What is a Customer Journey? Why is it Important?

What is a Customer Journey?

Customer journey refers to the complete interaction path between a customer and a brand. This can be right from brand discovery to purchasing and beyond. In simple terms, it is the overall experience of a customer with a brand.

For example, a customer enters a shoe store and is captivated by the layout and lavish interiors. An employee then approaches her with a warm smile, and both head off to find the perfect pair of shoes. After her purchase, the customer thanks the employee and leaves.

What is a Customer Journey?

Later that evening, she posted a picture of her new shoes on Instagram mentioning the store’s name. This entire journey from finding the shoe store to posting on Instagram depicts a customer’s journey with the shoe store.

Insights into customer journeys can provide a clear understanding of customer interactions and can find the scope of improving the entire customer journey.

How to Measure Customer Journey?

3 Metrics to Measure Customer Journey

Here are a few metrics used to measure customer journey.

1. Customer surveys

What you think your customers' experience and what they experience will be different. Hence understand real customer issues and feedback through surveys like NPS, CSAT, etc.

For example, after the checkout from your online store, ask how your store's shopping experience (app or website) was. This will help you to identify the friction they experienced during the shopping.

2. Customer Data Usage

Use the customer data with 3rd party tools and understand the dips and hikes in customer experience trends over time and find the points where they leave your brand or make a purchase. Also, gather data from each customer interaction, such as what products they search for from your store, how much time they took to find a product, etc.

3. Voice of the Customer

Listen to what customers say about their experience and understand the various pain points in their journey. For example, if they added a review that says "the customer support executive was not responding or not provided a solution," understand that, that is the point where your customer loses trust in your brand.

What is Customer Journey Analytics?

Customer Journey Analytics

Customer journey analytics is the process of analyzing various touchpoints and customer behavior across a period of time to measure the impact of customer behavior on the business. This is done by analyzing the available data, generating valuable insights, enhancing the customer journey, and measuring customer experience.

Customer journey analytics is gaining popularity as many companies realize the importance of customer journey as a means to monitor customer experience.     

What is a Customer Journey Touchpoint?

Customer Journey Touchpoint

A touchpoint in a customer journey is when a customer engages with a brand. Touchpoints can be found when the customer directly contacts the brand through websites, apps, or other platforms.

Examples of touchpoints include writing a review after purchasing a product, adding a product to the cart, writing a complaint to the company about the product, etc.

How to Identify Different Customer Journey Touchpoints?

Identifying touchpoints is key to forming a customer journey map.

Before – Figure out how the customer discovered the company. It can be through billboards, articles, social media, reviews, or word of mouth.

During – This is the point of sale (POS). The customer can purchase through a website, on-site, or by delivery. Here the company interacts with the customer directly.

After – The customer interaction after the sale. This happens through reviews, returns, product support, and customer surveys.

After mapping all the touchpoints in the customer journey, the company can gradually spot pain points and make improvements.        

Different Customer Journey Touchpoints

Customer journey maps can be made with a simple flowchart, but various tools help create more sophisticated ones.

Here are a few tools used to create a customer journey map.

  • Touchpoint

  • Microsoft Visio

  • Gliffy

  • LucidChart

  • Canvanizer

  • InDesign

What is Customer Journey Optimization?

Customer journey optimization involves mapping out and connecting customer interactions throughout all key touchpoints to improve customer experience.

Companies must create a seamless experience across multiple channels in a predominantly digital world to stay ahead of competitors. To offer a seamless experience, customers should have effortless ways to connect with brands.

Customer Journey Optimization

The primary objective of customer journey optimization is to increase brand loyalty. This consequently enhances sales and business performance.

What are the Steps to Optimize the Customer Journey?

Steps to Optimize the Customer Journey

1. Analyze the existing customer journey:

This is the first step in optimizing the customer journey. Doing this can help find patterns or trends in how customers interact with the brand. It allows the brand to experience the journey from the customer’s perspective and identify aspects that can be done more efficiently.

2. Identify all the touchpoints:

By analyzing each touch point effectively, the strengths and weaknesses of the brand in offering experience become clearer. A better picture of the ideal customer can also be derived. With this, the company can figure out different ways to interact with customers.

3. Collect as many touch points as possible:

The more data to work with, the better the results. So collecting information through multiple touchpoints will help optimize the customer journey.

What is Customer Journey Orchestration?   

Typically, customers interact with a brand through marketing, sales, support, or service teams. Due to siloed work structure, many organizations cannot consistently offer experience through these different teams. This will, in turn, result in an overall negative experience with a brand.

There is the relevance of customer journey orchestration in organizations. The journey orchestration will bridge the gap between different teams and systems to stimulate the entire organization to offer a positive holistic experience to their customers.

Customer Journey Orchestration

Here, this method doesn’t let an experience moment happen naturally; instead, they manage the experience with all teams in the organization as per real-time customer actions.

Customer journey orchestration combines various customer experiences in real-time to provide individual customers with a unique brand experience. This goes beyond marketing and sales.

Customer journey orchestration takes a personalized approach to interacting with customers. To put it into simple words, the customer gets to dictate their journey, and companies only help customers begin their journey.

For example, let’s take banks. A customer may choose a bank for mortgages, and the customer may want their credit card and other financial products from the same bank. In traditional campaigns, organizations focus on improving sales and connecting customers for each business unit separately.

Orchestration will help them to synchronize communications with customers through multiple channels for multiple purposes. That is, if a customer took a loan from a bank, and then again, after a while, they applied for a credit card; the communication should have a connection from the last conversation. The credit card team should not consider this customer as a new customer but as an existing loyal customer. The experience should be framed based on that.

Customer journey orchestration will direct a brand from selling a product to sending the right message to the right customer. This will improve customer loyalty, thereby sales, and overall customer experience.

What are the Benefits of Customer Journey Orchestration?

  • Improves holistic customer experience

  • Builds customer loyalty

  • Improves the company’s performance 

Difference Between Customer Journey Orchestration and Customer Journey Mapping

Mapping is the first step in creating a customer journey, but customer journey orchestration is what comes beyond mapping.

In mapping, the journey a customer takes is understood by the marketers and CX leaders, but in orchestration, it changes and enhances the course of the journey. Orchestration is always followed by mapping.    

Difference Between Customer Journey Orchestration and Customer Journey Mapping

In other words, a customer journey map is a theoretical framework that remains static. If a brand created a map with the current customer behavior and market, that can’t be referred to after two months since the customer journey trend might be changed by then.

On the flip side, customer journey orchestration is seeing the customer actions in real-time and triggering the proper steps from the brand side.

To implement customer journey orchestration, all internal teams should cooperate and work together without silos.

For example, the journey map of a cosmetic brand can include searching for a moisturizer to the post-purchase experience. When it comes to orchestration, for example, even after purchasing the moisturizer and being satisfied, a customer may repurchase it. Now, they have become a loyal customer, and the experience they should get from that brand should be even more intense. So, the internal team should configure the experience accordingly. Brands can achieve it with customer journey orchestration.

In conclusion,

Understanding the customer journey is crucial for businesses seeking to create a seamless and satisfying experience for their customers. It's like taking a road trip with them, making sure they have all the necessary provisions, and enjoying the ride together.

By mapping out the customer journey, businesses can identify key touchpoints where they can make a difference in the customer's experience. Whether it's an easy-to-navigate website, personalized communications, or efficient customer service, every interaction matters.

Not only does understanding the customer journey help businesses provide a better experience, but it also enhances customer loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and referrals. Think of it as building a lasting relationship with your customers, based on trust and mutual understanding.

Enjoy the ride and create impactful customer journeys!

Read More: The Beauty of Sephora's Customer Journey Orchestration: Creating Flawless Experiences!