5 Ways to Rock your Worst Case Customer Experience Scenario

by Jeannie Walters

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The ideal customer journey is so tempting. It’s so magical to start designing the beautiful, happy day  journey for our customers.

On their best day, they fall in love with our products, they get excited at the unexpected moments of delight we offer, and they move on to become evangelists whose loyalty can’t be threatened.

But customers are real people with real lives and real frustrations.

customer experience scenario

Customer journey mapping can easily become an exercise in fantasy. It should be an exercise in reality.

How can you be sure you are preparing for your customer’s worst day with your company?

1. Start with why.

Why is a customer taking the action they are taking at any phase of the journey? What do they really want? If they want to achieve something, what are the barriers to completing the task?

2. Assume it all goes wrong.

What happens if it doesn’t work? What if they don’t follow the instructions you may have carefully laid out for them? Assume the worst! Ask what someone might do. Will they call for help? If not, is it because they can’t find the phone number?

customer experience scenario

3. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – when they’ve already had a rotten day.

Don’t underestimate this step! If your customer arrives already frustrated, defeated, or angry, how much worse is the situation when it doesn’t go well? What can you do to provide moments of delight through meaningful micromoments or simply being human?

4. Now solve the problem.

Once the customer gets through whatever wasn’t working, how do they know how to continue? Are they kicked into a different area of the online experience? Do you contact center reps transfer them to someone who doesn’t understand their full story? Think through the parts of the journey that lead to more irritation.

5. Don’t forget to apologize.

Let’s say everything went wrong, but your customer is able to complete whatever they wanted to do with your company. Now what? Keep in mind your customer is still having a rotten day. Make sure your journey includes moments when customers hear an honest apology.


Customers are simply living their full lives, and if your service or product fits into that, that’s a privilege! Designing everything you offer around the ideal customer experience for the customer who is having an ideal day is not realistic. Think about your grumpy customer and welcome the opportunity to make their day just a little bit better.

Making it easy to do business is just the tip of the iceberg. Investing in the details of each part of the journey is what leads to truly magical experiences.


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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience.

Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter.

Learn more here.

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