The customer journey is the sum of all direct and indirect customer touchpoints that a customer undergoes from the first contact with a company to a targeted action.
Common targeted actions of a customer journey can be a purchase, an order or an inquiry. Direct customer touchpoints include contact points with a brand, product or employee and can be directly influenced by the supplier. In contrast, indirect customer touchpoints include the opinions of third parties (e.g. reviews, user forums, blogs, etc.) and cannot be directly controlled by the supplier. A customer journey can last from a few minutes (e.g. food shopping) to several months (e.g. car purchase). The challenge of customer journey management is to understand the changing customer needs over time and to address them at the direct customer touchpoints in order to generate long-term customer loyalty. Managing the customer journey therefore requires a customer-centric way of thinking and the systematic tracking of all customer touchpoints from pre-purchase to post-purchase phase and across all online and offline channels.