adesso Blog

Let's start with a clumsy example of a customer experience: Imagine the following scenario: As a tradesman, you order parts from an online shop that you need for your work and rely on the online retailer's promise that the delivery will arrive by date X. But the parcel not only arrives late, it also doesn't arrive at all. But not only is the parcel late, to everyone's surprise it doesn't arrive at all. On enquiry, it turns out that the products were no longer available at the time the order was placed. The reason for this is that this information was not correctly stored in the online shop and you were therefore not informed. As a result, the order cannot be finalised, which in turn leads to delays in other work. The result: You and your customers now share the economic loss, the annoyance of the delays and ultimately a poor customer experience across the entire sales channel and the touchpoints of their respective customer journeys (B2B/B2C).

Fortunately, companies today have all the technological and methodological options at their disposal to not only avoid such negative experiences, but even turn them into positive ones.

The customer experience as the most important differentiator from the competition

The digitalisation and globalisation of our world is making it increasingly difficult for customers to differentiate between the countless providers on the market. Prices, offers and even the appearance of many companies and products are too similar. This is why the customer experience is increasingly becoming the differentiating factor that determines victory or defeat in the battle for visibility and customer loyalty. Only those who master the game of reaching their customers at the right time with the right message or the right service, coupled with the necessary dose of personality, will be able to prevail against the competition. What other reason would there be to remain loyal to a logistics company, a supplier of certain components in production or a service provider for business software, for example, when everything has become so interchangeable? The answer is an outstanding customer-centred customer experience.

Customer experience - the company's joint venture

Customer experience is a joint task for all departments of a company and not an isolated endeavour in which the numerous touchpoints and different departments are optimised at random. The perfect orchestration of all those involved is crucial if the experience is to impress. Marketing, sales, service, logistics, accounting and many more must establish seamlessly interlinked processes in order to create a smooth and uncomplicated experience from the customer's perspective. Everywhere can be optimised, but not everywhere that can be improved must be improved, especially if the effects are marginal. The decisive factors are very specific interactions between the customer and the company, the so-called "Moments That Matter". These can be moments of gain, i.e. moments in which the customer's expectations are met or exceeded, or moments of pain, i.e. moments in which the customer's expectations are not met at all. Both moments are decisive for the economic success of a company and are reflected in sales or customer satisfaction figures. It is therefore important to become aware of precisely these moments in order to be able to use them to your own advantage. To do this, you first need to understand where and when these points on the customer's personal customer journey are located. Because only when the customer experience is aligned with the customer journey do you have the basis on which to derive strategy, measures and organisation.

Customer experience and customer journey - a brief explanation

The customer experience is inevitably closely linked to the customer journey. While the customer journey is more of an attempt to map all of a customer's interactions with a company in a structured process from initial contact to long-term customer loyalty, the customer experience focuses on the customer's emotional (and rational) reactions to each of these interactions.

Companies that want to provide a minimum satisfactory customer experience analyse and optimise their customer journey to ensure that each stage is designed to meet or exceed customer expectations and needs.

Customer journeys are as diverse as a company's customers

There are many different models in the literature and also in the application of the concept of the customer journey, all of which can be useful in their own context. Nevertheless, it is possible to agree on a rough structure of the customer journey.

Very roughly: before the purchase, during the purchase and after the purchase.

However, there is no rigid specification of what a customer journey should look like in detail. The number of individual phases can vary, and their individual length can be longer or shorter, or they can even be skipped altogether. In addition, customer journeys are not always linear, but can be iterative or change over time.

  • Ultimately, what the customer journey looks like in your company depends on many different dimensions.
  • For example, the type of product
    • Such as services vs. physical products, consumer goods vs. durable goods, software vs. hardware, long-lasting vs. short-lived products
  • The price sensitivity of customers
    • The decision to buy a roll of toilet paper or to invest in a photovoltaic system is worlds apart in terms of information procurement and decision-making
  • B2B vs. B2C target group
    • The sales structure Direct vs. multi-level

Generally speaking, the more complex and expensive the product, the more complex and longer the customer journey.

A possible categorisation into phases could be as follows:

How companies can marry the two elements "customer journey" and "customer experience"

The ultimate goal when developing customer journeys is to increase the number of satisfied customers while simultaneously increasing customer lifetime value. To achieve this, the customer journey must be as positive as possible. So what does a company need to do?

1) Define a vision and a mission statement in the context of the customer experience

As trivial as it may sound, this point is crucial for success and the direction of the next steps. Without a clear vision and mission, attempts at optimisation will come to nothing and lead to a loss of efficiency.

2) Define the current customer journey(s) and persona(s)

Depending on the number of products and the various buyer segments as well as the different sales channels, there can be a large number of customer journey(s). These need to be explored, categorised and prioritised in terms of their economic implications and potential. We are talking about the current state, the ACTUAL journeys.

3) Definition of the future, ideal customer journey(s)

The aim here is to think about the optimal customer journeys (TARGET journeys), which of course have to fulfil the feasibility aspect, but can still be outlined ambitiously. The balancing act between utopia and promising quick wins is one of the most complex aspects of this elaboration and requires many knowledge carriers in the company.

4) Analysing the "Moments That Matter

This is the core of the customer journey. The moments that really matter, which on the one hand decide whether a customer buys (again) and ideally even advertises your company, or on the other hand whether you lose this customer and in the worst case even speak badly about your company. As crucial as these points are on the customer journey, they often appear small and insignificant in detail (as in the initial example).

5) Derivation of optimisation measures

If you now superimpose the ACTUAL journey and the TARGET journey, you can quickly recognise where there is the greatest need for action in the customer journey. Taking economic aspects into account, it is now necessary to develop optimisation measures. The Moments That Matter, if they have been worked out properly, are the decisive cornerstones on which the measures can be sounded out. These must be moulded into a comprehensible roadmap.

6) Prioritisation and embedding in a roadmap

Structure is important! You will quickly realise that your current customer journey is far removed from your optimal journey in many respects. To prevent this from mutating into a suicide mission consisting of countless action items, structure and prioritisation are needed above all. A possible division into thematic streams could look like this

a. Systems/data

In this stream, which forms the technological basis of a profitable CX strategy, you should take a close look at the existing IT system landscape, analyse its architecture, identify weaknesses and systematically eliminate them - in close coordination with the specialist departments.

b. Change management and training

The mindset of doing everything for an excellent experience must be carefully and cautiously communicated to employees. If new CX systems (CRM, marketing automation, service, CDP, analytics) are added, those responsible must be trained, knowledge must be built up and this must be systematically passed on.

c. Organisation and processes

The changes in the company must be properly organised in order to run efficiently and as smoothly as possible. Working groups, steering committees, sponsors and product owners are just some of the structural requirements for the processes underlying the change.

d. Customer centricity

The previous streams were very inward-looking and focused on the technical, cultural and organisational aspects of the roadmap. The "customer centricity" stream is intended to counterbalance this and include initiatives that enable interaction with customers, obtain sentiment surveys, introduce NPS and CX surveys and use the results to continuously improve and adapt the other streams.

Conclusion: Dear customer, you really matter!

Now more than ever, companies need to be able to respond to the needs of their customers and offer them unique and highly personalised experiences. The technological prerequisites are in place, but buying tools alone without considering the overall context of customer experience management is as helpful as trying to drive a car without petrol. In both B2B and B2C, nuances can determine the success or failure of the customer experience, the so-called Moments That Matter.

With the experience gained from countless projects, adesso offers an end-to-end approach that helps companies to understand their customer journeys, identify their customers' needs and fully exploit optimisation potential. In doing so, adesso not only offers methodological support, but also technological advice on the selection of the right systems, their implementation and their successful introduction in the company. adesso works with all leading providers in the CX sector and knows how to take up the complex requirements of all industries and business areas and provide targeted advice.

Find out more about Customer Centricity at adesso

You can find more exciting topics from the world of adesso in our previous blog posts.

Picture Albert Bowinzki

Author Albert Bowinzki

Albert Bowinzki is a Senior Consultant in Customer Experience Management at adesso in Munich. Particularly in the project environment of data-driven marketing topics - including the selection of the right technologies and their implementation - Albert ensures that our customers can offer their customers an outstanding customer experience and optimise further business processes through data-driven decisions along the customer journey.

Save this page. Remove this page.