Why Your Customer Journey Map Doesn't Match Reality
3 Min Read

Why Your Customer Journey Map Doesn't Match Reality

Learn the causes of common customer journey map problems & their solutions.

Great customer experiences are crafted by companies in ways that meet and hopefully exceed expectations by anticipating their target audience’s next actions and interests. However, companies will need to create a detailed and accurate depiction of these potential experiences in the form of customer journey maps, which show the many steps that customers go through when interacting with a business. These maps trace the journey from first interaction to the close of a sale and perhaps even beyond that, but an inaccurate customer journey map that does not reflect the realities of their audience experiences can cause unnecessary complications for a business.

Whether your company is currently creating a map or has already completed mapping, it is vital that you know why a journey map may not reflect reality in order to create a more accurate map and, as a result, better meet your customers’ needs.

Common Journey Map Problems

While each company will need to work toward making their journey map accurately reflect their own unique business, there are several problems that frequently occur in the creation process. Consider whether these issues are affecting your own journey map.

  • Idealized Steps - There is a difference between how you would like your customers to behave versus how they truly act. If your customer journey only reflects the ways in which you would ideally like them to interact with you, then it cannot be used as a tool for change. Useful journey maps see the true journey as it currently stands so that you and your team can enact positive change.
  • Leaving Out Steps That Don’t Include You - Great journey maps detail all phases of the process, including the steps that don’t involve your business. This can include when a customer checks out a competitor or learns more about a product through a different website. You may not be able to control these steps, but they impact the overall journey.
  • Forgetting Customer POV - What does your customer think of you? It’s a crucial question to ask and one which will help a company better understand how each step in a journey influences perceptions and either encourages or discourages the customer in taking the next step. Remember that journeys are still subject to the views and interests of the customer, no matter how effective your customer experience strategy may be.
  • Lack of Performance Indicators - Effective journey maps identify which areas can be improved by incorporating performance indicators. As discussed by Tandem Seven, these indicators provide insights into customers’ emotional highs and lows in order to see what may be preventing the completion of a sale. Not including indicators can prevent a company from understanding the reasons behind a journey and making the right changes.

Being aware of these pitfalls in journey maps can help companies better understand the effectiveness of their mapping and begin to see the underlying causes of potential problems.

What is Causing Your Incorrect Customer Journey Map?

Most often, inaccurate journey mapping is the result of having a limited scope of vision during the creation process. If a brand does not work to see all stages of a journey and incorporate many different perspectives during mapping, the company will not be able to produce a map with enough detail and scope.

Make sure the journey map is the result of all of your company’s stakeholders providing their insights, which can give a greater understanding of steps that involve various departments. Voices from different departments mean that no single area of the journey will outweigh the others, such as a journey map that is only created by a social media department but leaves out important customer service details. As discussed by The Customer Framework, inaccurate journey maps may reflect an “Ivory Tower” development, which makes a map look complete without actually involving those who deliver essential steps of the journey. The result is the use of a journey map that employees do not know is incomplete until they have used it.

Besides making sure all departments and stakeholders are involved, don’t discount going directly to the focus of your map - the customer. MyCustomer.com points out that no matter how much data can be mined by a business, it is still crucial to speak with customers. In doing so, a company can gain valuable insights and new perspectives that are not possible through data analysis and internal feedback alone.

Creating an Accurate Journey Map

Today, companies can use in-depth analytics that gather large amounts of data from how customers interact with them online during mapping. In doing so, the process can go past the hypothetical and be grounded in measurable data. This data can include social media interactions, advertisements, website browsing, customer service calls and any other action that creates data, which back-end integration of analytics systems can collect and organize.

Accurate analysis means that your company will have the ability to truly see how your customers interact with you for a more accurate journey map. As a result, the changes you make to improve the customer journey have a greater chance at making real, helpful changes that address true customer demands.

Learn more about creating great journey maps and identifying customer pain points that must be addressed in “Finding Your Biggest Customer Pain Points.”

Start Transforming Your Customer Journey

After better understanding your customer journeys, you will want to begin improving them to the greatest degree possible. Learn about how to transform customer experiences in the way that is right for your company through our insightful whitepaper.

Read “Four Strategies to Transform Your Customer Experience”  
Originally published
October 12, 2017
 last updated
March 9, 2018
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