Micro journeys: what are they, and why do you need them?

by Natasha Stefos

by Justine Tabone

Organisations today are making every effort to become more customer-centric. A good first step is mapping out the end-to-end customer journey. However, what we’re finding is that some leaders are not realising the expected value from this process. This is because many don’t consider that the customer journey map is just a tool, and not the end goal. The benefit of undergoing this activity, is in defining the desired experience you’re looking to achieve, and understanding how you’re currently measuring up against it. This allows you to identify operational gaps at the moments that matter and work towards creating lasting customer-centric change.

To successfully operationalise your desired customer experience, a more granular approach is required – and this comes in the form of micro journeys. So, what exactly is a micro journey? They are a detailed look into a specific journey stage, which outlines the content, channels, touchpoints and internal handovers required.

Here is an example from the Airline industry. The overarching customer journey maps the moments that matter from awareness to advocacy – with the “check-in” experience identified as a priority focus area. The micro journey is then designed to automate the experience through the passenger’s preferred channels of engagement.

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Whilst this may sound daunting, we’ve created a simple 6-step process to help you effectively stand-up micro journeys.

1. Define the experience gaps for your priority segments. It’s no secret that each segment engages in different ways. In order to make sure your micro journeys are specific enough; you must start by mapping out the ideal experience you’re looking to achieve for your highest-priority strategic segments – taking into consideration their engagement preferences and behaviours. This will allow you to identify key pain points, and where you need to improve (also known as your micro journey focus areas). A prioritisation process based on CX/EX impact and commercial value should then be conducted to agree upon the first 1-2 micro journeys to build out.

2. Co-design the future state micro journey. Bringing together the right people from across the business at this stage is absolutely critical to ensuring adoption down the track. By collectively working through what processes need to be introduced, altered or removed, you will achieve greater buy-in earlier in the piece. Ensure you have representation from the teams that will be implementing and executing the change  as they will have insight into what is possible within your technology stack.

3. Create process maps and maximise automation. So now that you have the overall micro journey mapped out from the customer’s perspective, it’s time to turn that into a detailed internal guide that your digital / IT teams can leverage for implementation. The main consideration here is defining the rules-based workflows and triggers needed for the next action. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the opportunities for automation, as opposed to where physical handovers are required.

4. Feed the content monster. To ensure your micro journeys deliver personalised experiences, start with a detailed assessment of your existing content library. Content can be mapped to your micro journey objective – uncovering the new themes required, where existing assets fit the bill, what needs to be adapted, and any gaps that need to be filled. You must then ensure the content is easily accessible for both customers and your cross-functional teams to leverage.

5. Mobilise teams through pilots and ramp up ways of working. Micro journeys will create a lasting impact on your organisation, only if your employees can get behind them. You can gain buy-in by piloting with a small group, before rolling out these processes more broadly. This will allow you to make any adjustments to specific touchpoints or ways of working, to improve the employee experience and enable you to scale across more micro journeys over time. To ensure your efforts last, you must demonstrate the benefit for customers, gain a granular view of what it means for your people (through KPIs and incentives), inspire with top-down leadership, and empower through bottom-up ownership.

6. Iterate, test and learn. Once in motion, you cannot simply set and forget. The beauty of a digital-first micro journey is that you will be armed with data that can help you both prove attribution and optimise as you go. A series of A/B testing will be required to maximise cut-through, along with consistent monitoring of content, channel, timing and other engagement preferences that will come to light. A mindset of continuous improvement is required to ensure that this initiative derives optimal results.

So, if you’ve mapped your end-to-end customer journey, but are still experiencing challenges with progression – standing up micro journeys is likely the answer. First, you must identify the critical moments that matter to your highest priority segments, and prioritise your focus areas based on CX/EX impact and commercial value. Then you can balance best practice with organisational nuances to define the ideal processes, including opportunities for automation along with content required. Finally, once all the strategy and planning is complete, it’s about getting your people on board, and leveraging insights for continual optimisation.

For deeper insights on how you can maximise value from your customer and channel investments, watch this video: