3 reasons why customer journeys are the key to better experiences and profits

Here's how taking a holistic look at customer journeys can help your organization drive better experiences and higher revenue.

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Organizations that want happier customers should look holistically at the entire customer journey. It’s not enough to target individual touchpoints for improvements. Marketers need the big picture when it comes to customer experiences.

“The ability to focus on customer journeys and reorient your organization around customer journeys is the great ‘unlock’ for companies that are struggling, perhaps, to make progress with their customer experience scores and their programs,” said Joana de Quintanilha, VP, principal analyst at Forrester at The MarTech Conference.

Here are three big payoffs for organizations that decide to embrace a journey-centric approach.

1. Customer journeys focus on what your customers really want

Looking at the entire customer journey provides organizations with more information and insights about the customer’s intent. That’s because all the individual actions that customers take are now seen in context within the entire journey.

“What are they trying to do, what are they trying to get done?” asked de Quintanilha. “[Customer journeys also provide] the context, the touch points, the channels, the location that they are in as they are trying to accomplish these goals.”

Additionally, marketers can gain insights into the emotion behind those interactions by measuring the level of engagement and sentiment.

“Bringing context and emotion together really helps us to understand and focus on what customers really want and to use that to deliver both customer-related and business results,” said de Quintanilha.

As an example, ING Financial Services used a journey-centric approach to learn more about both B2B customers and consumers. In some cases, customers were opening a bank account as an end goal to transfer money. But in many cases, there were also secondary needs stemming from the new account, such as paying taxes.

When bank accounts were opened online, some of these secondary needs weren’t being met. So ING found that it could make more customers happy, and spot more business opportunities, by meeting these secondary needs with the digital experience. These opportunities wouldn’t have been discovered without a journey-centric approach.

2. Customer journeys can lead to higher revenue and reduce costs

Focusing on the entire journey lets organizations streamline processes and make them more efficient. Forrester research found that better customer journeys can improve customer advocacy 20% to 40% and reduce costs by 15% to 25%.

“We see that companies are using ‘journey-centricity’ to acquire customers, but also to upsell, to cross-sell and to drive retention, loyalty and customer lifetime value — so really, across that entire relationship with the customer,” said de Quintanilha.

For example, Nissan drove higher customer retention by focusing on seven key journeys and 55 moments of truth across digital and physical locations. When customer journeys are improved, organizations can drive higher revenue — 10% to 20%, according to de Quintanilha.

Dig deeper: 4 critical platforms to support customer journey orchestration

3. Customer journeys can disrupt your business and operating model

It might seem counterintuitive, but disrupting your business or operating model might help your customers, and their experiences, in the long run.

“Traditional operating models are, in general, very functional, but not always designed to deliver great experiences to customers and partners and suppliers,” de Quintanilha said.

In the case of food delivery orders, the customer experience has seen a transformation with food delivery apps. A pizza might be made by an independent restaurant and delivered by a third party. The customer service for the ordering app might be managed by another entity.

This transformation gives customers more convenience, but if there is a breakdown in the experience, it can be difficult to pinpoint due to the multiple parties involved. This is why organizations need to look at the whole customer journey and make sure that silos are broken down so that teams that were traditionally separate are working together for the sake of the customer.

“A customer on a journey doesn’t care if you belong to a marketing function, or IT, or product development or digital,” said de Quintanilha. “It’s just a person trying to get something done, trying to accomplish a goal, sometimes a very functional goal, sometimes a more aspirational, more complex goal. We need to rationalize things within our own organizations and create links — bridge silos — within our own organizations in order to deliver better experiences.”

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About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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