So, exactly what is the customer journey?
Here are two great customer journey definitions:
“The customer journey is the series of interactions between a customer and a company that occur as the customer pursues a specific goal.”
“A customer’s journey serves as the framework against which they anticipate, and ultimately judge, a seller… It is, simply put, the complete experience of a customer with a brand throughout their entire relationship.”
– Annette Franz, CCXP (CX Journey)2
Every touchpoint in the customer journey is an opportunity to deliver positive experiences that encourage prospects to become customers, and customers to become loyal brand advocates.
This means knowing the stages that their customers must go through to achieve their goal, what touchpoints they will encounter along the way, and how everything fits within the overall customer lifecycle.
As such, there is no set list of stages that comprise it. It all depends on how CX professionals choose and define stages that they feel are relevant to their specific brand and customers.
These stages typically cover key events that take place between the time a person becomes aware of a need they must address, to when they address it, all the way to when they may choose to share their experience with others.
These individual touchpoints can impact how a customer perceives a brand’s overall Customer Experience, and each presents an opportunity to delight and guide them along their journey.
Customer journey touchpoints can occur through both offline and online channels, regardless of whether they are within a brand’s control.
Phone / Call center
Customer preferences (e.g., how they prefer to reseaarch, purchase, contact support, etc.)
Relevance and significance of the goal (e.g., purchasing a car vs. purchasing a pen)
The channels through which companies choose to interact with customers
A customer journey map provides a way for brands to understand better what a customer or customer persona might experience along their journey.
The goals they are looking to accomplish
What they are expecting to be able to do
The touchpoints they may encounter
The emotions or frustrations they may be feeling
The pain points (and the “wins”) they may meet
Mapping your customer journey allows CX professionals to easily visualize every possible way a customer can interact with their brand as they travel across their journey. It also helps organize how they can go about providing a positive experience with each interaction.
What they need
The stages they will take to meet these needs
The touchpoints where they can interact with your brand
Where their “moments of truth” are in their customer journey
The pain points they may encounter across the customer journey
CX professionals can use different data sources to confirm many of these items. However, identifying where the pain points are in the customer journey, and customers’ emotions and frustrations along the way, can be difficult to do without asking your customers directly.
Customer feedback collected using a Voice of the Customer program is a critical complement to mapping the customer journey. It gives you not only the key insights to help you build a stronger and clearer map, but also design positive experiences at critical moments across the customer journey.
With 67% of customers saying that their standards for good experiences are higher than ever7, the need for brands to deliver exceptional experiences across the customer journey has never been higher.
This includes answering questions such as:
What are they looking to accomplish at each stage of the customer journey?
What do they expect brands to provide them to help them accomplish their goal?
How well do they feel the brand is currently meeting these expectations?
A Voice of the Customer (VoC) program that collects customer feedback across the entire Customer Experience Landscape – on all touchpoints across each stage of the customer journey throughout the customer lifecycle – helps brands answer these questions, and visualize:
How their customers perceive their CX at each stage of the customer journey
What customer journey stages offer the strongest and weakest CX
How customer expectations differ from customer touchpoint to customer touchpoint