Customer Experience

11 common customer journey mapping mistakes to avoid

11 common customer journey mapping mistakes to avoid

In a recent webinar on customer experience, we had the honor of hosting Annette Franz, founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc, for an in-depth talk about the why and the how of customer journey mapping.

According to Franz, customer experience improvements have stalled. In fact, according to Bain’s research, 80% of business executives believe they deliver a superior customer experience—but only 8% of customers agree.

One reason for this gap might be that companies’ customer mapping process is failing. During the webinar, Franz discussed eleven mistakes that companies make when mapping the customer journey.

Myth 1: I’ve mapped once; I’m done

Journey mapping is a constant, iterative process.

“Maps are the beginning, a catalyst for change”, Franz noted. They are documents to be shared, used, and modified over time to stay abreast of changes in customer behavior, needs, and pain points.

Myth 2: I’ve mapped by myself; others don’t need to be involved

There are multiple touchpoints in the customer journey, so there’s no reason why only one department should be involved in mapping it.

“Mapping is by nature and rule a collaborative process”, Franz explained. There are risks to mapping by yourself: siloed and internal thinking are the main ones. Journey maps must be created with the help of customers and internal stakeholders.

Myth 3: One map applies to all customers

Franz said that “once you define your personas, you realize that there are different customers with different needs and pain points.” Each persona should have a specific map

Myth 4: I don’t need personas

As we’ve seen in the previous myth, personas are necessary for proper mapping. Customer segments, according to Franz, are too high-level. To have a useful customer journey map, you need to go down at the level of interaction, where personas are much more accurate and useful.

Myth 5: Marketing and CX have the same mapping needs

The marketing journey is different from the customer experience journey, if only in its goals and outcomes. The marketing journey is for acquiring new customers; the customer experience journey is about retaining them. Therefore, they need different maps.

Myth 6: It’s okay to start with a future state map

Franz said that a future state map is fine if you are a startup and do not yet have had customer interactions. But in most cases, “you have to start with a current state map,” she said. “You can’t transform what you don’t understand.”

Myth 7: An assumptive map is good enough

You cannot assume that you will create a better experience out of assumptions. Assumptive maps are “created out of what we know internally. What we need to do is use those assumptive maps and validate them with customers,” said Franz.

Myth 8: Buyer and CX personas are the same

As we’ve seen for marketing and CX mapping, different processes and different needs require different maps. Buyers are a subtype of “person who interacts with the brand” and require a separate persona to be effectively mapped.

Myth 9: Journey maps are only for CX

False. Franz noted that companies can gain from mapping all kinds of journeys, from employees and suppliers to partners and franchisees. For anyone who has contact with your brand, no matter the role, you can create a map.

Myth 10: I can’t begin without a digital platform

What happened to good ol’ paper and markers? Get some large pieces of paper, some colored markers and plenty of Post-it notes to map your journey by hand. This will ignite your creative process and get you interacting with the other stakeholders involved in the mapping process.

Franz said eventually you’d want to put everything digitally (so everyone in the organization can use the customer journey map), but Post-Its and markers are fine as a starting point.

Myth 11: Data has no place in journey maps

Data and customer journey maps “go together like peanut butter and jelly,” said Franz. There are plenty of ways to use data to validate journey maps and make them alive. Use customer feedback, competitive data, operational metrics, business data and artifacts to make your map real and tangible.

Learn more about customer mapping with Annette Franz

If you want to learn more about what types of data to use for this process, or why use journey mapping in the first place, watch a recording of our webinar, Putting the Customer in Customer Experience.



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