The goal: a seamless customer journey

Behind the term is an extensive process with numerous exciting touchpoints or points of contact. The process begins as soon as customers perceive the brand or company for the first time. The touchpoints are diverse and range from classic and digital advertising to product recommendations and product perception on the store shelf. A visit to the website or an interesting newsletter article is also an effective touchpoint. Several phases take place before a decision to buy a product or service is made. At the beginning there are first points of contact with the brand or the products. Customers inform themselves and compare the product features with their own wishes and needs. Other factors such as the presentation of the company, an uncomplicated purchase process and a suitable customer approach influence the customer journey. The time it takes to make a purchase decision varies and can take minutes or weeks. The model can be used to develop tailored, user-centric strategies in marketing, e-commerce or customer service. So-called touchpoints arise throughout the process not only online, but also offline. Therefore, the customer journey is not limited to individual departments, but must be viewed holistically.

Tracing the "customer journey" for an optimal customer experience

Successful companies closely analyze the path to the purchase decision. Customer journey mapping (CJM) helps capture this journey from the customer’s perspective. All experiences and perceptions are described and tracked as closely as possible. Touchpoints such as communication and marketing channels, keywords and content are assigned to the individual phases of the customer journey and documented. A benefit is then derived from the customer-focused tracking with the aim of positively influencing the purchase decision. Only if the experiences are almost exclusively positive will a purchase be made. Long waiting times for orders, a non-functioning or unclear website and unaesthetic advertising or advertising that is not tailored to the target group can lead to a premature end to the customer journey. The customer journey map visualizes the interactions within the phases. In the awareness phase, the products are perceived and, ideally, are remembered for a longer period of time. Increasing interest is characteristic of the Favorability phase. Customers inform themselves about product details and properties. In the Consideration phase, all product features are compared in more detail as a purchase is considered. Opinions and comments on rating platforms influence the purchase decision positively or negatively. When the purchase decision is solidified, the product is ordered (conversion). Other models do not view the customer journey as complete at this point, but as a recurring cycle. After sales services can lead to further purchases in that case. The process varies by industry and service offering, which is why companies use their own templates or visualization tools.

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Importance of Customer Experience Management (CEM/CXM)

For a successful customer focus, companies need optimal customer experience management. All measures for controlling the customer experience are hidden behind the term. Ideally, all interactions and processes along the buying process are customer-centric. In addition to the individual touchpoints, emotions such as expectations, loyalty and trust are included. The goal of customer focus is long-term customer loyalty through maximum satisfaction. To understand the influencing factors, they must be made measurable. Target achievement, customer satisfaction and task fulfillment are the three sub-areas that can be measured by means of key figures. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicates whether customers would recommend the company to others. Feedback forms and reviews also provide information about customer satisfaction. Intuitive website design, optimal technical functionality, appealing design and powerful customer service are important aspects of task fulfillment. Apps and websites should work flawlessly. Page views, dwell time and interactions are measured with analytics tools. The third area of target achievement is shown in a comparison with the target figures. Increasing sales figures, long-term customer loyalty and high customer satisfaction are important targets.

The marketing term Customer J ourney, also called Buyer’s Journey or Users Journey, defines the individual phases that a customer goes through before deciding to buy a product or service and beyond. As an optimal tool, customer journey analysis can perfectly align communication and user experience with individual touchpoints to meet the needs of your different target groups.

With customer experience management, a company controls and orchestrates customer interactions. With coordinated measures, CEM pursues the goal of improving the customer experience via the contact points (touchpoints) and creating memorable experiences. In developing and designing a comprehensive customer experience, you will secure a competitive advantage and unique market differentiation in the future.

Customer journey mapping describes the way of working within customer experience management, i.e. the complete customer journey to the product. In doing so, you look at your company from the customer’s perspective and can better understand the customer relationship. This visualizes in detail the entire customer journey map represented by specific personas.