Customer Journey Management: Comprehensive Guide

Customer journey management is a proven approach to delivering the seamless experiences your customers demand. Today, customers expect that their experience with your business will mimic those of customer experience (CX) leaders like Amazon, Google and Netflix. Anything less can lead to dissatisfaction and a likelihood of churn.


Although many organizations collect customer feedback, many fail to improve their CX scores. The reason is simple: Voice of the Customer (VoC) data is only measured in aggregate, by segment, or after isolated transactions within individual touchpoints.

It doesn’t enable you to understand and optimize individual customer experiences or measure their impact on business outcomes. And only a fraction of your customers are responding to your surveys.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to use customer journey managementjourney to achieve your CX and business goals. And you’ll learn how to organize your business around customer journeys. Then we’ll walk through seven high-impact journeys every business should measure and optimize.

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Optimize CX with customer journey management.

What is Customer Journey Management?

Customer journey management focuses on the journeys your customers take as they seek to achieve a goal, rather than optimizing single interactions at each touchpoint. It’s a shift in mindset that enables you to not only measure, monitor and optimize CX, but align your entire organization with your customers’ goals. And by using all the customer data you’ve gathered, experience orchestration allows you to create a customer journey across all channels of engagement. Customer journey management is used by customer-centric organizations to:

  • Identify the journeys that matter based on customer goals and business outcomes
  • Measure and monitor the in-journey signals that predict journey success
  • Orchestrate corrective actions when needed
  • Track journey success using journey success scores, and
  • Prioritize journeys that aren’t performing well for investment

Leading organizations are using customer journey management to improve customer experience, delivering value to both their customers and their organization.

The Value of a Journey Management Approach

The primary motivation behind the adoption of customer journey management is to improve your organization’s ability to deliver value to your customers. It’s the method by which customer-centric enterprises understand customer goals. And it helps them reach those goals as efficiently as possible.

Powered by this approach, you can ensure that each customer interaction reflects their unique journey context.

Satisfied customers will return value to your business. The key is to identify the experiences critical to obtaining that value and quantify their impact on business outcomes.

Yet, many enterprises struggle to directly link customer behavior to business outcomes. According to the latest “State of Customer Experience report, almost half (41%) of companies say they capture improvements in metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or customer satisfaction, but they aren’t sure how that information translates into revenue or costs.

Managing customer journeys provides you with the framework to orchestrate the experiences customers expect and influence the metrics and outcomes that matter most. A journey management program has four main benefits:

1. Optimize Customer Experience

Customer journey management enables you to provide customers with exceptional, consistent experiences no matter what goal they want to achieve and which channels they use throughout their journey.

CX leaders use customer journey management to measure, monitor and optimize their customers’ experiences. By continuously monitoring journey performance, you can identify which journeys or moments within the customer lifecycle need improvement. And you can prioritize each improvement by its potential impact on journey scores and other CX KPIs.

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Journey management is a closed-loop approach that helps journey owners determine how each action taken to optimize journeys affects CX metrics. Customer journey management software allows you to customize journey dashboards and monitor your progress in real time. This way, you can see if your improvements are yielding the desired results and iterate your tactics as customers engage with your organization.

2. Accelerate Digital Transformation

To meet evolving customer expectations and compete in today’s rapidly changing landscape, companies are focused on transforming outdated experiences and the underlying processes and systems that support them. Chief Digital Officers can use customer journey management to provide the simple digital experiences their customers crave, while minimizing costly and often frustrating human interactions.

Product owners can use journey management to answer complex questions like:

  • Are customers achieving their goals using digital products?
  • Which channels are the most effective for specific types of journeys?
  • At what point are customers leaking from digital channels into the contact center?
  • For which products do customers abandon digital options to speak with an agent?

3. Improve Customer Service While Reducing Costs

Transforming internal operations and decreasing costs associated with servicing customers is a top priority for every organization. Inevitably, some customers will leak from digital channels — or bypass them altogether — into agent-supported channels like chat and phone. Contact center leaders must understand why customers seek agent assistance and what goals they’re trying to achieve.

When supported by a customer journey management program, agents can see everything a customer has done outside of the contact center, as well as the journey or journeys they’re currently taking. This enables them to support customers more effectively and efficiently, reducing call center metrics like call time and repeat calls.

Monitoring journeys over time and across channels, including social media, allows customer service leaders to improve escalation management by isolating the cause of severe cases. They can determine how many other customers are experiencing the same issue and then mitigate those issues more efficiently to reduce costs.

4. Grow Revenue

Today, enterprises are more likely to win consumers’ hearts with experiences rather than products and services. Marketing leaders know it’s important to deliver differentiated experiences as customers or prospects shop and buy. However, most are challenged to do so.

If your organization is managing customer journeys, you have the capabilities to track acquisition journeys across channels. You can ensure that each interaction reflects the unique experiences consumers have with your business.

Similarly, marketing teams can use a journey management approach to expand revenue from existing customers by sending cross-sell or up-sell offers. Monitoring customer journeys and incorporating journey context allows marketers to present these personalized offers at the right moment for each customer and through the best channel.

Lastly, customer journey management makes it easy to monitor journeys and reveal the indicators of voluntary and involuntary customer churn. Organizations can use these actionable insights to increase retention by understanding which journeys lead to churn.

They can examine the root causes of CX issues and prioritize actions to optimize all stages of the customer journey.

The Customer Journey Management Framework

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Customer journey management encompasses three primary approaches to CX: journey mapping, journey analytics and customer journey orchestration.

Each approach helps organizations understand, create and improve customer experiences. These approaches are often combined to enhance experience design, generate journey insights and optimize journeys. This is the foundation of experience orchestration.

Here is a quick summary of the primary journey management capabilities and the three most frequently used ways to combine them.

  • Journey mapping is a way to visualize and communicate your customer’s experience across touchpoints and over time as they seek to achieve a specific goal.
  • Journey analytics is the science of analyzing customer behavior data across touchpoints and over time. It allows you to measure the impact of customer behavior on business outcomes.
  • Journey orchestration is a way to use each customer’s entire experience to inform and personalize interactions that will improve customer experience and drive desirable outcomes.
  • Journey insights are the quantitative and qualitative information that help you understand the behavior of your customers as they seek to achieve a goal.
  • Journey design is the process of defining the experience a customer has as they seek to achieve a goal and the interactions the company will take at each step to promote progress toward the goal.
  • Journey optimization is a closed-loop approach that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve the experience of each customer, so they can achieve their goal more efficiently.

Customer Journey Management and the Path to Experience Orchestration

Leading enterprises around the world are using customer journey management to improve customer experience, delivering value to both their customers and the organization. You can do the same by taking prescriptive steps that align your business around your customers’ journeys.

Here are three ways you can support a journey management program within your organization:

Manage Customer Journey Data

Customer journey management starts with the creation of a centralized source of customer journey data. Most organizations are drowning in customer data stored in isolated databases, centralized data warehouses and more modern customer data platforms. And they lack the integrated time-series data that provides the foundation for a journey management approach.

Integrated customer journey data enables real-time analytics, modeling and orchestration based on the behaviors customers exhibit across channels and over time. It eliminates the need for analysts to perform complex aggregations or transformations every time they need to answer a new question.

Adopting a customer journey data hub provides all parts of the business with the real-time data they need to help each customer reach their goal efficiently.

Measure Journeys Across Channels and Over Time

To improve customer experience, CX teams use customer journey analytics to measure the performance of each journey and the in-journey signals that predict success. There are a wide variety of in-journey metrics — like conversion, NPS, customer satisfaction, inaction, elapsed time and more — that should be evaluated to see which captures the key moments that predict success for each journey.

Journey success is captured through journey scores, which are based on end-of-journey metrics, such as satisfaction, completion rates, cost or effort scores. More CX leaders now rely on customer journey analytics software to measure, monitor and assess the performance of customer journeys.

Optimize Journeys to Help Customers Achieve Goals Efficiently

Traditionally, enterprises focus on improving interactions within specific touchpoints. But this neglects the actual journey your customers take across channels and over time. Customer journey orchestration is a way to use each customer’s entire experience to inform and personalize interactions that will improve customer experience and drive desirable outcomes.

It’s critical to understand each customer’s historical experience and current goals. Customer journey optimization is a closed-loop approach that uses AI and machine learning to improve the experience of each customer, so they can achieve their goal more efficiently. In recent years, CX and marketing professionals have adopted customer journey orchestration software as a preferred way to achieve journey optimization.

Combining journey data and customer journey measurement enables CX and marketing teams to prioritize actions that have the highest potential impact on both your business goals and your customers’ experiences.

Together, these three components of the customer journey management framework will enable you to make your customers happy and help your organization meet desired business outcomes.

5 Steps to Succeed with Customer Journey Management

Becoming a journey-centric organization starts from the top. Leaders must prioritize and organize the business around their customers and the journeys they take. Once company leadership has made the commitment, the real work begins.

Implementing an effective customer journey management program starts by realigning roles and responsibilities around customer goals. You should identify the journeys that matter most to your customers, define success metrics and map those metrics to key business outcomes.

1. Align Your Entire Organization Around Your Customers and Their Experiences

Every enterprise strives to be customer-centric or customer obsessed, but the key to achieving that level of customer centricity is to keep your organization focused on what matters most: your customer.

Many companies approach customer experience from a siloed lens, often implementing improvements to increase internal, function-specific metrics. For example, marketing prioritizes conversions, CX prioritizes NPS, contact center prioritizes first-contact resolution (FCR) and so on.

But your customer isn’t focused on conversion or FCR rates. They just want a simple, frictionless way to reach their own goals.

By aligning your entire business around your customer, their goals and the journeys they take to achieve them, you can better understand customer behavior and make more informed decisions about how to optimize CX.

When everyone across the organization is on the same page, it becomes easier to deliver the frictionless, connected and personalized experiences your customers expect.

More organizations are adopting customer journey management to align their people around journeys. The majority of high-performing organizations (68%) have a role or team dedicated to journey management, compared to 31% that underperform. Overall, 53% of organizations currently have a dedicated role or team, 10% plan to add one, and 19% have aligned existing roles/teams with a journey-based approach.

2. Make Sure Everyone Is Using the Same Definition of Customer Journey

The term “customer journey” is used so frequently these days that it’s difficult for some to remember what it really means. A customer journey is the sequence of steps a customer takes to achieve a goal that delivers value to themselves and the business.

Despite the best efforts of hundreds of software vendors and consultants, a customer journey is not:

  • A marketing campaign
  • A single interaction, such as completing a purchase or placing a support call
  • A set of sequential clicks, like opening an email, clicking a link, viewing a page and submitting a form
  • An internal process created by the company for the customer

In addition, customer journeys should not be defined by the length of time or even the channels involved. They vary depending on the customer’s goal.

Later in this post, I discuss seven types of customer journeys that every company should manage, monitor and improve.

3. Identify the Journeys That Matter to Your Customer

Customers can exhibit different behavior; no two customers take the same exact path across touchpoints. The key is to identify the goals your customers are trying to achieve, then align them with your organization’s goals.

For instance, the journeys a customer takes to renew or upgrade a service are critical to the success of a telecom provider striving to retain customers and maximize customer lifetime value. Initiating automatic loan payments may be a crucial journey for a financial services institution attempting to reduce the cost of collecting overdue payments.

Once you establish the goals that matter most to your customer and your business, identify the significant steps that indicate progress toward those goals. For instance, a mortgage journey encompasses several milestones, from assessing options to submitting an application to paying the first bill.

4. Define Success Metrics for Your Customers and Your Business

Measuring success always starts by putting your customer first. From their perspective, define what it means to achieve their goals. For a health insurance member, that may mean a new dependent, such as a spouse or a newborn, is officially insured. Or, a wireless customer may define success as restoring internet service after an outage.

First identify the KPIs, which act as signals or indicators along the journey that predict whether or not your customers are likely to achieve their goal. Some examples include the number of repeated steps, abandonment rate and digital leakage rate.

Next, define what success looks like for your customer and your organization. This is where internal metrics such as completion rate, FCR, cost to serve and others can be leveraged. Remember, these metrics should capture the value your customers want to get out of their journey and the company goals associated with it. They also play a role in helping you measure customer behavior and directly link CX metrics to the outcomes that matter most to your business.

5. Use Journey Scores to Align Customer Goals and Business Outcomes

Identifying your high-priority objectives will help you measure company success at the broadest level and crystallize what success looks like for your customer journey management program.

Take your customers’ goals, the success metrics you’ve defined and map those to their corresponding business outcome. Consider the key outcomes that will make your enterprise successful, such as average revenue per user (ARPU) or assets under management (AUM), retention rate and cost to serve. This way, it’s clear which journeys impact not only CX metrics, but the crucial outcomes your specific enterprise is measured by.

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For instance, enrolling in a chronic care management (CCM) program helps health insurance members begin a supportive treatment plan, but this journey also affects digital containment rates, cost to serve and Star ratings.

Cardholders disputing a credit card charge simply want the charge removed from their statement, but the journey they take to achieve this goal directly impacts more than digital containment rates and contact center metrics like first-contact resolution — this particular support journey has a direct influence on a financial institution’s retention rates and costs.

Customizable journey scores are the best way to combine customer and business metrics, so business outcomes are aligned with customer goals. Use journey scores to assess and monitor the impact of each journey, as well as identify and prioritize journeys that require improvement.

7 Customer Journeys Every Enterprise Can Measure and Optimize

To get started with a customer journey management program, there are seven critical customer journeys you can begin managing, monitoring and improving. Each journey, including the milestones, in-journey signals and success metrics, will vary depending on your customers and your business.

Here are seven journeys that matter most:

1. Learn, Shop and Buy

Your customer’s journey begins long before they actually become a customer.

As consumers learn about and shop for products, they are inundated with information about similar products and claims of better service and lower prices. A recent study found that 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.

To meet internal goals like net-new customers and cost per acquisition, enterprises must deliver effortless acquisition journeys that stand up to the best consumer buying experiences.

2. Setup

After completing a purchase, your customers want to quickly use your product or service. Whether they’re activating a new phone, understanding their insurance coverage options or setting up automatic bank deposits, delivering exceptional onboarding experiences must be driven by your customers’ desires and goals.

Onboarding is critical to the success of your customers and your business. Inconsistent, inefficient journeys can have a major impact on retention and revenue. Last year, more than 64% of banks reported lost revenue because of problems in their current onboarding journeys.

But too often, onboarding journeys are driven by internal processes, timelines and metrics, rather than the goals your customers want to accomplish.

3. Pay

Making a payment each month, or setting up automatic payments, should not be a painful process. Unpaid bills or late payments can seriously impact your organization’s cash flow, but difficult payment experiences can negatively affect your customers, too.

Encountering problems frequently can put customer satisfaction and loyalty at risk. Delivering a seamless, low-effort payment experience is essential.

4. Use

When your customers use your product or service, they get to enjoy the value you promised during the acquisition journey. Use journeys encompass many different customer goals, such as renewing a prescription, transferring funds or watching Netflix during their commute.

Engaging with your organization and using your product or service heavily affects metrics like engagement and usage, satisfaction and ultimately, retention.

Regardless of your customers’ goals or the path they take to achieve it, effective measurement of your key use journeys is important for improving CX and achieving desired business outcomes.

5. Support

While encountering issues is frustrating, the way you help your customers resolve their problems has a significant impact on their satisfaction. Great customer service is meaningful to customers. In fact, 31% American consumers say they’ve stopped doing business with a company after a negative customer service interaction.

This is a critical moment of truth; service journeys play a major role in your customers’ perception of your brand, their satisfaction and their decision to churn or remain a customer.

6. Change

Change journeys can include upgrading or downgrading a service, switching products or reward selections, and more. These journeys can be spurred by a myriad of lifestyle changes, such as moving from an apartment to a house, getting married or having a child.

When a customer changes their product or service, it’s an opportunity for your business to provide additional value and prove that you understand them. And often, it’s an opportunity to generate more revenue as well.

7. Leave

Across industries, churn rates hover between 20–25%. Even a small decrease in churn can save your business valuable revenue.

Identifying the journeys that drive customers to leave your business will inform your efforts to retain existing customers exhibiting signals of soft churn.

But when your customers are determined to leave, it behooves you to make their journey as easy as possible. Your customers will remember the effort required to “cut the cord” and companies that make the journey easy are more likely to win customers back in the future.

Achieving Success with Experience Orchestration

Every enterprise strives to deliver differentiated, exceptional customer experiences, but many struggle to put the pieces together to actually achieve that goal.

Data and analytics are a critical piece of the puzzle. But the reality is that today, companies have more data than insight and more insight than action. Adopting a customer journey management approach brings the puzzle pieces of data management, journey measurement and journey optimization together.