5 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Customer Journey Maps

Author Date April 17, 2020 Read 4 min
DON’T MAKE THESE MISTAKES IF YOU WANT TO DELIVER BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES The more a company can understand its customers, the more likely it can better serve those…


The more a company can understand its customers, the more likely it can better serve those customers, and the more likely it is to attract new customers.

Of the several ways to understand customers, ethnographic customer research is the best.

Skilled researchers use many methods – both in-person and remote – that reveal a customer’s reality in a way online surveys and marketing segment data cannot.

Journey maps allow companies to gain customer insights of service or offering touchpoints over time, space and channel — and therefore more fully understand where to best apply budget, design and technology resources.

In a 2019 study called “Customer Journey Mapping: Lead the Way to Advocacy,” the Aberdeen Group found companies that create customer journey maps get a 54% greater return on their marketing investments, 350% greater revenue from customer referrals, and 200% greater employee engagement.

Your customer journey map will answer questions such as:

  • Where do they start this journey? Is it when they see an ad on TV or social media?
  • What steps do they take first? Do they visit your website or call your customer service?
  • If it’s online, which pages do they browse? How much time do they spend on each? Do certain pages lead them to complete a purchase or abandon your site?
  • Are retails stores part of the customer ecosystem? How do they affect the customer experience?

Customer journey maps are strategic, foundational tools for understanding customer needs; they are well worth the investment of time and money. However, many companies create ineffective customer journey maps that are likely a failure.


Here are five common mistakes companies make when creating customer journey maps.

1. They focus on touchpoints and not the journey

Miles Davis famously espoused the space between the notes: what is not played is as important as what is. The same is true of the space between customer touchpoints. These are important slices of time in which customers think, feel, and do a great deal that is not captured by focusing on touchpoints alone. Instead, seek to identify every step a customer takes on the route to a purchase. This will allow you to uncover pivotal points in your customers’ journeys. It may even uncover holes in your current mode of reaching customers.

2. They don’t include customer input

A customer journey map may be a document for internal use, but it shouldn’t be created in a conference room by employees. Without proper ethnographic data, such an approach is a guess at best. Much more is needed above and beyond server logs and big-data analysis.

3. They make one map for every customer

Do you believe all customers are the same? Or do you have subsets of customers who have different desires and behaviors and therefore make different purchases? Your customers fall into a library of personas with important journey differences that must be captured and analyzed. The goal of creating a customer journey map is to ensure you serve the needs of all your customers, not just one group. As such, you shouldn’t create one customer journey map. You should create multiple maps, with one applying to each main group of your customers.

4. They create maps from just a marketing standpoint

Customer journey maps can be great tools for marketing teams, but don’t confuse marketing and customer experience. They are two different things with two completely different goals. The goal of marketing is to attract new customers, while the goal of CX is to retain them.

5. They think of it as a one-and-done project

Creating a customer journey map should not be considered a project, because a “project,” in the classic sense, has a beginning and an end: “We have Problem A. We came up with Solution B. My project is now completed.”

Customer journey maps will help you improve customer challenges your company may have when it comes to attracting new customers or retaining current ones, but they aren’t static documents forever.

Your customers’ needs and desires are ever-changing; your customer journey maps should stay current as well. Keeping these tools updated regularly is essential to continually provide the best experience for your current and prospective customers.

This customer journey map is awesome. When we hired projekt202, we thought, ‘They’re the company that is going to help us redesign our digital properties.’ Now they are helping us redefine our customer experience.

— projekt202 client


Knowing the Customer Journey is Key to Digital Transformation Success

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