What is the customer journey? Why is it important? What can it tell you about your customers and your company? 

Why Journey? 

Each day, businesses are seeing the benefits of strong customer relationships with greater clarity, adjusting their communication processes to meet specific customer needs. They are beginning to understand the importance of an engaging, personalized customer experience, refining their systems accordingly.  

Customer Communications Management (CCM) has become the universal method of enhancing every customer touch point – including bills, letters, or simple phone calls – by combining customer data and customer communication tools into one. Many have heard of this, but still have not utilized its full potential. 

Where many fall short is in the long-run. You can create a compelling one-off document to please a customer for a day, but this does little for the big-picture relationship. Delighting customers is a competitive practice beneath the surface, and winning the small battles is only worth it for the string of victories that result in turning the customer into a full-fledged brand advocate.  

Your company is probably doing research on which services and products would most appeal to your customer base. Why not do the same for the communications you deliver as well? That's where the Customer Journey comes in. Now you can create a customer communication road map – like your product road map – and actually see how your customers move through the Customer Journey. 

This is the world we are ushering in: one where the importance of your services and your communications become one and the same.  

The full extent of customer engagement is no better represented than by emerging Customer Journey technology. The intention behind Customer Journey is to leverage the unprecedented connectedness of today – not only to meet customer needs as they progress, but to track the entire history of the customer relationship, allowing companies to learn more about their base and discover where they can improve.  
 

Every Journey Needs a Map

It comes down to this: what do you want customers to do, really? What is your goal? Once you have that, then map out all the different checkpoints you expect a customer to pass through along their journey to the goal, creating a sort of mold for future customer interaction. When customers do take action, you can make adjustments to the journey based on what they actually did. This will serve to inform your ideal customer journey through the years on an individual basis, while also allowing you to more specifically categorize customers by their habits and preferences.  

Another important factor of CCM is the effort to limit company silos by turning customer communications into its own universal silo. Different departments send out different communications: marketing promotions, newsletters, bills, and statements sometimes don’t all come from the same place, which can make for a disjointed customer experience. Nobody wants their invoices to look as though they were designed by different companies.  
 

Journey with Us! 

Once you understand why the customer journey is growing more and more critical to the customer experience, the only question is how. How do you implement the customer journey into your existing marketing plans? Customer Communications Management (CCM) and Customer Engagement Management (CEM) are constantly evolving to create the most personalized, engaging customer experience, and the customer journey is becoming a key part of that. Many businesses are already seeing the advantages of better communication with CCM alone, but the customer journey brings that all together, for real, measurable reward.  

This is a significant phase in our own journey, as we at Ecrion prepare to unveil the customer journey mapping tool, part of the Customer Engagement Management module. Join us over the next few weeks as we dive deeper into journey mapping, the customer engagement process, responding to customer feedback, and adjusting to customer preferences.