Prologue: The Importance of Customer Journeys
Let’s start with the obvious yet crucial statement. In our line of work, there can be no journey without a customer or a customer without a journey or, most importantly, businesses without customer journeys. Out of carefully selected seven words in our new hero sentence, these two undoubtedly are the most essential ones. Everything that we, and our network of partners and collaborators, do is built on the processes of creating additional value for our clients. That is the ultimate target of our work.
The fancy-sounding word customer itself is an eight-letter noun that largely originates from the Medieval Latin term custumarius, which was used to describe “tax-collectors” and “toll-gatherers” that for centuries were a fundamental part of the early European societies. It can be argued that without those tasks, professions and occupations, the modernish civilizations, countries, sciences, infrastructures, and cultures simply could not have developed. Journey, in singular form, made of seven letters with somehow cherished pronunciation, is an 800-plus-years-old term that originates from French. It used to have multiple meanings, the most common ones being “course of travelling”, “one’s path in life”, “day’s work”, or “distance travelled in one day”. In a wider geographical, philosophical and even logistic context, journeys have always been a fundamental part of the human history. Cristopher Columbus, Marco Polo, Vasco de Gama, Amelia Earhart‚ Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, Edmund Hillary and all the other brave yet sometimes controversial explorers have all shaped the limits of human thinking and potential. In many ways, the word and concept of the journey still carry a certain magical promise and even poetic obligation towards the brighter and more advanced futures and technological solutions that we too recognize to be an important part of Edita Prima’s purpose, mission, direction and vision.
All of the above goes well with our basic understanding of customer journeys that we see as user-friendly customer journey orchestration services that we break into data-driven microjourneys to create a difference making an impact. In that sense, we have taken even the traditional French definitions of customer and journey even further and instead of “distance travelled during the single day”, we think of them as something like “greater voyages divided into multiple shorter trips to make the whole journey as compact, logical, accurate, reliable, smooth and effective as possible”. It sounds complicated and somehow is. Please allow me to tell you more.
This story is all about customer journeys.
Chapter I: How we see Customer Journey Orchestration as a deeper understanding of the needs and demands of customers
“We help you transform ordinary Customer Journeys to holistic happy paths through optimized channels and touchpoints”. That is one of our key messages that summarize Edita Prima’s Customer Journey Orchestration (CJO) approach. Instead of a technological solution, we think CJO as an organizational approach to analytics that begins by focusing on the customer and includes all touchpoints throughout engagement during the lifecycle. To create successful Customer Journeys, businesses must have the ability to react in real-time with different touches that are personalized according to individual needs. This is where the magic of CJO and microjourneys come into play. Customer Journeys map out long-term experiences by mapping touchpoints, while microjourneys represent shorter paths, which provide quicker results and wins. The rule of the CJO law is that all modern businesses should always break their CustomerJourneys down into numerous microjourneys, which are more efficient in executing fast enhancements. That, in short, is our main play and greatest decisive expertise.
It’s vital to establish a clear value proposition for everything your company offers
This is how the usual Customer Journey deal normally nowadays begins: People expect a return on their investment when they use a company’s products and services, so businesses strive to meet those expectations. Customers are looking to get a job done, solve a problem, or experience an emotion. They’ll give something in return, but only if they’ll see that this advantage is worth of money, time, attention or all of those. It’s vital for businesses to establish a clear value proposition for everything they offer.
These expectations are, of course, based on the experiences people have with a company. That’s how they learn about the business, find out what to expect from it and how they view future interactions. This means making sure that customers understand the benefits of using your product or service through their experience throughout the whole journey from initial contact, funnel conversion and upsell. It sounds simple but is not.
Customer journey is the sum of interactions between an individual and an organization
Any Customer Journey everywhere is the sum of interactions between an individual and an organization. The term itself is not a new invention, but already more than a decade ago, it was common to see companies create Customer Journey maps. Over time, however, the concept of Customer Journeys has evolved and become more complex. Today there are many ways that businesses can approach desired outcomes from an individual’s perspective, not just through interactions with the organization itself. The most popular method is addressing them from a Customer Journey standpoint: Focusing on what people want when they interact with an organization, which could be anything like solving problems, experiencing emotions or getting the work done. A strong Customer Journey creates a positive relationship. They see value in what’s being offered, which fulfils their needs. This makes them satisfied consumers who will likely recommend your business to others and return for future purchases or use of your services. It truly is a win-win no, losing situation.
Chapter II: How we see Journey Mapping as something that does not magically solve anything but offers practical solutions for everything
What a funny term that is best applied when wanting to visualize your customer’s experience across touchpoints over time as they seek to achieve a specific goal. Journey Mapping can also help you better learn what your customers are looking for throughout their buying cycle by understanding how they interact with your company before, during and after. In other words, Journey Mapping focuses on a specific goal, typically explored from the customer’s perspective.
Journey Mapping is a visual representation of the path taken by your customers that typically includes these five elements:
Personas: Customer categories can be segmented based on demographics and psychographics.
Timeline: Process of progressing from one phase to the next and passing through the touchpoints along the way.
Actions: What the user does at each touchpoint is shown here.
Channels: Which channel the consumer is on for a given touchpoint at this moment.
Emotions/expectations/questions: Where you should consider your customer’s emotional state at each touchpoint.
Here is a simplified process for Journey Mapping, which starts by choosing a specific target for your customer. The most common goals we work with are:
Activation: Engaging with your brand
Acquisition: Engaging with specific campaign or sales
Adoption: Customer success
Advocacy: Brand loyalty
Next, consider what actions your customers take to achieve that goal. To map out these actions, you can use, for example, the D.R.E.A.M acronym:
D = Define the goal
R = Record the actions customers take to achieve the goal
E = Evaluate where you can help customers before they take each action
A = Ask what customers do after these actions
M = Map out your journey across all touchpoints
Just because a company has thought about customer journeys, it does not guarantee it will be any more customer-centric
The key is to pick one or two actions and focus on those to avoid the map becoming too cluttered and create a simplified map that is easy to execute and implement. Once you have a good idea of what actions you want to map, collect data on each of the steps. It’s crucial to be as specific as possible when capturing this data. For example, if you’re mapping customer acquisition, look at where your customers are coming from. While structured data will help with Journey Mapping, unstructured data is equally essential. Combining both gets a complete view of your customers’ experiences. The final step is to map the customer journey across touchpoints over time, including any interactions with partners or other companies that can influence their experience. It’s important to remember that Journey Mapping will not solve everything. Just because a company has undertaken customer journeys, it does not guarantee it will be any more customer-centric. That would be like becoming an elite athlete overnight by reading a sports magazine. Exciting but impossible. Let’s talk next about something realistic: Journey Discoveries.
Chapter III: How we see Journey Discovery as a perfect bridge between customer behavior and business outcomes
Another honest statement: Journey Discovery is, hands down, the best approach to find the numerous paths customers take as they engage with your brand across different channels. Companies have traditionally looked to improve customer experiences by focusing on particular touchpoints. Unfortunately, this often leads to misleading results, as customers could rate an individual interaction highly yet be unhappy over the course of an entire journey. In the digital age, companies can quickly gather sufficient numbers of detailed and reliable data, yet truly solving customer experiences remains challenging because they are composed of multiple interactions over time.
Customer satisfaction levels are measured across specific touchpoints or interactions
Journey Discovery brings customer journeys to life by generating a set of chronological stories. Only by looking at those entireties can pain-points and opportunities for positive change become visible. Traditional customer experience measurements do not provide insight into whether dissatisfaction experienced throughout the journey affects decision making or purchasing behavior. This temporary assessment approach does not reflect an accurate picture. As a result, it cannot provide insight into how pain points during an end-to-end journey affect customers’ decisions and behaviors over time.
Quantitative methods are crucial for Journey Discovery development and analysis
A simple stat to make the point: Research shows that 65% of organizations have documented customer journeys, but only 43% have a complete one that describes all the aspects of the customer journey. That’s not ideal. Journey Discovery can help you create an authentic, actionable picture of your customers’ end-to-end experiences and provide value by helping you understand the cross-channel customer experience and its impact. A Journey Discovery exercise requires the use of quantitative methods for its development and analysis. Quantitative data sources, such as web analytics, customer feedback tools, call center statistics and other preference data, provide detailed insight. These interactions are then mapped overtime to uncover the ’ending’ or completion of the journey.
Journey Discoveries should be approached as an iterative process that evolves over time. Organizations must thoroughly investigate initial findings before revisiting areas identified as problematic or underperforming to pinpoint the precise touchpoints where customer journeys may be breaking down. This allows organizations to identify areas for improvement and implement changes that will positively impact their business, such as optimizing marketing campaigns or call center efficiency.
The Four Usual Stages of Journey Discovery are:
Setup & Planning
Preparation & Governance
Data Collection & Mapping of the touchpoint experience over time
Analysis, Reporting & Optimizing Your Journey
This I can guarantee: When correctly done, Journey Discovery is a powerful approach that uses qualitative and quantitative data to map out the experiences your customers have during their end-to-end journeys, helping you understand how they interact with your organization at different touchpoints. It is also the first level of maturity towards Journey Orchestration.
Chapter VI: How we see Journey Orchestration as an essential part of a customer engagement strategy that spreads consistent customer satisfaction
As the name suggests, Journey Orchestration uses data from each customer’s interactions to shape and personalize their journey, improve customer experience, and achieve desired results. In other words, Journey Orchestration activates your Customer Journey Maps and provides the information and insight needed to complete your Journey Discovery outcomes. Forrester Research defines Journey Orchestration as ”the process of activating, through data and technology, a proactive, contextualized engagement experience across multiple channels-in line with the customer’s specific needs at each stage of the journey.” Journey Orchestration should therefore be considered an essential part of any customer engagement strategy, providing the ability to drive consistent customer satisfaction throughout an organization.
Journey Orchestration ensures that you engage with customers at the right time, both digitally and physically
In today’s complex business environments, all successful companies recognize that customers travel across multiple touchpoints and channels during every journey. Journey Orchestration unifies these interactions to ensure lasting relationships with customers. It involves identifying the stages of the customer’s journey, understanding what is expected during each stage, where touchpoints are involved, and how they can shape customer behavior.
Journey Orchestration is a way to ensure that you engage with customers properly at the right time, in both digital and physical channels. It means knowing what your customer expects from different interactions and capitalizing on opportunities to create lasting relationships. Companies must understand how their customers behave when they engage with their brand to properly ”orchestrate” several specific activities into a single seamless experience. The goal is to determine what each touchpoint is for, determine its function, and construct a well-structured process to guarantee that the entire encounter concludes with the desired commercial results.
And how exactly do we turn ordinary customer journeys into holistic happy paths?
In the previous chapters, I have already talked about how to begin the process of orchestrating customer journeys by mapping out your personas, timeframes, behaviors, channels and emotions. The outcome of these can be seen as something that we call ”happy paths”. The name is derived from the fact that we want to believe that our customers always go through our defined customer journeys and act according to our best understanding and data.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as we are all individuals. Our expectations from experience differ. Our behavior differs. The happy path is the journey we as a business want our customers to go through in our plans, and that’s where Journey Orchestration enters the picture assisting companies in automating the best possible result of customers’ happy paths, which will be populated with content that is customer-activated and personalized in the right channel that they choose to receive it.
We propose a three-stage approach for implementing orchestration programs that are tailored to each customer. We call it the Orchestration Framework:
PHASE 1: HYPOTHESIS
Interviews, pre-questionnaires and working culture analysis
Document and communication review and risk assessment
Buying personas and crisis touchpoint identifications
Updated or new customer journey mapping via microjourneys
PHASE 2: ENABLEMENT
Data connecting and workflow creation
Implantation of layouts and templates
Reporting dashboard creation and technology update
Piloting of previously mapped 1-3 microjourneys
PHASE 3: ENFORCEMENT
Customer segments and buying personas connecting
Microjourney optimization and activation
Real-time touchpoint reaction and execution activation
Analyzing and optimizing the newly orchestrated customer journey
To sum it up, Journey Orchestration enables you to understand how your customers behave when interacting with you in different channels and touchpoints. This way, it’s possible to personalize each customer interaction to meet their specific needs.
Chapter V: How we see Journey Analytics as a valuable touchpoint insight that equals the greatest possible impact
Another kind reminder: Journey Analytics can and should be considered as a subset of Journey Orchestration. Without the insights from Journeys, it’s hard to start building an understanding of any accurate and reliable customer behavior. Journey Analytics analyses individual customer interactions with an organization to identify key touchpoints in the customer’s experience. As customer journeys become more complex, organizations turn to journey analytics and orchestration to understand the complete picture. Journey Analytics focuses on analyzing customer interactions with an organization, identifying key touchpoints in the customer’s experience, measuring KPIs associated with each interaction and prioritizing opportunities for improvement.
Journey Analytics provides more granular metrics that help optimize customer experiences
Journey Analytics gives them the ability to track customer activity across channels, understand their changing needs over time and take the required action. Data-driven businesses have started to adopt Journey Analytics as it allows them to measure what matters most at every stage of the customer’s engagement. Traditionally Customer Experience has focused on measuring customer satisfaction with each touchpoint. However, measurement frameworks like NPS are not actionable enough to drive journeys across disparate channels. On the other hand, Journey Analytics provides more granular metrics that help inform the organization’s decisions on how they can optimize their customers’ experience.
Businesses typically adopt Journey Analytics in order to:
1. Identify opportunities for optimization and orchestration
Journey Analytics gives organizations the ability to track customer activity across channels, understand their changing needs over time and take the required action. This is accomplished by measuring what really matters at every touchpoint. In addition, identifying opportunities for optimization and orchestration can help businesses grow by providing insight into resources that could be reallocated or augmented to improve customer experience and grow revenue.
2. Navigate the increasing complexity of customer experience
Customers in the modern era expect businesses to be always available regardless of channels. Customers’ expectations at every stage in the journey are becoming increasingly complex, requiring businesses to identify ways they can simplify interactions and prioritize which signals will provide the most significant impact.
3. Measure what really matters at every touchpoint
Journey Analytics measures the correct KPI’s to help organizations understand how they can create a more compelling experience for customers. By measuring customer behaviors across each channel, organizations can uncover their customers’ needs and expectations and adapt accordingly. Having access to this information empowers businesses to make better decisions about managing their customer relationships.
4. Prioritize and manage improvement initiatives better
Journey analytics allows organizations to measure everything important at every touchpoint more accurately, enabling them to prioritize where they should focus their energy on driving the greatest impact. Every improvement initiative involves trade-offs between the cost of implementation vs. potential benefits: Journey Analytics helps prioritize the initiatives that will have the greatest impact on customer experience and revenue.
Businesses have started to use Journey Analytics to get a comprehensive view of their customer journey and develop customer experience initiatives that are more holistically concerned with customers’ requirements. This new indicator gives insights into potential areas and strategic guidance on how to improve clients’ experiences. Businesses may utilize this data, for example, to rank improvement initiatives that will have the most significant effect on customers, manage customer interactions more efficiently and simplify interactions.
Chapter VI: How we see Maturity Curve as a process that all companies everywhere should complete because it is worth it
Let’s start the final chapter of this story with a little recap: We have already gone through the different aspects of the Customer Journeys, from Journey Mapping, which helps businesses understand their customer’s journey from the first point of contact to purchase. It usually includes an overview of all touchpoints, personas, how they can be improved and what channels are used. As before, Journey Discovery creates a bridge between customer experience and business outcomes to Journey Orchestration, which is a way to manage the journeys across all channels and touchpoints.
We have also looked at the different aspects of Journey Analytics that it is an emerging capability that provides businesses with insights into potential areas for improvement, strategic guidance on how they can improve their customers’ experiences, identify opportunities for optimization and orchestration. For example, how to navigate the increasing complexity of customer experience, measure at every touchpoint, prioritize and manage improvement initiatives better, and visualize to understand the interactions that provide insights across the organization.
But none of that really matters unless Maturity Curve is executed correctly. This is absolutely crucial.
Starting point: Direct marketing
We have utilized advertisement through traditional channels like television, magazines, and radio for decades. What has typically happened with many companies is that the same habits have been just transformed into digital channels. Businesses make sure that they control and optimize what is delivered to the customer rather than marketing based on customers own behavior. This method has typically been built upon reaching their customers through digital advertising at a specific moment or budget, e.g., AdWords, social media ads, retargeting campaigns etc.
Step 1: Audience orchestration
The first step in the maturity curve is to start making campaigns more personalized by connecting customer data to marketing channels and automation systems. It’s vital to be able to speak with customers in more personalized ways by identifying and creating dynamic segments and then delivering the most relevant campaigns. By activating segments, companies can increase their ROMI by creating dynamic segments and triggering the most relevant campaigns in real-time or suppressing segments from media or marketing campaigns to control their ad spending or cost of acquisition.
Step 2: Microjourney orchestration
In this stage, businesses establish a foundation for creating data-driven microjourneys that anticipate customer needs and provide fast experiences with minimal friction. The major capabilities required include: In the ability to orchestrate personalization at scale, businesses should clearly understand what comprises their customer interactions from start to finish in each channel-specific journey. It also involves orchestrating these experiences across multiple touchpoints.
Step 3: Customer journey orchestration
To create a smooth customer experience, it’s vital to be able to transform the entire customer journey by analyzing and orchestrating all touchpoints, channels and moments. To do so, businesses must have a complete view of the customer journey from start to finish and possess the ability to orchestrate personalization across all those touchpoints.
In this stage, companies should have a complete view of the customer journey from start to finish by understanding what comprises each channel-specific journey. It’s also vital for businesses to have the ability to orchestrate personalization across all touchpoints.
That’s it. The end of our story. Thank you for reading, and one last thought: As a forward-looking company, it is crucial that you keep in mind that this is not an ”either/or” discussion. For companies to truly deliver omnichannel experiences that anticipate customer needs and provide frictionless experiences, it’s necessary to have the ability to orchestrate personalization across channels and touchpoints. We would absolutely love to orchestrate your automated customer journeys to perfection. That’s what we do.
Epilogue: Part 5/5 of "Our Hero Sentence Explained" story series is all about the word PERFECTION. Out sometimes, in May-June 2022. Be aware. Change is coming.