Customer Journeys and happy paths


Even though much has been written on the virtues of mapping digital customer journeys with the goal of ensuring people get to their destination on a website or via a map in the most efficient way, is this journey really the “happy path” for the user?  Is the shortest path always the happiest if it only gains a few seconds or clicks? In a recent Ted Talk Daniele Quercia explains how he is using Crowdsourcing to redefine suggested routes on a map which not only show the Shortest but also the most Beautiful, Happy and Quietest and all only exhibit  a slight increase in travel time. The logic is that most people would rather enjoy the journey than be stuck in traffic just because it is the shortest route. He is currently using Crowdsourcing to ask people to compare pictures along routes and vote on the merits of the image as to whether it makes them feel happy, sad, if the picture shows congestion or is quiet etc. From this, variant routes can be offered that go through parks, quiet neighbourhoods etc. In future they are also looking to overlaying sounds, smells and memories.

Einstein once said – Logic Gets you from A to B, Imagination will get you everywhere.

This did however get me thinking about how these thoughts could be used to differentiate customer journeys on websites and applications. Wouldn’t it be good if different mediums had different journeys or interactions? Just because customer data is required should we always be faced with tedious alphabetic responses e.g. when asked to input our country do we really need to pre-guess the mind of the developer as to how it was defined? (In the UK you generally have to guess does a site need Great Britain, Britain, England, United Kingdom, UK etc. or even if the developer has put United Kingdom and USA randomly at the top or bottom of the list) Wouldn’t it be better for the device to use GPS and for you to confirm a Flag, especially if it’s on a small form factor device like a mobile? Maybe a boring form could be broken up with useful information or different ways to submit, maybe even weaving in gamification. In the future focus will need to be given to the data submission process and how this can be made happier for the customer and the companies that change this will certainly differentiate themselves, just think how may times you have started filling in personal information on a site and just got bored of the process and go elsewhere where it is either more pleasurable or easy. Maybe the happy path needs to be one that the customer enjoys not one that gets you from A to B in the most efficient manner? Business shouldn’t be boring even if the process is.


Author: Steve Wakefield

Steve Wakefield is an experienced Innovator presently based in London.

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