Customer Journey, Lap of Honour or Instant Knock Out?

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‘All of our staff are engaged…  You are number 12 in line..  For your convenience, chose one of the following 5 options. Choose one of the following 6 options, etc, etc. Or stay on the line and wait for someone to help you.. lalalielalada.’


Sounds all too familiar? You can advertise as much as you can, Volvo, KPN, Ziggo, but if this is the first touchpoint with your organisation, then you will only survive when you have a monopoly. Or an organisation / institution with long lasting contracts like a G.P., a bank, a mortgage lender, etc.

Okay, let’s try the Chat function. Chat with ‘Annie’ the virtual assistant: ‘you mean that your mail program does not work?’ No, I have a start-up problem with my computer so I cannot email (dumb blonde bot). Who invents these responses?

Anytime someone tries to contact your organisation there is a ‘touchpoint’ or a ‘moment of truth’ for your organisation, as it is so aptly phrased in English.

By taking the role of your customers, you will encounter all of the touchpoints of your organisation. This exercise is also described as the ‘customer journey.’  So when did YOU last visit the company website? Or send a mail to your company? Or called in as a customer? Now tell me honestly, what is it that you’ve encountered?

By performing the ‘customer journey’ you will identify all of the problems your customers do, daily! But is that enough? When you call, do you really follow the ‘script’ of the journey each and every customer follows?

Take for instance a theatre visitor. (S)he may not be going because (s)he is triggered by a billboard, an advertorial, etc. etc. She may have been taken to the theatre by a friend.  In other words, the starting point of the script is not the same for everyone. But where ever it starts, it should work, always.

As there are many different visitors who have different starting points for the customer journey, you should know more about your customers. Are they young? Old? Man or Woman? Where do they live or work what do they want and what was their trigger for visiting a theatre? Sometimes you have to dig much deeper in order to get a complete picture of the customer journey. And what is the role of Social Media in all of this? Can you guess?

Guess what! IBM’s institute for business value analysis conducted a study into the use of social media, in organisations and among 1086 consumers. This study showed that there are a lot of misperceptions about the way consumers use social media. Organisations seemed convinced that consumers would use social media to learn about new products. However, this was not the primary reason for consumers, ‘new products’ scored only sixth place in a list.

Even larger was the difference in perception about discounts! The number one reason for consumers to use social media. Quite a difference from the 12th place companies had in mind!

And how about Customer Service? Companies rated this seventh place, customers rated it eighth place. I myself would have guessed Customer Service to in the top three issues!


Writing reviews came in third place, companies expected a fifth place. However, it is good to know that this was a study conducted in 2011, so perhaps results may be different now. Or not!

The Customer Journey is a good tool to visualize the processes and collaboration between the different departments. In the end this collaboration should make sure their customer is a happy customer, a customer who feels good about your organisation.

In the ‘header’ of this article you see a picture with smileys. At some point the smiley turns into a sad face. It is the face of an unhappy customer, buying a headphone. What happened? After ordering online, he received the headphone but it did not work when he took it out of the box.  Have a Look at the picture again and follow the trail of emoticons. You can see the sad face which, however turning into a smiley again, after contacting the customer service staff.

Interested to spar with me about the Customer Journey? Call me at +31-20-6400980.

Jan Mulder