A customer journey is the mystical (and often theoretical) journey a customer takes to purchase a product. It typically starts from an event in their life that causes them to consciously recognize an undesirable problem that needs resolving or a job to be done. Before a customer journey can be plotted, it’s necessary to determine ‘what makes a customer.’ Often, customer buying personas are used to profile target characteristics in the buying audience.
The disruptive innovation theory and Jobs-To-Be-Done (J-T-B-D) methods developed by Clayton Christensen in Harvard Business School are very often used to determine what jobs customers are trying to achieve, and how they frame their buying requirements.
Conversational marketing theory has been developed by Newton Day to help organizations to create profitable and empathetic engagement approaches with their customer segments. At its heart is recognition of the importance of mapping customer journeys in the form of conversational paths.
Customer journey mapping
Customer Journey mapping is an exercise – often supported by a technology tool – to visualize how customers experience your product or service, and how they feel along the way. At NDMC, we created Conversational Marketing theory and conversational path mapping methods to help organizations to quickly establish the key stages in their customer journey. Customer journey maps are much like personas. The difference being is that they focus more on tasks and questions.
A conversational path is the mythical journey customers take from their original discovery of an ‘undesirable’ situation to purchasing a solution from your company. It charts the meaningful content articles and events that facilitate a two-way conversation–because any such conversation has to reward both parties. Conversational paths take inbound ‘customer journeys’ a step further.
Customer Experience Explained
Customer experience is a term commonly used to describe the relationship a customer has with a business. It refers to the total of all experiences the customer has with the business, based on all interactions and thoughts about the business. Equally important, it is an all-encompassing term. It includes communications touch-points, communications, emotional experience, behavior, data management, customer data platforms and technology ecosystems, and business model design implications.
Not only is it important to business strategy but also as a change agent to process improvement. It comes down to the ability of organizations to maximize customer value and minimize operating costs by understanding what drives customer behaviors and decisions.
In light of recent technology innovations like cloud computing and big data, it’s now possible to develop systems and methods to fully appreciate what matters to customers by harvesting data from back-office systems. In like manner, it’s also possible to determine how customers want to interact. This helps organizations to forge effective marketing programs based on facts underpinned by data.
Together with digital transformation initiatives, customer experience management is a game changing topic that organizations choose to ignore at their peril.
NDMC Consulting is an expert consultancy business specializing in customer experience strategy, management and customer data platforms. We’ve been delivering best-in-class customer experiences since 2003.
Blog article describing customer journey mapping