Journey Steps: A New Measurement Framework

The longest journeys begin with a single stepToday it’s unlikely that any member of a business would not know that customer journeys and customer journey analytics are table stakes. Most companies realize that competing on customer experience is essential to lead the market. With increasing demands from executives, customers, and even from employees to improve customer experience, your team needs a powerful strategy to prove ROI from CX investments. But none of this is easy. According to a recent Forrester report, “The Journey Measurement Framework: Assess And Predict Journey Performance,” customer experience professionals often don’t know whether the customer journeys they implement deliver actual value to customers. Business leaders struggle to understand gaps in the customer journey, and this means that building the business case to continue journey investments can be tricky.  To solve this, leaders need to implement a journey step focused measurement framework.


Data is the First Step 

You can show journey step data more easily than data in other formatsBusinesses have bucket-fulls of data, more-so than ever before. That data can be quite granular and transactional, as detailed as looking at every mouse click a customer makes, every character they type, and every individual word they write in a survey. The problem is developing a framework that can incorporate all of that data. CX leaders have NPS score data, Marketers have campaign attributions and interactions, Sales has to consider if their emails are being opened, and technology teams are being asked to link it all together.  The question becomes not “How can we get enough data” but rather how can we understand that data and put it to good use to understand and communicate performance. How can you get the most out of journey-level data? The answer is by using a journey step framework to measure and prove value.  


Journey Steps are Molecular Data

Journey steps are molecular data. Often made up of many parts. A journey step is to an interaction as a molecule is to an atom. Some molecules are complex, and some simple, but a molecule has properties that are different from its elemental components alone. The properties of interest in designing a journey step are those individual components and interactions together, not how each interaction works alone. When it comes to proving ROI on journey management projects, it is critical to have the right level of focus that journey steps can provide. These steps become the building blocks for journey mapping, orchestration, and measurement. By identifying the most critical steps in your journey, your business can deploy a common set of organizational metrics that allow you to measure journey success. 

So what is a journey step in practice? Some journey steps are made up of simple interactions, like downloading a white paper, or completing a form submission. Some are much more complex. A journey step could be made up of many interactions, all across different channels, leading to a specific conversion activity. When you consider journey steps, you should include only concrete-stable and well defined activities, rather than transient or ephemeral in-between states. Unlike an atomized view, where you look at every interaction, every touchpoint, and every piece of data, thinking about your data in journey steps allows you to focus on what matters. When you look at the journey step level view of data, you can see trends at a scale that matters. This solves the key challenge identified by Forrester in their report on Journey Measurement Frameworks, allowing you to look at the right level of data to build out valuable KPIs and measure success. 


Identifying Journey Steps

Discoverying the right journey steps to listen for is a critical process, like finding the perfect rock to skip in the streamWhen it comes to managing your customer journey, it’s important that you be able to visualize the relationships between disparate customer interactions. To do this, you need to pick the right journey steps that actually represent traction or advancement along the journey for your particular business. It is also critical that these steps should be benchmarks that make sense to your customer.

Even though the customer doesn’t see the journey step measurement framework, they will feel the impact that your thinking in concrete steps can have. A customer or employee should be able to feel a tangible difference between their experience before and after they complete a journey step.  Using this as a guideline, you can determine which critical triggering points you want to measure as representing a full step. 

Building a journey step measurement framework can be tricky, but it’s easiest when you have the customer’s end goal in mind. Your job is to align their end goal with a business objective, by making their next step the one you want them to take, while not taking away control. To determine how to design journey steps that get customers to your desired outcome, you may have to complete a process of journey discovery.  This provides a deep insight into how customers move through the journey, and what steps they tend to take. For example, if downloading a particular document generally leads to a higher conversion rate, then putting that document in the natural flow of customer interactions, can lead to greater success. Once you’ve identified what steps customers can take and which ones you want them to take it’s possible to tweak parts of the journey to optimize. 


Optimizing The Path To Customer Journeys Step By Step

We know that finding the right path for your customer journey isn’t easy, but with the right measurement framework in place, it can be that much easier.  One of the most critical aspects of customer journey management for business leaders just starting or well into the process, is proving value of journey improvements. By identifying the right level of data, it’s not only easier to compile reports, create presentations, and truly understand the business impacts of journey management efforts, it also allows for quicker optimization and time-to-test.  By making the journey digestible, journey steps actively drive further journey improvement and make it easier to get or keep buy-in from all levels of management.