In today's digital-driven world, consumers expect to interact with brands at their convenience and through several channels of their choice. To remain competitive, brands need to facilitate their customers' interactions and identify the best way to respond at each stage of their journey to provide them with the delightful experience they expect and deserve. This is where Customer Journey Management comes in.
What is Customer Journey Management?
Customer Journey Management is an approach that helps understand a brand's experience from the customer's standpoint. It identifies the best way to interact with customers at each stage of their journey to continue moving them through the sales funnel.
As opposed to a methodology where a set of principles, technologies, and practices can be used to achieve a particular business goal, Customer Journey Management is more a framework that leaves room for practices and technologies to be included along the way at the discretion of organizations.
What are the core components of Customer Journey Management?
Analyst firms such as Forrester and Gartner provide excellent research on this topic. Combining their reports with some of the outcomes from customer meetings I've had with organizations, we find that three core components are at the center of Customer Journey Management. Note that the following components are not mutually exclusive and can (and to some extend should) complement one another:
1- Journey Mapping:
A Customer Journey map is an experience-driven approach. It represents one or several engagement paths customers take as they experience a brand's services or products.
"The journey mapping process helps firms align around a shared vision of target customers, identify broken moments of truth, and get the insights they need to improve" - Forrester.
2- Journey Orchestration:
Journey Orchestration is an engagement-driven approach. It takes a real-time and individual angle to engage with customers. It integrates data sources, channel execution, and offer management and allows to tailor individual journeys for every customer based on their previous and predicted behavior and preferences.
3- Journey Analytics:
Journey Analytics is a data-driven approach. It provides the framework for analyzing customer interactions across channels, screens, and offers and measuring the impact on the business goals.
What are the benefits of Customer Journey Management?
Building a customer-centric engagement strategy is at the heart of any successful experience-led business. When Customer Journey Management is part of that strategy, brands can expect the following benefits:
1- Understand your customers:
This is a chance to put yourself in your customer's shoes and see how they interact with your brand, the channels they use, the feedback they provide on your products, and their overall experience. Understanding these interactions will inform your decision to create relevant journeys, identify gaps along the way, and move the needle in achieving your business goals.
2- Identify gaps and shortcomings:
Building successful journeys doesn't happen overnight. As you develop your journey maps and orchestrate your touchpoints, you will be able to determine if your customers are following the paths you created for them. You will also be able to identify missed opportunities or gaps when your customers disengage and drop out of these paths as a result of potentials brand inconsistencies during their experiences.
3- Increase conversions and improve retention:
When brands invest in understanding their customers and building experiences they relate to, it's no surprise that these experiences will attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately impact the bottom line.
4- Build for automation and cost reduction:
One aspect of Customer Journey Management is to automate some of the most common paths customers take. When automation occurs, it allows brands to scale their business to a more significant number of customers, reduce operational costs, and forecast journey outcomes efficiently.
With 74% of consumers somewhat likely to buy products and services based on experiences alone (source: Forbes), Customer Journey Management becomes an increasingly strategic approach for brands to create experiences that deliver value. As brands create their journey maps, orchestrate their interactions, and extract analytics from their audiences, it is also essential to build journeys that reflect their consumers' current state and continuously revise and optimize their experiences to adapt to ever-evolving consumers' expectations.