The customer journey is a matter for the boss

In recent years, managing the customer journey has become a strategic management task and therefore a matter for the boss. Used correctly in the context of digitization, customer journey management can achieve substantial increases in efficiency.


When it comes to customer centricity, customer journeys are the melting pot of all disciplines and perspectives. It is striking that initiatives around the customer journey in everyday business are initiated and managed mainly by individual departments such as marketing, sales, IT or service. For example, the aim is to create positive customer experiences or generate more new customers. Despite considerable initial successes, such inadequately supported projects often come to a standstill. How can they be prevented?

1. promote cross-divisional cooperation

In order to create positive customer experiences, companies must design the customer journey holistically. In addition to purely technical elements, content-related, process-related, and organizational elements must also be coordinated. This diversity of topics can easily result in an extensive change project. However, customer journey management can only really succeed if employees work together across all departments and hierarchical levels. Silo thinking stands in the way of success. Active engagement of senior management accelerates the entire process and motivates employees.

2. define organizational framework

Does everyone have the same understanding? Often, the confusion already starts with the terminology within the company. Different perspectives on the topics of customers, touchpoints, and customer journeys reveal an almost Babylonian state of affairs. IT works with personas for the digital journey, marketing addresses different types of advertising target groups, and product development works with industry association segmentation.

Each department pursues different purposes with its approach, such as customer experience management or marketing automation. It is easy to forget that all departments actually interact with the same customers - or at least try to. Tasks, competencies and responsibilities must be regulated within the company. For the development of customer journeys, for example, it must be clarified in advance:

  • For which market development processes and/or target groups should customer journeys be created?
  • Where do customer journeys begin and where do they end?
  • Which off- and online touchpoints are included?

3. provide basis for decision

It is a well-known fact that only what is measured can be managed and improved. Measurable touchpoint management with a 360-degree view of (potential) customers objectifies and provides decision-making certainty. At the same time, it increases the approval for directional decisions. Accordingly, it should be clarified, among other things: - who is responsible for a valid, holistic mapping of the customer journeys in the company; - with which performance targets, performance indicators and methods the success control is implemented.

4. develop a common understanding of the customer

Inside view is not equal to customer view! "What do you think: What are the ten most important touchpoints in the customer journey for your customers when they buy your or a comparable product?" We have been asking our customers the top 10 question for years as part of our touchpoint management process to capture the operational view. From the many surveys and workshops we have conducted, we have now amassed a considerable collection of inside-out perspectives. Invariably, managing directors, specialists in marketing, sales, media, communications or service have responded to this and created a list of the most important touchpoints, with more or less gut feeling and expertise.

To put it in a nutshell: The comparison of the operational view with the customer view (outside-in) is often sobering. On average, only six out of ten touchpoints that are most important to customers are guessed correctly. The order has never been right. The perceptions differ greatly depending on the area or specialist department. The following activities, among others, are helpful:

  • Create a uniform understanding of customers within the company based on validated customer journeys;
  • determine which touchpoints should be used to optimally cover the customer journey;
  • Identify Pleasure Points (Positive Customer Interactions) and Pain Points;
  • Define and prioritize specific areas for action.

The author: Christoph Spengler is founder and managing director of Accelerom, an internationally active consulting and research company based in Zurich. For more than ten years, Accelerom has been combining management practice and innovative research and supporting clients from analysis to implementation. Everything revolves around the customer's perspective and his customer journey in marketing, sales, communication and services - always holistic, always measurable, always with impact and profitability in focus. Christoph Spengler writes regularly in the print edition of Werbewoche. This article was already published in the current Werbewoche 12/2018.

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