Measure Your Customer’s Entire Journeys, not just the Touch Points

Have you had a great customer experience? One you really enjoyed – a flawless purchase of a car, a fantastic trip, or a great B2B partnership? Now think of the opposite – a cell phone provider who frustrated you, a business partnership gone sour.

What made the difference was not an individual touch point, such as a call center or website. Instead, it was the overall journey – the process of purchasing the car went well, or the upgrade to a new phone caused far more trouble than it was worth. Individual touch points contribute to the experience, but it is the accumulation that matters.

See the Larger Pattern

Your customer experience is a journey. But too often, we manage it like a series of touch points, without looking at how these touch points fit together.

And herein lies our customer experience challenge. It is easy to measure website satisfaction or the customer service skills of a call center rep. We do this regularly. But what if your customer looks at your website for information, can’t find it, then calls your rep? How do you measure this entire interaction? The rep may do a fabulous job of handling the complaint, but the journey was a failure.

Similarly, typical breakdowns in B2B journeys occur in the hand-offs. Life is good in sales, but implementation doesn’t provide what sales promised, and customer service can’t find any documentation. How do you discover this with traditional transactional satisfaction questions?

You need to measure the overall customer journey, because that’s what matters.

I was reminded of this by an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review. The authors document how increased satisfaction with a journey, as opposed to touch points, translates to business success.

While they may not have intended it, the authors are really speaking to our customer experience industry. Less mature organizations focus on touch points, because these are easy to measure. But it’s time for us to start measuring and optimizing the overall journeys.

Driving Change

Fortunately, leading companies have started to realize this. I have had literally dozens of conversations lately with companies who are starting to map and measure their customer journeys. They realize that they find their best improvement opportunities by studying the journey as a whole. As the article states, “those that want to transform the overall customer experience need to simultaneously create a detailed road map for each journey.” It also argues that journeys are “20% to 30% more strongly correlated with business outcomes [than touch points], such as high revenue, repeat purchases, low customer churn, and positive word of mouth.”

So, how do you get started? By creating Customer Eco-System Map (next weeks’ topic) and following those up with Customer Journey Maps.  The Eco-system Map provides the inside-out view, whereas the Customer Journey Map starts with your customer’s view – both are critical to target your development.

6 replies
    • Jim Tincher
      Jim Tincher says:


      Thanks! You raise a great question. There’s a blog post around this question that I’ve been noodling for a while, but haven’t formalized yet.

      Unfortunately, there’s no “right” way to measure emotional impact. It really depends on the specific customer experience you’re looking to measure. Using the example of the doctor’s office, there are two different ways to do it.

      The first is the “easy” way. That’s to use existing metrics, such as Satisfaction, likelihood to recommend, etc., and see how they change through the journey. There’s nothing wrong with this, particularly if you’re measuring multiple types of experiences, and want to see how each impacts the number. This is easily the most common way, when it’s done at all – measure how the metric changes. In my white paper’s doctor’s office example, we measure satisfaction to see how it changes as somebody goes through the experience of scheduling a physical. (see

      But if you really wanted to understand the emotional impact, I would use something more personal – perhaps anxiety, or confidence in the doctor’s office. These can’t be applied as universally, but they really speak to what the doctor is trying to do – reduce a patient’s anxiety, or see how they feel about the doctor overall.

      How to do this? If you want to measure the touch points, I’d use some sort of journaling – either literally, or through a mobile app.

      But if you want to understand how the experience impacted the customer long-term, then I’d use an ongoing relationship survey, and see how the scores move when there’s an appointment. Do you see an overall downward trend on “confidence in my doctor” through the year, but a spike back up after a physical? Perhaps one location never sees that spike – that probably bears investigation.

      Does that help?

    • Jim Tincher
      Jim Tincher says:

      Deshika, as much as I hate this answer, it really depends on the change you’re trying to drive that leads you to conduct the journey mapping. In our survey of journey mappers (, we found that almost 2/3 did not rate their journey mapping effort a success, largely because it didn’t drive change. That’s the ultimate measurement of a journey mapping initiative – do you drive change based on the results?

      Initial measurements are around the level of engagement within the company, perceived commitment to change, and number of ideas generated. But the ultimate answer is whether the business problem that led you to do the mapping (e.g., customer churn, upsells, or new customers) is resolved.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] are two similar though substantially different journey maps from Heart of the Customer.  They beautifully illustrate how this continuum can reflect shorter and longer customer paths. […]

  2. […] are two similar though substantially different journey maps from Heart of the Customer.  They beautifully illustrate how this continuum can reflect shorter and longer customer […]

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