“Digital customer journeys is a very interesting area that creates opportunities to work with customer relations and interaction in a completely new way.”
Those are the words of Lisa Lundin, a PhD student in the Division of Industrial Management in the Department of Management and Engineering at LiU. Her interest in customer journeys arose during a marketing course in Canada, as a student. She has recently finished her research article on digitalising customer journeys in business-to-business (B2B) markets.
Digital touchpoints create opportunities
A customer journey is shaped by touchpoints, which can be described as all interactions between a customer and a supplier. Such touchpoints can be digital or physical, and some form of information is often exchanged.
Interaction via social media, digital systems or digital service platforms are examples of digital touchpoints. Digitalising the customer journey enables a supplier to monitor touchpoints; something that can be more challenging with a purely physical customer journey.
“Even though research shows that physical touchpoints are still important, B2B customer journeys increasingly consist of digital touchpoints. These enable better mapping of the customer journey. From a supplier perspective, this may provide input on where the customer journey can be extended, enhanced or supported.”
All these new opportunities that open up with digitalisation, and how digital technology can be used to influence touchpoints, actors’ roles and ultimately the whole process, is exactly what is exciting to Lisa Lundin.
“It’s fascinating how a supplier can work with the customers and that it’s possible to change and influence the way they interact. It’s possible to follow the customer from when they start thinking of buying something, through the various stages of the purchase process, to the actual usage of the product or service.”
Active or passive role – an important balance
Lisa Lundin outside the A-building at LiU. Photo credit Karin Midner Digital technology also makes it possible to find new ways of interacting with the customers during the customer journey, such as matching content to their needs, and depending on where in their journey they are.
“Customers can take an increasingly active role in digitalised customer journeys. This allows a supplier to deliver products and services in new ways and to benefit from customer knowledge through the customer journey. It all serves to improve their customer experience.”
But the supplier should not strive to have complete control of all touchpoints in the customer journey.
“Suppliers may need to think about where in the customer journey they need to engage more or less with the customer, that is, when should the supplier take a more active or passive role? It’s important to find a balance.”