Magazine article CRM Magazine

Why Journey Mapping Wastes Time and Money: When You Build a Path, Make Sure It's One Customers Will Use

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Why Journey Mapping Wastes Time and Money: When You Build a Path, Make Sure It's One Customers Will Use

Article excerpt

IF YOU'VE worked on any customer experience initiative in recent months (or even years), it's likely you're familiar with customer journey mapping. I am betting that you are, and also that you've read at least one of the many articles out there that exalt it as the next revolution in customer experience management.

At first, it sounds awesome--if we can learn what steps customers take to interact with us and plan and provision processes for those steps, we will deliver better experiences. Expectations met, customers satisfied, etc. All good in planning and on paper. However, once you start looking deeper, you find a few problems with customer journey mapping, and--if you take the time to do the proper research--you will see why you should avoid it.

First problem: It is still company-centric. Even though we do it under the guise of being more customer-centric, there is not a lot more focus on the customer if we create specific flows and processes that they must use to interact with the company. This is one of the biggest problems we found while doing interaction mappings (this was a precursor to customer journey mapping), and it is still not resolved.

Pretending to be customer-centric by saying "We study the customer and then we build a path for him to do the same each time" is not right. Being customer-centric implies a focus on the customer, and the customer is not likely to always do the same thing in the same way. The main concern here is not that the customer will not carry out action A the same way, but rather what happens when he doesn't.

Customers' expectations of a company are based on past interactions. When the organization delivers as expected, trust is built--but expectations are also reinforced. Missing out on those expectations not only destroys the trust built, but also results in the customer thinking the company does not get it. If you build a path (or even several) but miss the one the customer wants to use, you are missing out on meeting his or her expectations.

One of the biggest complaints we heard about customer service in the 1980s was that customers had to conform to the way organizations worked. …

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