feedback. In fact, we often feel that customer feedback and journey mapping propose a one-two punch that bring a customer-centered focus to customer experience efforts. The next step, then, is to determine the type of journey mapping that meets your needs.

All journey maps are not created equal. To set your journey mapping efforts up for success, the first step is identifying the type of journey map and level of detail needed to accomplish your goals. Here are three of the most common journey mapping methods:

1. Customer Lifecycle – This is a high-level, end-to-end view of your customer’s experience, including pain points, touchpoints and channels, for each lifecycle phase. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to document the holistic current state experience and understand critical interactions that motivate customers to leave, stay, and recommend companies.
2. Moment of Truth Map – Some customer interactions are more important than others. This process takes a deeper look into these customer interactions, often using in depth ethnographic research, and identifies unique customer needs during this moment and new opportunities to improve the experience.
3. Experience Capability Map – Journey maps are becoming multi-dimensional by overlaying the customer journey with all of the back-office processes and systems that deliver the experience. This process is an eye-opener for back-office owners, who often don’t consider the influence they have over CX – and all of the opportunities they have to improve it.

When they’re done right, journey maps can become a key component of a larger strategy. For example, combining journey maps and customer research often provide companies with deep, actionable insights. One of our blog posts from a few years ago describes the research options, including why we recommend in depth qualitative research over quantitative surveys. Although again, both provide their own brands of insights that are most useful when done together.

All of this is a lot to think about. To make things less daunting, we’re offering a couple of resources.

The first is a complimentary download of Forrester Research’s “Getting Help With Customer Journey Maps” report. It’s a concise, readable overview of journey map types, functions, and key vendors. We are of course highlighted and proud to be on the short list of vendors.

Then download a free copy of “Why Journey Maps are Not Created Equal,” our primer that describes the three major journey mapping methods referenced above and how to determine which one is right for your company – and customers. Got more questions? Connect with us.

Tim Carrigan
Tim Carrigan, Consulting Vice President at Andrew Reise Consulting, helps clients develop and deliver on their customer experience strategies. He recently co-authored the Customer Experience Fiasco, Learning from the Misguided Adventures of a Customer Experience Executive, now available in hard copy or Kindle version through More information on the book, along with other customer experience case studies and guides, is available at Follow Tim on twitter (@timjcarrigan)


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