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Customer journey mapping tools don’t address the most critical challenges.

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 09/26/2023
Life Insurance Journey Map

There are a ton of journey-mapping tools out there. I’m most familiar with Touchpoint Dashboard, but I’ve had demos from many others. They all excel at certain components of journey mapping, but they don’t (and probably can’t) address some of the largest problems.

That’s because the biggest reasons journey maps fail have nothing to do with digital problems; they’re analog. As we’ll discuss tomorrow, the biggest problem in journey mapping is that it’s done in silos. Small teams are created to do journey mapping. Those small teams intimately learn the customer experience, but because they don’t control the critical touch points, the effort fails to drive change.

The Power of Customer Journey Mapping Tools

I’ve seen customer journey mapping tools experiencing an exponential surge in recent years and for good reasons. An exponential number of organizations expect to compete primarily based on customer experience. In the wake of this shift, the demand for technologies enabling a better understanding of the customer journey has skyrocketed.

At its core, a customer journey mapping tool visually represents customers’ interactions with a company. By visualizing the customer journey map, it facilitates a deep dive into each touchpoint’s effectiveness. Customer journey mapping software can illuminate pain points, allowing for targeted problem-solving and spotlight opportunities for enhancement.

A compelling example I came across is the 17% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) observed in the Customer Journey Analytics Market, which is predicted to reach USD 25.39 billion by 2026 (source: “Customer Journey Analytics Market Size”). This meteoric rise tells a compelling narrative of an industry racing to decode the complex web of customer interactions.

Yet, one has to wonder – are these tools painting the complete picture? Or are we merely seeing the most convenient parts of the canvas? There is a growing sentiment within the industry that there may be more to the story than these tools can tell. Let’s challenge that perspective.

Related Reading: Customer Journey Maps: The Top 10 Requirements

Unveiling the Critical Challenges of a Customer Journey Mapping Tool

In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected marketplace, customers are more informed, demanding, and less brand loyal than ever. As senior customer experience and marketing leaders, your mandate is to understand, predict, and shape customer behavior to foster enduring relationships and drive growth. To do so, you must grapple with the core challenges that underpin the modern customer experience landscape. Let’s unveil these critical challenges:

1. Understanding Real-Time Customer Behavior

Customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors are in constant flux. A seemingly trivial social media trend today can significantly impact buying behaviors tomorrow. Keeping a finger on the pulse of such real-time changes is a daunting but essential task.

According to a study by Accenture I reviewed recently, nearly half of consumers have switched brands due to poor customer experience, demonstrating the importance of real-time insights. With the right tools, you can react quickly to shifts in customer behavior, personalize interactions, and prevent churn before it occurs.

2. Seamless Integration of Data Across Platforms

As customer touchpoints expand across various digital and physical channels, the amount of customer data available to organizations has exploded. But having data is one thing; integrating and analyzing it across platforms effectively is another.

In my experience, I’ve seen only a few companies that believe they are currently very effective at delivering relevant and reliable customer experiences based on high-quality data. An effective journey mapping tool should allow you to see a 360-degree view of the customer journey, irrespective of the channel or platform.

The power of data integration cannot be understated. It’s like finding the missing pieces of a vast puzzle that, once assembled, reveals a comprehensive image of customer behavior and preferences. 

The ability to integrate data from disparate sources unlocks incredible insights, leading to more informed decision-making. It allows us to predict trends, identify potential roadblocks, and fine-tune strategies for maximum impact

3. Predicting Future Customer Actions

Today’s leaders are not just reactive; they’re proactive. The ability to anticipate customer needs and behaviors is key to staying ahead of the competition. This capability demands more than rudimentary prediction models; it requires advanced analytics and machine learning to forecast future customer actions accurately.

Companies using advanced analytics are twice as likely to be in their industries’ top quartile of financial performance. But, I can’t help but wonder,  how many journey mapping tools can confidently deliver such a level of predictive capability?

4. Comprehending the Emotional Context Behind Customer Decisions

Emotions play a crucial role in shaping customer decisions and behaviors. Still, quantifying and understanding these emotional contexts can be challenging. Traditional journey mapping tools tend to focus more on the functional aspects of the journey, often overlooking the emotional aspects.

Engaging customers effectively and optimally is a major factor in driving a company’s growth and success. It’s been widely observed that highly engaged customers contribute significantly more to a company’s share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth than the average customer. This high level of engagement is only possible when companies truly understand the emotional context of their customers.

As I look at these challenges, I cannot help but wonder – are our current customer journey mapping tools up to the task? Do they offer solutions that align with these requirements, or do they fall short, leaving a gap in our understanding and approach? As we delve into this question, let’s maintain an open mind and a steadfast focus on our ultimate goal – delivering exceptional customer experiences that drive growth and loyalty.

Related Reading: Customer Journey Mapping Examples

What Are The The Limitations of Current Customer Journey Mapping Software?

The intrinsic value of current journey mapping tools is unquestionable. Yet, they often falter when confronted with critical challenges inherent in today’s dynamic customer experience landscape. Let me tell you what limitations I’m referring to:

  1. Lack of Real-Time Insights in Current Tools for Customer Interactions
  2. Fragmented Customer View
  3. Limited Predictive Capabilities
  4. Lack of Emotional Context

1. Snapshots, Not Live Streams

Current tools typically offer post-mortem analysis of customer interactions. They are excellent at dissecting past events but lack the ability to provide real-time insights. For instance, only around 13% of organizations consider their ability to capture real-time customer insights as strong.

2. Fragmented Data Integration

Many tools falter at integrating data from different touchpoints seamlessly, leading to a fragmented view of the customer. This is of particular concern, considering that many marketers believe data is primarily siloed across different departments.

3. Limited Predictive Capabilities

While some tools have predictive features, they are often rudimentary and lack the sophistication to handle complex forecasting. The low number of companies that believe they can predict what a customer will do next is surprising.

4. Missing Emotional Context

Most tools aren’t yet sophisticated enough to map the emotional context behind customer decisions. Even though emotion is the number one factor in customer loyalty, around half of CX professionals say they struggle to tie emotion to their customer journey maps.

Let’ me illustrate these points with a real-world example. Consider a renowned e-commerce platform equipped with top-tier journey mapping tools. Despite having these resources, it failed to predict a significant drop in its customer retention rate. The reasons behind this failure can be understood better when we analyze the above limitations:

  • Real-time insights could have alerted the platform to immediate customer experience issues, thereby averting a drop in retention rate.
  • A unified view of customer data across all touchpoints would have clarified the factors leading to customer dissatisfaction.
  • If the tools offered robust predictive capabilities, the e-commerce platform might have foreseen the downturn in customer retention and taken preventive measures.
  • Understanding the emotional context behind customer decisions could have revealed deep-seated issues affecting customer loyalty.

5. Collaboration Difficulties 

I’ve found that collaborating with a customer journey mapping software can present varying levels of difficulty, influenced by a range of factors. The specific software utilized plays a significant role, as different tools offer distinct features and collaboration capabilities. 

One’s familiarity with the software can impact the collaborative process. Being well-versed in the tool’s functionalities and navigation can make it easier to contribute effectively. 

The complexity of collaboration requirements should be considered. If the project involves multiple stakeholders or intricate mapping processes, it may require more effort and coordination to ensure smooth collaboration. 

I believe this scenario underscores the urgency for solutions that transcend these limitations, shaping a more accurate and holistic approach to customer journey mapping.

The Impact of These Limitations

We all see that the inadequacies of current customer journey mapping tools are more than abstract conceptual hurdles. They manifest in substantial, often costly business repercussions that must be comprehensively understood, particularly by those in senior leadership roles within customer experience, marketing, digital strategy, and innovation. These include:

  • Missed Opportunities with Real-Time Data
  • Ineffective Marketing Strategies due to Lack of Predictive Capability
  • Diminished Customer Satisfaction and Brand Reputation
  • Diminished Customer Satisfaction and Brand Reputation
  • Data Fragmentation and Incomplete Customer View

Missed Opportunities with Real-Time Data

The inability to provide real-time data translates into missed opportunities for immediate action. Firms leveraging data-driven decision-making have higher output and productivity. Real-time data helps businesses respond faster to customer needs, prevent escalations, and seize potential upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

Ineffective Marketing Strategies due to Lack of Predictive Capability

The limited predictive capability of current tools can result in misallocated marketing resources, as ineffective strategies are pursued based on past behavior instead of future predictions.

Diminished Customer Satisfaction and Brand Reputation

Perhaps the most damaging of all is the potential impact on customer satisfaction and brand reputation due to a lack of emotional understanding. Misunderstanding or failing to address customer emotions can lead to tone-deaf communication, tarnishing brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Data Fragmentation and Incomplete Customer View

The struggle to integrate data from various sources results in an incomplete view of the customer. Almost half of consumers switch companies due to poor personalization and lack of trust, costing companies billions.

What I want you to remember is that these impacts underline the significance of overcoming the limitations of current journey mapping tools. We must rise to the challenge, spurred by the understanding that our efforts will translate into tangible business outcomes and customer experience enhancements.

Looking Towards the Future: Potential Solutions

I expect companies to integrate the journey map into the existing customer experience dashboards, increasing the functionality of both the maps and the dashboards. I did see a demo of Intouch Insight’s product CX platform, which allows you to build a view that shows your customer’s journey. This will eventually become the norm.

Software also doesn’t typically address a most common journey mapping problem – that the map-making doesn’t involve customers. In fact, by making it easy to enter in whatever data you want, journey mapping software may inadvertently exacerbate this issue. 

While the current landscape of customer journey mapping may have its limitations, the horizon promises an innovative wave of solutions ready to address these challenges. As leaders in our respective fields – from customer experience to marketing, digital strategy to innovation – it’s vital to stay at the forefront of these advancements. Let’s explore some promising developments:

  • Real-Time Customer Analytics Tools: As our need for real-time insights grows, so does the development of tools capable of capturing these dynamics. Real-time customer analytics tools allow businesses to monitor customer interactions as they occur. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global customer journey analytics market size is projected to grow from $8.3 billion in 2020 to $25.1 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.3% during the forecast period. This growth underscores the increasing recognition of the importance of real-time customer insights.
  • Data Integration Platforms: New emerging platforms that excel in integrating data from various sources provide a unified, comprehensive view of the customer. In fact, the global data integration market is anticipated to reach $20 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 14% (source). These platforms promise to diminish the data silos that hamper an accurate understanding of the customer journey.
  • AI-Driven Predictive Models: Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, predictive models are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These advancements could revolutionize predictive capabilities in customer journey mapping, ensuring our strategies are informed by future-oriented insights rather than just past behavior.

The road ahead is laden with potential. The promise of overcoming the limitations of our current customer journey mapping tools shines brightly on the horizon. As we continue to foster our commitment to delivering unparalleled customer experiences, let us embrace these advancements with open minds and the confidence to venture into uncharted territory.

Strategic Recommendations

As leaders tasked with shaping the future of customer experience in our respective industries, it is our prerogative to stay ahead of the curve and continually seek ways to improve. To that end, let me explain three pivotal steps to help us navigate this evolving landscape.

Honest Assessment of Current Tools 

The first step I recommend is a candid self-assessment. Audit your current journey mapping tools and ask tough questions.

  • Are they providing the real-time data your teams need to make quick, informed decisions?
  • Are they adept at integrating information from multiple sources to present a unified view of the customer?
  • Can they anticipate future behaviors and trends with reasonable accuracy?
  • Can they capture the emotional nuances that influence customer behavior?

Answers to these questions will give you a clear understanding of your tools’ capabilities and limitations.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation

Let’s not forget that tools are just part of the equation. A sustainable competitive edge lies in fostering a culture that values continuous learning, innovation, and customer-centricity. 

I believe that encouraging your teams to question existing practices, ideate solutions, and experiment fearlessly is essential. Promote cross-functional collaboration to ensure a holistic approach to customer experience. Organizations that cultivate such a culture are more likely to stay ahead in the market.

The journey to enhancing customer experience is continuous, filled with learnings and opportunities. Adopting these strategic recommendations ensures we are well-equipped to address our customers’ evolving needs, stay competitive in the market, and ultimately drive business success. Let’s seize this moment to drive the transformation we wish to see in our industry.


Navigating the complex landscape of customer behavior is not an easy task. Current tools provide us with a sense of direction but fall short of showing us the complete path. As leaders, our goal is to understand where we’ve been and, more importantly, decipher where we’re heading. 

To achieve this, we must abandon our dependence on traditional customer journey mapping tools and embrace innovative alternatives that address the critical challenges of real-time insight, data integration, predictive capabilities, and emotional understanding. Only then can we hope to align with our customers and embark on a shared growth and success journey.

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Equipped with actionable strategies, tested tools, and industry knowledge, you will gain an edge in implementing effective B2B customer experience strategies.

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This is the fourth of five posts of reflections after five years of journey mapping. All five include:

  1. Journey mapping has become a must-have approach to customer experience.
  2. We still have challenges navigating the trade-offs in what we map.
  3. Too many see journey mapping as a workshop.
  4. Journey mapping tools still don’t address the most critical challenges.
  5. Journey mapping is still happening in silos.

These all reflect, to varying degrees, the five journey-mapping questions that you should consider before embarking on a project:

  1. What is the business problem or opportunity?
  2. What is the right journey to map?
  3. Who is the right customer to map?
  4. What is the right approach to bring the voice of your customer to life?
  5. Who should be on your journey mapping team?

Connect with the journey experts to improve your customer journey and business outcomes.

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