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How to Manage Customer Journeys

How to Manage Customer Journeys

Elizabeth Crouch
By
Elizabeth Crouch

There are two mega shifts happening in the world of online business.

First, consumers now expect a relevant, contextual customer experience, delivered seamlessly across channels and devices. They want an ongoing, meaningful relationship with brands.

Second, the number of applications, systems, databases, channels, and analytics necessary to deliver and improve that seamless customer experience has exploded. As more businesses make the shift toward digital operations and a subscription-based economy, managing customer relationships has become a complicated technology problem.

That’s why customer journeys are the essence of managing customer relationships.

Here at Usermind, we work with clients across the full spectrum of customer journey maturity, from companies who are just getting started thinking about customer experience to companies who have already bought or built a Customer Engagement Hub to orchestrate seamless experiences across systems and channels.

Regardless of where your company falls on the curve, here is a five-step process for how to get started managing customer journeys:

1. Customer Journey Exploration

Before you dive into journey mapping, it’s important to take stock of current challenges with your existing systems and processes, and determine the key metrics and ROI for your plan. Since the customer journey is often a cross-functional initiative, get the appropriate stakeholders involved in the initial planning phase.

Before mapping the journey, you should have a clear picture of the business objectives, internal systems involved, current challenges, key business outcomes, and desired ROI.

2. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is essential to managing customer experience. To understand the customer journey, most companies start with a map based on current customer experiences. While you may not have a complete picture of your customers’ multiple end-to-end journeys, it’s likely that you have relevant data in systems like your CRM, marketing automation platform, and other customer-facing systems. Use data where you have it — in channels and systems — to inform the stages of your customer journey map, based on evidence from existing customer experiences.

Once you have an idea of your current journey, you can map out the new experiences you’d like to build. When we help our clients operationalize new journeys, these are the questions we ask:

  • Who is the customer?
  • Why is the customer buying?
  • When do customers want your products or services?
  • What information does the customer need?
  • Through which systems and channels does the customer interact with the company?

Here is an example of a customer’s journey map for an online free trial.

Journey map for online trial optimization

3. Building Connected Records of Customer Data

To get a single, 360-degree view of your customers, data must be integrated from all of your systems and channels, and mapped across all systems into a unified record. To orchestrate journeys, you have to know where a customer is across all of your systems and what communications have taken place.

Leading-edge companies aggregate and define this data in a single view with a Customer Data Platform (CDP) like the one in Usermind’s Customer Engagement Hub.

If you’re at a stage where you’re still not ready to build or buy a CDP, don’t worry — your path to managing customer journeys doesn’t stop here. You can still orchestrate pieces

of your customer journey within your CRM, marketing automation, and other systems. Even with partially connected records of customer data, you can move onto the next step: orchestrating customer journeys.

4. Customer Journey Orchestration

Working with clients of our Customer Engagement Hub, we’ve established best practices for orchestrating customer journeys.

  1. Baseline your journeys.  Take stock of your existing customer journeys, and benchmark your customers’ current behaviors, conversion rates, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), success metrics, and indicators that customers are getting stuck or churning.
  2. Build stateful journeys that measure both action and inaction. Most workflow engines run triggers off a customer activity, like downloading a whitepaper. But ideally, companies need the ability to orchestrate complex journeys based on complicated, omnichannel signals — including customer inaction or abandonment of the product or service.
  3. Personalize journeys based on behavior. Segmentation based on simple demographics or one point of behavior just won’t cut it in an omnichannel world. New-school personalization provides promotional offers or content based on historical data, current status, and end-to- end customer experience — a customer’s full journey leading up to the current touchpoint.
  4. Pick an orchestration system that supports multiple types of rules. Usermind supports manual rules (triggered off a current customer interaction), threshold rules (based off usage, latency, and other historical context leading up to the current interaction), and machine learning–driven rules (models built on aggregate customer behavior, churn models, and next best action models).
  5. Build end-to-end experiences, with seamless handoff between teams and systems. To accomplish this, all your systems should be integrated, and business logic should span systems.

5. Customer Journey Optimization

Customer journeys aren’t static, cookie cutter processes. To provide seamless customer experiences at scale, you have to continuously test and optimize touchpoints, messaging, and processes. Customer journeys are iterative; it’s important to try new processes, analyze the results, and adjust accordingly.

Want a more in-depth look at the process of managing enterprise customer journeys? Check out the full whitepaper here — How to Manage Customer Journeys: Optimizing Customer Experience Across Touchpoints and Channels

To see how Usermind can help you connect customer data, orchestrate omnichannel journeys, and align your entire enterprise on customer experience, request a demo here.

Elizabeth Crouch
Elizabeth Crouch
Senior Marketing Manager at Usermind

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