4 Times When Customer Journeys Don’t Work–and How to Fix It

Sample customer journeyI’m a great fan of creating customer journeys to guide and inspire the delivery of great customer experiences–but there are times when they don’t help .

They only consider pre-sales

I’ve seen a number of journeys that halt abruptly when the opportunity closes. What comes next? Who knows. (Every once in a while, I see journeys that start when the customer buys, which is equally concerning.)

The cure here is simple: consider the entire lifecycle of the customer. The articulation between pre- and post-sales is usually a rich terrain for improvements.

They were created in silos

My pet peeve du jour is the journey created by the newly-formed, hot-shot Customer Experience team, which would not (or could not, to be fair) involve delivery teams in the creation of the journeys. It could also have been created by the Support team, which did not talk to the Customer Success team or the Professional Services team, resulting in a truncated, siloed journey: the very opposite of what it should be.

The cure is simple but demanding: journey-creation must be a collaboration between multiple organizations. Yes, it’s hard!

They live in la-la land

It’s helpful to dream a little when creating journeys. Why plot today’s mediocre experience? Journeys should identify stretch goals–but you can go too far. I’ve seen journeys where most touchpoints were non existent or badly broken, with little hope or resources to address the gaps. That’s silly: it’s a guarantee that the journeys will stay in the archive, never to be used again.

The cure is subtle: dream, but not too much (and revise the journeys yearly).

They use the wrong personas

Common offenders here include: the single persona, meant to represent all customer roles; personas that only fit large customers; and, in the case of vendors who have an indirect selling model, personas that only fit direct customers.

The cure is to spend enough time evaluating the cast of personas. While I’m not a fan of very large casts, leaving out entire categories of customers is not right. A good test of the personas is to apply them to a handful of customers: can you assign appropriate personas to the main contacts? If not, you may not have enough.


Do you have customer journeys? How do they fare against those four dangers? Tell us in the comments.

And if you need help creating or improving journeys, contact me.

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