How Do You Optimize A Customer Journey In A Customer-Centric World?

With the explosion of digital, businesses have started measuring performance on increasingly granular levels. Open rates, click-thru, time-in-app, conversion.

But this strategy misses the point because it doesn’t account for what the customer set out to accomplish. Customer journeys are about improving the outcome, not the touchpoint. Because the reality is, you can get the touchpoint right and totally miss the mark on the journey.

We view the world as a series of discrete customer journeys -- each of them customer-defined, rarely linear, and increasingly complex. Optimizing your business for the journey outcome is critical to competing in the age of the customer. The companies that do this at scale are the ones who will dominate markets.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”


To win customers for life, you need to treat each customer holistically, understand their individual journey, and help them achieve their goals.

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the series of steps a customer goes through to accomplish a specific goal or outcome. For example, when a customer is approved for a credit card, they begin an onboarding journey. The customer’s goal is to be able to easily use their credit card and the business’s goal is to drive credit utilization, reduce churn, and increase digital adoption. But to achieve both outcomes the customer needs to create an online account, activate the card, make their first purchase, and set up billpay. Without any of these steps, the journey will fail. But when they all come together successfully, you have a customer who can achieve what they set to do and a line of business who is making progress on their strategic business metrics.

Why do customer journeys matter?

Customer journeys are the vehicle for understanding what the customer is trying to accomplish when they interact with a business. In today’s increasingly customer-first market, delivering successful customer journeys is critical to growing and retaining customers.

of customers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience

PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18

In our customer-first world, customers expect the best. Every time.

How do customer journeys impact my business?

The good news is customer goals are typically aligned with business goals. In the same way a customer wants to be able to use a credit card, the credit issuer wants a new customer who is digitally active, has auto-bill pay setup, and is actively making charges on their card.The most impactful part of journeys is not in mapping out or understanding each step of the journey; it’s in optimizing journeys and the way you interact with customers to improve business and customer outcomes.By doing these two things together, you can deliver experiences that customers love and foster customer relationships that are happier, more loyal, and more profitable.

Learn How Optimizing Customer Journeys Transform Business Outcomes:



Cost Reduction


How is this different from what I’m doing today?

Shifting from Journey Mapping to Experience Orchestration

Journey mapping has risen to prominence over the past 20 years as a tool to better understand the steps of a journey and how customers feel along the way. But most journey mapping initiatives are waterfall processes that result in dozens of mapped journeys that end up in a desk drawer. If they are used, they quickly fall out of date as the underlying processes, channels, and technology continue to evolve. Journey maps provide a moment-in-time conceptual snapshot of what a journey looks like, but they fall short of providing data-driven insight into where customers are experiencing friction and dropping out.

The difference between campaigns and journeys

Many organizations believe they are delivering journeys, but what they actually mean is they are automating campaigns. The fundamental difference is the incorporation of historical context and an awareness of where the customer came from, where they are going, and the goal they are trying to accomplish. For example, an up-sell campaign might be a part of an onboarding journey, but it is not the journey itself. It is a series of interactions that rolls up to a customer successfully being onboarded, but it executes over time and is generic for each customer. A journey-centric approach requires an awareness of where an individual customer is in their journey and an activation of the most relevant reminder, interaction, or campaign to guide them through their journey.

Adopting a journey-aligned operating model

The enterprises that have realized the benefits of journeys have begun to shed channel-centric goals and adopted a journey-centric approach to client management. This means moving from a place where your company is focused on improving department-level or channel-specific metrics to aligning behind the primary business metrics of the journey itself. We are seeing this come to fruition in industries with long-lived customer relationships and significant complexity like banking, wealth management, and insurance. Our bold prediction is that in as little as 5 years, every business will have adopted this next-gen operating model.

[This] involves a shift from running uncoordinated efforts within siloes to launching an integrated operational-improvement program organized around journeys.”

McKinsey & Company

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