Fifty digital enthusiasts tucked themselves into The Green Door in Durban to discuss ‘Design Thinking’ and ‘User Experience’ at our latest edition of Digital Swarm. During the evening, we discussed the importance of the digital customer journey… We found that the journey isn’t about point A and point B – the experience between points A and B was where we needed to focus.

This isn’t rocket science, but it starts to get a lot more complicated when we acknowledge that if point B is our chosen end point for a customer, then there are many different Point A’s to consider. We also need to acknowledge that most businesses have multiple point B’s that will help them successfully reach their goals.

Mapping the Customer Journey

For example: Thandi might travel from point A to B exactly the way we had planned – she made the purchase and even shared that she bought our product with her community. However, Jon clicks on Thandi’s shared link and arrives at our website halfway between point A and B. Jon is excited about the product, but doesn’t know how to get the information that he needs to execute his purchase.

As marketers, we often spend hours and hours planning for Thandi’s journey, and get excited when the stats show us that people are joining Thandi’s walk with our brand. However, we don’t often consider Jon – he becomes lost in the stats, telling us what went wrong. He joins our bounce rate clan and hides amongst our drop-off rates.

Instead of considering Jon’s plight though, we focus our energy on refining Thandi’s journey. There has to be a better way… I think we need to acknowledge that customers don’t reach us on a collection of straight highways. We need to accept that customers find us through a complex network of connections that don’t follow process; they follow the emotional state, the patience, the heart, and the desire of the consumer.

Touchpoints of the User Experience

If I don’t feel like clicking your link tonight, I won’t; but if I see Thandi clicked it three days later, then I get very interested in what you’re selling. So I prefer to look at it like this: develop great brand touchpoints, not journeys. Touchpoints focus our attention on a single point that customers connect with. Customers arrive at the touchpoint from various angles, but are always given a choice of where they want to end up next.

In other words, the touchpoint encourages people to experience the brand and then make a decision about where they want to go next. Do they want to leave, buy, enquire, share, or simply admire? Either way, the touchpoint has a specific design that is not specific to a user journey, but rather focuses on delivering the best user experience aimed at building brand ROI in the process.

Then, the customer moves on to the next touchpoint that they choose. Designing touchpoints are more difficult because it involves dissecting the customer journey in greater detail, but it goes a long way to helping Thandi and Jon both experience your brand as it should be experienced. In short, customers are in control of their own path to your door.

Shouldn’t you spend time thinking about what they might come across on their path, and decide how you would like to influence the user experience with that touchpoint? Then move onto the next touchpoint, and the next one…

Originally published as User journeys are broken on Bizcommunity.