3 critical steps to crafting the perfect customer journey

Designing a good customer journey can be tricky given that the lack of linearity present today in the purchase pattern. Yet, many marketers are still trying to find that holy grail of pinning down where the customer is in the purchase process.

In fact, during Marketing‘s Customer Experience conference, Parijat Priyadarshini, head of loyalty business consulting of Asia at Aimia, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company said:

Customer journey was the most overused term last year.

In today’s world where data is king, Priyadarshini said there are three steps that brands can consider in creating a good customer journey. These are: Relevant customer segments, relevant touchpoints, followed by the right value exchange.

In a nutshell, this three-step concept can help you better curate customer journeys from customer data. She added that as the recipient of the experience is a customer, the beginning point of the journey mapping should ideally come from customer identity.

“What we do as a part of customer journey design is, start with a segmentation exercise,” she said, adding:

If we get the customer segments right, we get their unique needs, challenges and preferences. The segmentation ideally needs to be based on profile, demographic, and behaviour data.

Priyadarshini said marketers should create different segment of customers based on their objectives as well as customers’ needs. In this segmentation process, questions marketers should ask themselves include:

  • What/Who are my segments?
  • How are they different or similar?
  • Which of these segments do I want to focus my investments on?
  • What behaviour modification would I like to encourage in each segment?’

Secondly, marketers need to find out what a critical touchpoint is for each segment before coming up with a strategy in targeting them. They should note that the touchpoint list could be slightly different for each segment, Priyadarshini added.

Steven Ladd, Aimia’s lead of loyalty business consulting for Asia, added that not all touchpoints are important or relevant to all segments.

“It is critical that marketers conduct a follow-up with test-and-learn to measure touchpoint efficacy,” he said.  He added that marketers should identify the comprehensive list of touchpoints needed, and that can be leveraged for the targeted interaction.

Lastly, Ladd added marketers have to realise that each touchpoint is an opportunity for a “value exchange” and getting the math right is key to making a profitable journey. Value exchange here refers to the investment that a brand makes on a touchpoint in anticipation to the return it expects.

“What you are getting and what you are giving for each touchpoint needs to be measured,” he added. Brands should ask themselves questions such as:

  • How critical is the touchpoint and what value do I invest?
  • What is the financial impact I am anticipating from this and what does it mean in terms of human versus automation?

On deciding whether to use human versus automation as a touchpoint, Ladd explained:

If you’re going to invest into, let’s say a chatbot, think about the financial impact you’re foreseeing on this and your timeline.

Take the example of a hotel business: marketers can’t possibly choose automation at the reception as personal interaction and contact is essential. However, it can create an app to provide other services such as room service – but other aspects still require a human touch.

Therefore, Ladd added, figuring out the right balance is key in deciding what and how much to invest on those identified touchpoints.

That said, Priyadarshini added, in creating a good customer journey – brands should always bear in mind that a journey is unique to each customer, and the genesis of a journey map is the customer insight.

If you have a limited budget and don’t know where to start, your best bet is to always begin with data.


(Photo courtesy: 123rf)

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