Customer journeys, no matter how closely we try to track them and orchestrate them, are different and unique in every case. One of the best ways to understand this closer is with a customer journey matrix framework. The frameworks support digital journey orchestration and automation software.

This resource was originally created by Harvard Business Review in the summer of 2022. The authors Ahir Gopaldas and Anton Siebert argued the varying parameters and crossovers for customer journeys. A customer journey matrix can help managers and marketers to design journeys to keep customers returning. 

What is the customer journey matrix framework and how does it work?

Gopaldas and Siebert crafted the framework based on 4 structures – effortful, effortless, predictable, unpredictable. From here, it was broken down into 4 archetypes to see how the customer journey can fit in.

Here you can see an example of a customer journey matrix diagram and how these 4 archetypes are crafted: 

Customer journey matrix framework created by CXM

Within this matrix, you can work out how each of the quarters work together and overlap for the case of customer journeys. Learning how to read this and understand it is a great tool to have in your back pocket to engage your customers. With this, you can map out what types of journeys you want to create. 

Luckily, these frameworks are fairly straightforward and mean pretty much exactly what they say on the tin. Simple, yet effective. Figuring out each section of the customer journey matrix is made easier when you set them into real-life examples.

Let’s explore each of the quarters of this matrix, with examples of each in relation to customer journeys. As you can see, each quarter is defined, by Gopaldas and Siebert, as one word relating to the journey.

Joyride (unpredictable and effortless)

A very current and trending example of a joyride customer journey – one that is unpredictable and effortless – is in short-form social media content. In particular for this is TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

Essentially, these journeys can’t be as easily planned or structured as others. Due to the mechanisms of these platforms, it’s near impossible for external organisations to control a customer journey on TikTok. The closest you can get is with sponsored videos highlighting on a customer’s ‘for you’ page. But even then, there is not a guarantee that your ideal consumer will get this on their account. 

Joyride journeys are becoming appealing in the sense of they derive fun and enjoyment, yet require minimal effort. These journeys are unpredictable in their truest form. While the algorithm could work in your favour and sway your target audience over to you, joyrides are fun because the results and points in the journey are unexpected. Varied content is crucial for these forms.

Odyssey (unpredictable and effortful)

An odyssey is seen as an extraordinary form of customer journey. These types of journeys that take a lot of effort to work on, yet produce unpredictable results, are exampled in the fitness industry. For instance, workout-tracking and coach-driven apps like CrossFit and My Fitness Pal. 

On the production end, these forms of customer journeys and experiences require a lot of effort to produce the results and information you need. Working out with these programmes requires journey tracking, in the sense that the consumer closely and strictly tracks what they’re doing. Yet, the end goal is different for every consumer, and often undefined. Although useful here, we always need to consider the question of ethics and brands using customer data for the best results and research. Despite the data aiding the customer journey, the debate of customer data and the transparency of it is always open. 

An odyssey customer journey is typically seen for professional and personal developments. As well as fitness, these forms are also seen in creative fields. Adobe Creative Cloud is a clear example of this.

Routine (predictable and effortless)

For these customer journeys, the consumer can put in less effort for a predicted outcome. There’s many examples in this, including: 

  • (Online) shopping 
  • Mobile banking apps 
  • Entertainment streaming – e.g. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

With these, the consumer knows what their end goal is – finding a product in whatever sense – and it is simple to get there. The key with these on the organisation and production end, is that the journey is streamlined and smooth at all touchpoints.

Routine journeys are also the most common for the exact reasons listed above. The consumer knows what they want, and they can get there (usually) without issue.

Trek (predictable and effortful) 

A simple way to define a ‘trek’ customer journey is that they are long-term committed journeys to reach a highly-desired goal. There are a plethora of examples of this predictable and effortful journey:

  • Customer support & resolutions. The consumer knows what they want, and has to put in time to try and fix it by discussing the issue with support agents and further.
  • Personal service providers – organisations offering assistance to consumers for their long-term life goal. This includes language and educational tutors, financial advisors, and fitness coaches.
  • Contributing content for online submissions. A lot of work can go into publishing content – contributing writers for CXM will know all about this!

Although these can seem like daunting tasks at the begining, organisations can help consumers and guide them through. Breaking down the journey into small-term goals and milestones with rewards and gamification is a great technique to keep consumers motivated to complete their journey. 

How can the customer journey matrix framework help to design the ideal customer journey? 

Now that you understand can read the customer journey matrix and the different forms of customer journeys, what can be done with this information? With your customer experience and strategy in mind and it is ready to be implemented, you can begin to identify which archetype will be best. 

You can start to work on this be using the customer journey matrix grid. Ask yourself – is the product relatively effortless or effortful to use? Will the experience be predictable or not? Once you have these answers and you can place it on the grid, the archetype will help you envision what customer journey you have before you. This can help you prepare accordingly. 

For each archetype, the overriding aim is to design streamlined, satisfying and positive customer experiences. Ensure you have consistent touchpoints, keep your target consumer satisfied with the service they are receiving. It’s especially important to always ensure you’re taking on customer feedback, too. Although the customer journey matrix is useful to help you prepare and get a better idea of what’s to come, you still can’t foresee everything that will happen. Be prepared to take on feedback and improve the journey as and when. 

Improve your customer journeys today!

Hopefully, you feel that you’re now in a better position to prepare your customer journeys and provide fantastic customer experiences. Although the customer journey matrix is a useful tool to keep on hand to prepare you, stay on guard for anything to happen. CX is fluid, and no one journey is the same as the other. Even a routine can differ from day to day!

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