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The bulk of customer journey mapping solutions on the market do one of two things: create an ideal path for customers through a company's engagement environment, or track what customers are doing with the environment they're given. Both varieties are necessary, but they don't need to be separate.

What you want vs. what you have

Saying there are two types of customer journey mapping is a simplification of the available products, but it is a reasonable generalization. On the one hand, there are the planning-based tools. These are like flow charts for a customer-initiated process; the business user links assets to one another, integrates them with CRM and other systems, and provides controls so the customer can choose actions and receive results. It is oriented toward the single customer and how he or she will likely use the website, app, or some other interface. Web designers and app builders have been doing this on their own for a long time, and this sort of journey mapping tool makes the job easier and less haphazard.

The other main variety of customer journey mapping tool is more akin to tracking software. It captures actual session use data, either in real time or as a periodic report, providing a visualization of where users as a body clicked and navigated. This information is used to see how people use the site as it stands, what the most and least used parts are, and where and how any interaction is likely to go wrong. Armed with this information, site owners can fine-tune it to achieve the desired results more often, adjust to user preferences, and fix anything that doesn't work.

It is difficult to imagine a situation where a business would want one type of journey map but not the other. Nevertheless, some vendors provide only one or the other broad function, or practically so by neglecting one side. Engaging the customer at every step is crucial to maintaining them as customers, more so now than ever before as options expand and patience atrophies. The customer journey mapping vendors that survive will be the ones that can provide a full suite of tools to cover both the aspirational and operational aspects of this important function.


Further reading

2018 Trends to Watch: Customer Engagement, IT0020-000321 (September 2017)

Connecting Customers' Offline and Online Journeys, INT001-000018 (January 2018)

"Voice of the customer and journey mapping tools need each other," IT0020-000246 (February 2017)


Marshall Lager, Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement

[email protected]