In today’s supercompetitive business environment, one of the newest “battlegrounds” in the continuous search for differentiation are the customer journeys.  By book definition, a customer journey is the set of interactions that a client has with a brand in the process of buying a product or a service.  The focus is not only on transactions but how the customer actually feels after each interaction with a brand.

The objective of this ongoing process is dual.  Primarily, is to measure and assess the way that we are taking care of our clients and secondly, to find ways to improve and bring further delight to their overall experience with our company.   

Several relevant surveys such as that conducted from Siegel+Gale, one of the top brand consultancies in the USA, found that companies that provide simple and seamless experience in their customer journeys end up with having the most loyal customers. Moreover, books like “The Effortless Experience”, from the authors of the grounbreaking “The Challenger Sale”, strongly advocate towards that direction.  The overall conclusion is that if people are given a choice, they will mostly go for the easy option, not the perfect one.

On the other hand, there are voices which claim that advising companies to routinise their customer journeys and therefore make them as effortless and predictable as possible, might be an overly simplistic approach that can sometimes have the opposite effects.  Academics Ahir Gopaldas and Anton Siebert, in a recent article in Harvard Business Review, claim that customers also value different kinds of experiences.  Following five years of research into customer experiences across a broad range of product types and feedback from workshops, they created the customer journey matrix.  In this, customer journeys are categorised into four different archetypes (routine, joyride, trek, odyssey) based on their level of effort and predictability, therefore offering a different approach on the subject.

In my view, as with most things in business, one size doesn’t fit all, so we need to go for customisation.  Before getting into the process of designing the customer journey, we must start from mapping it, which is mainly understanding how our client sees, feels and hears in every interaction with our organisation.  This process will give us valuable information and in conjunction with our value proposition, and the way that our clientele is segmented, will be the foundation that will help us provide a customer journey that will make customers return again and again.