Reframing the Digital-First Customer Journey

Customer journeys have evolved. Address growth opportunities as a digital-first customer-centric organization.

By: Tony OlvetGroup Vice President, Worldwide C-Suite and Digital Business Research

The Evolution of the Digital-First Customer Journey

The digital-first customer journey is being reshaped by customer demand and technological advances. Whether an organization was established five years ago or 50 years ago, there is potential to improve the customer experience using digital touchpoints. This blog highlights some of the key success factors shared by IDC's CIO Advisory Board members during their discussion on this topic earlier this year.

The customer journey continues to evolve. What used to be characterized by four steps — awareness, consideration, purchase, and service — is now an immersive journey that intertwines physical interaction with digital touchpoints (see Figure). Awareness, consideration, and purchase remain, but are followed by two new steps: engagement and loyalty. Customer expectations have also significantly increased. During the early pandemic, customers were looking for empathy for their situation, support for their new way of working, and trusted advice to keep their business running. This has carried forward into a digital-first mentality supporting a persistent and increasing demand for real-time advisory, collaboration, personalization, physical-digital interaction, and immersive experiences.


The New Immersive Customer Journey




Growth Opportunities for the Digital-First Customer-Centric Enterprise

Key takeaways for Canadian companies:

  • Physical interaction with new digital touchpoints. The new customer journey is defined by a common thread weaving together physical interaction and digital touchpoints. These touchpoints complement each other to produce an immersive experience for the customer that allows them to engage with the company and subsequently deepens loyalty.

  • Personalization is the name of the game. Customers are looking for tailored advice and recommendations to enhance their experience with your organization.

  • Choose the right channels. Customers are looking to interact on the channel that is most convenient for them. There is an expectation that they will have access to a quality experience wherever they are and whenever they want.

  • Unlock your potential. Determine how your business can take advantage of digital experiences to enhance the customer journey. Leverage your existing success and company reputation to build a strong presence across both the physical and digital environment with an iterative approach.

  • Advance your metrics. Reexamine the validity of traditional metrics (i.e. net promoter score) and consider new measures linked to customer effort. Establish metrics that correlate with desired customer behaviours. Identify the link between new technologies and important business outcomes, such as increasing revenue, reducing costs, or achieving strategic objectives.

  • Assess the impact of change. Do not underestimate the criticality of interactive communications. Take time to understand how to clearly communicate the impact and benefits of new technology.

For more background on our key takeaways and recommendations around the Immersive Customer Journey, please reference: Reframing the Digital-First Customer Journey: Key Takeaways from IDC's Global CIO Advisory Board — April 2022 Edition (IDC# US48566922, May 2022).

Has Your Organization Prioritized Digital Business in an Innovative Way?

Digital-native organizations are more deliberate about digital innovation. Did your organization complete an innovative tech project that had a measurable impact on your business results? If you answered yes, we want to hear from you! IDC Canada, in partnership with CIO, is presenting the CIO50 Awards to Canadian organizations with innovative technology projects in November 2022. Nominate your organization for a CIO50 Award before the July 27th deadline!

Every year, CIO recognizes the tech world’s most innovative organizations and accomplished leaders. We’re excited to announce that this is the first CIO50 Awards program for Canada that showcases your innovative Canadian tech project and team (not individual CIOs). Canadian teams have done some amazing projects over the past year, and they deserve to be recognized. The awards are open to all Canadian organizations, including technology providers, and there is no fee to apply. The odds of winning a CIO50 Award are higher in the inaugural year, so apply today!

Learn more about our CIO50 Awards for Canada and nominate your project now!


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About the Author

Tony Olvet

Tony Olvet is Group Vice President, worldwide C-suite tech agenda and lead for IDC's Future Enterprise research in Canada. Tony's analysis and insights help technology vendors, IT professionals, and business executives make fact-based decisions on technology strategy. He also provides research leadership and management for the analyst team in Canada.

Tony has researched and authored analyst reports on a variety of industry topics including digital transformation, IoT, cloud and c-suite technology priorities. He is also a frequent public speaker delivering keynote presentations at conferences, IDC webinars, and virtual events for clients. Tony is member of IDC Canada’s senior leadership team and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Tony has worked with clients across a variety of organizations including global IT manufacturers, enterprise software vendors, telecom service providers, financial institutions and public sector organizations. He has been quoted in major business and industry media including CIO Magazine, The Globe and Mail, CBC and The Financial Post. Tony earned a B.E.S. degree from the University of Waterloo, and an M.A. degree from the University of Toronto.

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Cristina Santander

Manager, Marketing & Customer Experience