When you consider the “customer journey,” what do you think about? Can you confidently plot a clear path to purchase, or are you more likely to question whether a standard customer journey can really exist?
In a recent TED talk, the head of MIT Media Lab Joi Ito urged us to become “now-ists.” He said that while we were all busy making plans, in every aspect of life, “the internet happened.” Spontaneity and collaboration have replaced predictability and linear planning.
This is certainly true of engagement and commerce in an omnichannel world. While the old customer engagement journey was clearer, new touchpoints and new types of engagements are creating different routes and sub-routes in the customer journey. Understanding the way that each customer engages is crucial, and the linear roadmap increasingly obsolete.
Customer journey: A winding road
Let’s think about the myriad of passive and active customer engagement types that can take place across multiple channels and devices:
Passive engagement points are usually those that stimulate awareness or consideration at the top of the funnel – browsing a website, clicking on a display ad, reading a social media post or opening a marketing email.
Active engagement points often take place closer to where awareness and preference convert to sales and loyalty – registering on the website, signing up for email newsletters, sharing and commenting on a social media post or actually buying a product.
In between, there will be a number of mini-engagement points that are more difficult to measure: reading a third-party article or participating in a conversation. All of these experiences build up the customer’s unique position of engagement with regards to an organization.
Consider a loyal customer of a mobile network. This customer has signed up to a number of loyalty schemes and receives email alerts about his favorite film and music news. How might he respond to a generic SMS trying to sell him a service he already uses (or would never want) via a different channel?
So what’s the answer, when striving to deliver the best experience for customers? There will always be certain customer engagements and psychological triggers that cannot be measured by an organization. But taking a real-time approach based on listening and learning will allow the customer journey to be plotted with the customer firmly at the heart – to provide a relevant, contextual and personalized experience.