The world is going omni-channel*, and understanding / managing your customers’ cross-channel journeys and usage of ever-proliferating media are at the heart of Customer Experience theory.

There are numerous different approaches to map out the current and desired experience that I’ve been exposed to in my 20+ years’ experience in DM/CRM/CX. I have noticed two common mistakes that I hope you will avoid in your endeavours to improve the customer experience that your company provides:

Mistake 1: “Processing” Customers

Many companies concentrate their journey mapping efforts on “getting the processes right”. This approach is likely to see quality and consistency improvements, but often at the cost of the customer feeling “processed”.

Whilst there are similarities between journey mapping and process flow charting, we must recognise some  fundamental differences:

  • The process is “what you do” (and in in your control) and the customer journey is “what the customer does” (which is mostly NOT in your control). For some journeys/processes this will just be two sides of the same coin, but don’t forget that a typical customer journey will start before, and end after, your internal process, and often involve multiple processes, which need to be seamlessly joined together
  • Process management isn’t much concerned with the emotional side of things. Customer Experience designers must understand that how the customer felt about the experience is very often more important than what was physically done

There’s also the issue looming with Millenial and GenZ customers coming through in that they will be less compliant with your processes – they just won’t want to “do it your way”!

Mistake 2: Outcome “Selfishness”

Something I have also seen all-too-often is where the journey/experience is designed only with the company’s objectives and desired outcomes in mind – i.e. a purely “inside out” approach. This can result in journeys that describe rather one-way “what we’ll do to you” communications (i.e., contact/DM plans) rather than engender genuine engagement and dialogue.

I believe this is also a big mistake.

Customers view their journeys differently than the way organisations do, so experience design must be “outside-in”. Sometimes we just have to be mature enough to recognise that some journeys don’t logically lead to our solution or product, but nevertheless there is an opportunity to positively engage and influence for when the customer does need us!


Sophisticated companies engineer “blueprint experiences” for key journeys. These are based on customer needs and wants, and the journeys almost always extend beyond the internal processes of the company. My advice is to focus in on the Moments of Truth (MOTs) that will make a difference, and to avoid it becoming just an academic exercise that doesn’t align to internal processes and behaviours.

* for my take on omni-channel please see my blog published by IBM

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