Unlocking tangible value: why quantifying the customer journey matters

Explore how to quantify the customer journey to drive human-centred strategies forward while also gaining buy-in and trust from organisational stakeholders.

Woman smiling and sitting in a chair holding a smartphone.
Woman smiling and sitting in a chair holding a smartphone.

Chris Robson

20 June 2024

4 min read

 

Try as we might, in a large corporate environment of reporting and gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, working across teams, etc., customer experience is not something that inherently comes front-and-center. Often times, we can get caught up in jargon and details that move us away from the point-of-view of everyday consumers.

But as we know, successful human-centered organizations are nothing without deep knowledge and understanding of the people they serve. So, the question we face is how can we create initiatives that support deep consumer understanding while also revealing tangible value that stakeholders can see, understand and buy-into?

Customer journey mapping is a great method to gain this deeper understanding because it reveals the true lived experience through the consumers’ eyes.  Journey mapping, or path to purchase mapping, identifies their moments of truth and pain points that consumers encounter along their purchasing journey, while also providing a glimpse into their thought processes. And if we couple this qualitative insight with a quantitative analysis, we would be able to identify the impact of those touchpoints and define and direct where exactly to invest in improvements that will tangibly affect that specific experience and lead to increased sales and satisfaction.

In this blog, we will explore how you can execute on this idea of quantifying the customer journey to not only drive forward your human-centered strategies, but also gain understanding and buy-in from your key stakeholders.

 

Quantifying the journey: the process

To understand how to quantify a customer journey, let’s take a very simple example. Imagine you are a producer of widgets, and that there is a net $10 profit on each one you sell. Let’s also assume that we know that on average you manage to sell to 40% of all people in the market for widgets.

What this means is that knowing nothing else, if there was a person in the market for widgets, you could assign a value to that person of 40% x $10 = $4.

So far, so good. But let’s say that you have a research area on your website, and that you find that 60% of people who do research on your site end up buying your widget. That means that the value of someone who you know has researched on your site is 60% x $10 = $6.

So, what does this mean for the value of someone who doesn’t research on your site? In order to answer that, we need a bit more information – specifically the proportion of people who choose to research on site. This gets a bit more complex, so let’s look at the diagram of the options:

 

This is called the Decision Tree and is a critical tool in determining value. You may be surprised at first that the value seems to go down when we travel down the ‘doesn’t research’ branch. This shows us the value of information. If we only know that an individual is in the market for widgets, we would value them at $4. If we also know that they have not researched on our site, then we can revise this value down to $3.78.

 

Quantifying the journey: the result

So, what does this tell us? This means that the act of someone choosing to research on your site is worth $6 – $3.78 = $2.22 to you. With this quantifiable information – many teams across an organization can use this to inform and justify future strategies and actions. For example, this information could be very important when we think about what investments you should make in developing the site and how much marketing you should invest in to get people to the site.

You are probably thinking that this got complex very quickly – and you would be right! Even a small number of journey decisions turns this into a very complex diagram. Fortunately, there are well-established tools and techniques that can work with these problems – such as Decision Theory and Bayesian Networks. We can use these techniques to overlay a client journey to provide a complete view of customer value, and how it changes as decisions and progress are made.

To help bring this to life further, let’s take a look at a few real-world examples. German chemical and consumer goods company, Henkel, wanted to gain a deeper understanding of consumer needs and emotions on all key touchpoints in the omnichannel journey. To accomplish this we first used an online research community and an in-person workshop to create a shopper journey map.

Then, through qualitative ethnographies and quantitative experience evaluation tracking, we were able to pinpoint and uncover specific ‘moments of truth’ for Henkel and were able to not only tell the story of these consumers but also put a tangible measurement to these moments of truth.

Another great example of this is through work we did with the Dutch appliance brand, Miele. For over 100 years, this brand has been known for quality and longevity, however, was seeing less traction among younger consumers. To gain a better understanding of their new and growing target, the brand sought to uncover moments of truth and use that knowledge to optimize their go-to-market strategy.

Similar to our work with Henkel, we started this project with launching an online community of users and non-users to explore the dimensions of their brand preferences, the customer journey as well as the go-to-market touchpoints.

The insights gathered in this study helped to develop a ‘laundry needs’ framework that provided key stakeholders with relevant inputs to communicate from a need-based perspective.

But these examples are just a few ways that journey work can drive value. The power and reach of customer journey mapping is expansive, if you know how to truly interpret that value. By coupling the qualitative and quantitative insights, you are able to inform and build impactful strategies that resonate with your customers.

Ready to discuss how to quantify your customers’ journey?

Let’s connect.