Customer Journey Mapping: Are we there yet?

 In Lincoln Elliot, Marketing & Customer Experience, Rebecca Davies


Customer Journey Mapping is increasingly used as a critical tool that organisations use to deliver on a customer-centric strategy.

In our experience at Churchill Consulting, this is primarily due to a hasty focus on developing the end-product of a journey map, aka a pretty diagram that can be pinned to cubicle walls.

Real results from Customer Journey Mapping can only be realised by investing the time and appropriate resources into a collaborative process aimed at shifting the internal culture; breaking down silos in the pursuit of solutions to real customer issues and emotions.

In many senses, there is no ‘end-product’ of the journey map process which can instigate an “are we there yet?..” mindset across the organisation.  The customer journey should be ever-evolving, supported by a continuous process of scrutiny that involves cross-functional inputs and co-creation with real customers. It is more about the journey than the map.


Setting the objectives for customer journey mapping is a critical first step. This makes sure that everyone across the organisation is aware of the far-reaching benefits that customer journey mapping can achieve. Every program will have a set of very specific objectives; however, we suggest highlighting the six broader objectives of any customer journey mapping project.


1. Creating a customer-centric culture: Done correctly, the journey mapping process sends a clear message to staff that the organisation is taking customer centricity to the next level. Journey mapping engages staff across functions to empathise with customers at every touchpoint and co-design the optimal future state. This close proximity with customers provides staff with a greater sense of purpose and empowerment to solve real-world problems. For a great articulation of the benefits of customer-centricity read an excerpt from Elaine Fogel’s book Beyond Your Logo.

2. Customer Awareness: Journey maps are about more than just documenting a process flow or a sales and retention funnel. They generate a deeper understanding of customer expectations, experience and the resulting emotions that emanate from an interaction with your business. Giving your staff a deeper customer awareness and empathy will assist them in solving the customer’s emotional need, which creates genuine long-lasting customer advocacy.

3. Commercial Outcomes: Striving for a commercial outcome is not in conflict with a customer-centric strategy. However, developing a link between customer behaviour and commercial outcomes is so often overlooked. Every customer interaction will have a financial cost and benefit associated with it. A successful customer journey program is rigorously measured and tracked to ensure that maximum commercial value is realised through the implementation of initiatives that address the prioritised customer “moments of truth”. It is essential to set clear commercial objectives for the journey mapping project and continuously update those as the work evolves. As a broad example, customer journey mapping has been seen to boost revenues by 10-15%2 and lower operational costs by 10-20 %.

4. Decision Making: Journey mapping should give teams across functions a shared framework for making key decisions that impact the customer. As initiatives compete for time, resources and funding across functions the journey map should be able to demonstrate which initiatives have priority and why regardless of any internal political agendas.

5. Customer Experience Strategy: The customer journey map should instigate a re-think or review of any current customer experience strategy. In the case where a customer experience strategy does not exist then it should form the spine of that strategy.

6. Customer Transformation: The journey map should be a starting point for developing transformation customer initiatives, developing business cases, briefing vendors, managing implementation and measuring benefits. Good examples of where the journey map should be used are Voice of Customer, Marketing Automation and CRM transformation initiatives.


As mentioned in the Gartner study, many customer journey mapping projects fail to deliver on the objectives above due to a multitude of reasons. Here are a five- tips to avoid the common pitfalls experienced by many organisations.


Changing culture from the bottom-up can be a fruitless and demoralising task. As one of the core objectives of customer journey mapping is to create a customer centred culture, it is essential that the leadership group fully understands and is a hundred percent behind the program. Using the six objectives above is a good start to communicating the reason for pursuing this and if it is found that the leadership group is still not ‘on-board’,  then the project should not leave the station.


From the beginning of the project you need to reach out, across the organisational chart, to engage people in Marketing, Technology, Distribution, Finance, Customer Service etc. The initiatives that result from Customer Journey Mapping often affect all of these areas and it is important that they feel included from the beginning. Also, ideas can come from anywhere, so getting input from people with different vantage points to the customer and different priorities help cast a wide net.


Do not attempt to rush the journey map by conducting an internal view of the journey only. This is not customer journey mapping and will not deliver on the objectives above. It can be a really useful exercise to attempt the customer journey map internally first and then build on that with real customer input. The differences that you will see can be an eye-opening experience for staff and generates greater belief in the end product.


Whilst you can probably lay out a high-level view of the overarching journey reasonably quickly, it can be very overwhelming and unwieldy to attempt detailed journey mapping across the entire journey for all products and channels in one go. We recommend prioritising sections of the journey based on commercially relevant insights and performing deep-dives until the full journey takes shape


Finalising the as-is and to-be customer journey is not the time to high five and take five. Continually optimising the journey requires an ongoing focus from individuals and teams. You should set out a governance framework that identifies who, how and when you will progress toward the target state, knowing that the target state will also require regular reviews, updates and inputs from customers and cross-functional teams.


The benefits of implementing a customer journey mapping project are unquestionably desirable. But often organisations miss the benefits that the process delivers because they are keen to rush to the finish line. A customer journey map is about more than a pretty picture that sits on cubicle walls. It is about shifting the culture of an organisation toward a customer-centric ideal that compliments commercial objectives of the business.

At Churchill, our consultants have lived this journey many times. We have assisted clients, across a range of industries, to successfully develop, implement and monitor the progress of their journey maps, and have learnt from every experience. We bring deep customer experience to projects and work side by side with your teams to ensure your people develop along with the deliverables.

Linc Elliot Churchill Consulting

Lincoln Elliot, Manager

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Rebecca Davies, Consultant

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[1] Ray, A (2016, August 29). “Six Reasons Customer Journey Mapping Fails (And What To Do About It).” Sourced from Gartner for Marketers online

[2] Edelman, D; Stone, D; and Fanderl, H  (2015, January 28) “A Step by Step Plan to Improve CMO-COO Collaboration”. Sourced from Harvard Business Review online

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