What is the customer journey?

What is the customer journey?

Sheila Ghamkhar |May 25 2023 8 min

The customer journey is the path that a customer walks, between the different interactive touchpoints with an organization. When we talk about the customer journey, the central focus is on the customer. Do we know who they are? How do they behave? What are their needs or expectations? Which factors make them buy a product? The answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding your current and future customers, and of course, the customer journey.

The Personalized Customer Journey

Making sure your customer journey is personalized and optimized in the way your ideal customer would find most satisfying and efficient is a great competitive strength. When someone needs a product or service, they have a wide variety of businesses to choose from in a highly competitive market. For your brand to stand out and build a lasting relationship with your customers, you need to offer them the opportunity to have a rewarding and personalized experience throughout their customer journey. The effort to enhance the customer experience may be virtual, physical, or a combination of both.

Technology is helping immensely in this area by allowing organizations to secure the best support and establish connectivity in those moments when a customer interacts with the organization and opens the opportunity to tend to a larger extent of customer interaction preferences today. Digital solutions have been playing a much more central role in the customer journey over the past few years. More efficient solutions with higher capacity offerings have been introduced to the modern customer journey across industries, e.g., appointment scheduling systems with multiple appointment possibilities or virtual meeting and queuing possibilities tending to a broader spectrum of interaction, to mention a few.

Example of a personalized customer journey

Imagine a customer named Lewis, who is used to conducting most of his errands online, needs to go to the bank to purchase a new financial product that will guarantee him a comfortable future when he retires. He is torn between three banks (A, B, C) because they offer very similar products. However, he has discovered that Bank B allows him to make an appointment online and select the type of service he is interested in, meaning that he wouldn't have to wait in a long line nor explain what he wants to achieve with his visit at multiple service desks at the lobby when arriving. In the end, he decides to approach Bank B. When his booking is completed, Lewis receives a confirmation email and a virtual check-in link he can use to announce his arrival at the bank. When the day comes and he arrives at the bank, he discovers the bank is very busy but would still prefer to register himself at a desk instead of the virtual check-in link he received in his booking confirmation. Luckily, he discovers a self-service kiosk in the entrance which allows him to identify himself and announce his arrival ahead of the appointment. He is then sent directly to a suitable financial agent at the appointed time who can assist him with the service request he selected in his booking.

The above story exemplifies two “touchpoints” in the customer journey that provide personalized interaction possibilities that fit the specific customer's preferences. The first touchpoint gave the customer the opportunity to easily schedule an appointment online, and to add more value to this interaction, the customer had the option of selecting what service he was interested in directly in his booking. The second touchpoint allowed the customer to announce his arrival to his appointment using either a virtual check-in link, registration at a physical service desk or a self-service kiosk at the premises. Since the exemplified Bank B was able to fulfill a personalized interaction and customer journey, they were able to provide Lewis with a customer experience that felt highly personal, satisfying, and efficient.

Touchpoints Along the Customer Journey

There are other touchpoints between your company and your customers. Next to appointments, the most noticeable are the customer service points, reception, a business' digital devices or screens, and payment points. It is vital that you offer direct and personalized customer service at each of these touchpoints, as they are highly influential on your customer's perception, which will ultimately create their customer experience.

You can also develop other touchpoints thanks to technology that allows you to contact customers directly using their smartphones or standard cell phones and even wearables, while always respecting the customer's privacy. You should only offer information that is of interest to each of your customers and is thereby another way of personalizing the customer journey for your customers. By strengthening the connection between your brand and your customer, you deepen the relationship.

Customer Journey Management Solutions

Any business that claims to offer the best customer journey must have a holistic and complete solution that structure, plan, and improve the customer’s experience at all touchpoints throughout the customer journey, such as the service, support, and communication. Your business will also benefit from having more information about customers' behaviors, which will help you make better business decisions and further develop a more customized service based on customer's needs.

If you are interested in learning more about Qmatic’s Customer Journey Management solution, visit our website or contact us for further information.

This article has been edited and was originally published by Anna Oom in 2020.

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