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What is a Customer Journey Map and how can this be supported by SAP tooling?

Roderick Stoffels

As a company to be able to survive in this competitive world, it has to decide which strategy it will focus on. In general there are 3 strategies:

Operational excellence

This strategy aims to accomplish cost leadership. Here the main focus centres on automating manufacturing processes and work procedures in order to streamline operations and reduce cost. The strategy lends itself to high-volume, transaction-oriented and standardized production that has little need for much differentiation.

A strategy of operational excellence is ideal for markets where customers value cost over choice, which is often the case for mature, commoditized markets where cost leadership provides a vehicle for continued growth. Leaders in the area of operational excellence are strongly centralized, with strong organizational discipline and a standardized, rule-based operation.

Product leadership

Product leadership as a competitive strategy aims to build a culture that is continuously bringing superior products to market. Here product leaders achieve premium market prices thanks to the experience they create for their customers.

Customer intimacy

The strategy of Customer Intimacy focuses on offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs. Often companies who pursue this strategy bundle services and products into a “solution” designed specifically for the individual customer. Customer-centric companies tend to have a decentralized organization which allows them to learn and change quickly according to customers’ needs. The focus of the organization is on optimizing the customer “life time value” instead of on the turnover of one single transaction.

What is a Customer Journey Map and how can this be supported by SAP tooling?, Acorel

Although it is possible to combine two strategies, it’s advised to have a main focus on only one strategy. When the main focus is set on Customer Intimacy, the goal of the organization is to build a long-term relationship with its customers. A lot of time and effort is invested to gain knowledge about their (potential) customers, to set up a customer database and to deliver tailor made products and services. One way of gaining customer insight is to create a Customer Journey Map.

This blog will explain what a Customer Journey Map means and how it can improve your organizational goal to create happy customers (read: Ambassadors) and keep the customer retention high. Finally, a mapping will be done between the different phases of the Customer Journey Map and the solutions offered by SAP.

A Customer Journey describes the process and steps of a (potential) customer from the first contact moment with your brand up to the usage of your product or service and hopefully repetitive buying. A simple model of the Customer Journey consists of 6 main steps or phases:

  1. Orientation 
  2. Interest 
  3. Buying decision 
  4. Usage 
  5. After Sales or Service 
  6. End of life 

During each of these phases the customer will have one or more contact moments with your brand, so called touchpoints. And these touchpoints can have a positive or negative emotional implication.

A Customer Journey Map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship and ultimately your customer becoming a Brand Advocate or an Ambassador.

The Customer Journey Map makes the key interactions with the different DMU contact persons of the customer, so called persona’s (target group), with your organization visible. It expresses and it talks about the user’s persona’s feelings, motivations and questions for each of these touchpoints. Every department of your organization contributes to that customer experience in the omni-channel communication. And a sustainable experience can only be delivered if everyone in your organization contributes to one clear vision and related mission. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

Company values and promises are vital to know with which intention employees communicate with its customers. A simple example: If your organisation promises to deliver simple solutions, it is evident that contracts (sales and staff) needs to be very simple too. Saying ‘No’ to a customer who likes to have tailor made software is vital to stick to your ‘Simple’ promise.

To say ‘No’ can be perceived as a negative experience for this single customer, but it is vital to attract the right customers in the future.

Touchpoints that make these kind of differences (positive and negative) are so called branded touchpoints. Both of them are needed, positive as well as negative experiences. ONLY that way your brand is becoming alive. Just make sure that your customer journey ends with a positive peak.
To create a picture of the Customer Journey with all its emotional implications, points of pain, points of delight and moments of truth you start internally with several customer oriented departments. To gather additional valuable customer insight, you need to verify or validate your internally created Customer Journey by taking interviews or surveys with your customers who will fit the persona.
These customers know best about their experiences with your product or service. In the end a Customer Journey Map will allow you to develop and improve your processes and services to offer a better customer experience.

An example of the linear Customer Journey Map is shown below.

What is a Customer Journey Map and how can this be supported by SAP tooling?, Acorel
Customer Journey Map of IKEA by TOTE-M

To support your brand promise to your customers, CRM systems can give support to your organisation. In every step of the Customer Journey SAP can provide a tooling that will help your Sales force, Marketing department, Service Centre et cetera.

In the table below I have described a few SAP tooling or modules, mainly focused on Customer Engagement, that can be relevant for each phase of the Customer Journey. Innovation to improve the customer experience goes on every day.

SAP Hybris Marketing (Contact Engagement)
SAP Hybris C4C (Social Media Integration)

SAP Hybris Marketing (Marketing Campaign Management & Contact Engagement)
SAP Hybris C4C (Lead Management)

Buying decision
SAP Hybris C4C (Opportunities)
SAP Hybris C4C (Quotations/Orders)
SAP Hybris Commerce (Online Sales)

SAP HCP (Partner or Customer Portal)
SAP Hybris C4C (Reporting, Marketing Analytics)
SAP BusinessObjects (Reports)
After Sales or Service 
SAP Hybris C4C (Ticket Management)
SAP Hybris Contact Centre
SAP Hybris Marketing (Loyalty Management)
End of life
Customer retention
During the Orientation phase, the customer is doing some research and is gathering information about the product or service he wants to buy. He can do this by looking at the company’s website or Facebook page.

When the customer is showing more interest in your product or service, Marketing Campaign Management can be very helpful for promotion purposes. Also Lead Management can be interesting to follow up the lead.

Hopefully the customer is very interested and willing to buy his product from you. During this phase SAP Hybris Commerce can support your organization to register a the transaction.

Throughout the usage phase, you want to know which customers have bought your product or service and are thus potential customers for a repetitive buy! Marketing and sales analytics can be very usefull. SAP Hybris C4C offers standard reports for your analytics. Another option is to use SAP BusinessObjects.

It’s your intention to offer the customer value for money, but it does happen that a customer is having a complaint about your product or service. In that case you want to register his complaint (ticket) and help him the best way you can. And as we all know…. “Every complaint is an opportunity” as my colleague Simon wrote in his blog a few weeks ago.

Cradle to cradle is a term that’s been heart very often lately. In short it means that materials can be used over and over again. When your product life is at its end, of course you want to look after the environment and don’t want your product to be thrown away but to be reused as much as possible. It’s not only important to look after the environment, of course it’s also very important to take care of your customer! To keep the customer rentention high you will make your customer an offer he can’t refuse, Besides, it’s your goal to turn your customers into an Ambassador!

Hopefully this blog will contribute in sharing knowledge about customers, their journeys or experiences and how SAP tooling and modules can support the different phases. Please share your SAP CRM experience for a specific step in the Customer Journey.

If you need our help to start, implement or optimize an excellent Customer Experience or if you have any further questions or request for information about the SAP CRM possibilities to support your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Roderick Stoffels