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Digital customer journeys

A new international framework for digital customer experience

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Disruptive digital technologies have fundamentally changed the dynamic between individual consumers and the companies, service providers, governments and organisations they interact with. As a result, the traditional frameworks and approaches to mapping customer journeys and delivering great customer experiences are becoming obsolete.

Under the leadership of PA Consulting Group and Huawei, this latest whitepaper from The Open Group introduces a key set of principles to design and develop a fit for purpose digital customer experience. These principles will form the basis for a new international standard of best practice for digital customer experience.

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The digital customer experience is radically different to that of a customer in the pre-digital age. Over the last 20 years we have seen many changes to customer experience which, when combined, are much more than the simple addition of another channel.

This creates opportunities for both the customer and the organisation they choose to interact with:

  • For customers, there is more choice over when, how and where to engage
  • For organisations, the opportunity to reach customers 24/7 with tailored relevant content, data and personalised interventions is now possible.

Designing for better digital customer experiences

When considering customer experience, it always important to use the customer as the frame of reference. The needs and expectations of digital customers can be expressed in terms of the following principles:

  • Real time
  • On demand
  • Online first
  • Do it yourself
  • Social

Real time: The customer can begin or progress a journey at any time, pretty much regardless of location, with responses and updates in real-time and personalised to meet the customer’s evolving needs.

On demand: The service provider has the flexibility to adapt and adjust the services delivered to the customer on demand.

Online first: The customer is able to accomplish all activities and transactions associated with the journey online. An offline channel need only be used if absolutely required to handle a physical product, service or intervention.

Do it yourself: The customer is provided with the capability, and has the choice, to complete the activities and transactions associated with the journey alone. Interaction with a service provider representative is not required.

Social: The journey is tightly integrated with digital social media, so at any stage of the journey the customer is able to access social media for advice, recommendations and feedback.

Download the report

Future digital customer experience journey scenarios

There is no one size that fits all. At different stages of the customer journey, the touchpoints and interactions with the customer may differ and involve different technologies.

Below are four example scenarios across different sectors which show how the nature and complexity of customer journeys are evolving.

Future digital customer experience journey scenarios
Interactive retail store experience

Interactive retail store experience


A customer browsing in a retail store picks up different products and receives advice and information on each product from screens located nearby. Sensors detect which product is being handled, displaying information about offers or cross-sell opportunities.

The customer consults reviews from professionals and other customers on social channels as they browse the retail environment, as well as compare purchasing history for similar products. Location based analytics re-enforce the value of this store's offer analysing customer behaviour and browsing history to offer further advice, related products or support sale closure.

These same analytics are available to the in store staff to support their advice to the customer.

Key Technologies

  • IoT sensors
  • Social networking
  • Big data analytics
  • Mobile location analytics
  • Cloud services
  • Mobility devices
Smart energy effciency

Sustainable energy services


Independently from human intervention, real-time data from sensors placed around smart buildings can monitor, plan and schedule energy usage.

On a winter public holiday, when nobody is at work, the smart office block dynamically adjusts heating levels, lighting and escalators to conserve energy.

The following day, when employees are scheduled to be back in the office, the smart office analyses the prevailing weather conditions to ensure a comfortable, energy efficient work environment with all escalators operational.

Key Technologies

  • Heat / electrical energy sensors
  • GPS location sensors
  • Machine control systems
  • Real-time data stream analysis
  • Transport route planning systems
  • Cloud services
  • Display systems
Programmatic marketing and omni-channel experience

Programmatic marketing and omni-channel experience


An avid social media user is tweeting their friends about the warm and sunny weather scheduled for the coming weekend. They are celebrating their birthday.

As the person approaches a digital billboard, the content changes to show offers on charcoal and BBQ food from the local supermarket.

As they walk around the corner towards the supermarket, they receive a notification wishing them a happy birthday and offering discounts on their favourite delights.

Key Technologies

  • Data feeds and aggregators
  • Data analytics
  • High performance computing
  • Social feeds
  • GPS
  • Real-time contextual advertising
  • Content delivery network feeds
  • Consumer sites
Digital supply chain and personalisation

Digital supply chain and personalisation


A small but complex component of a manufacturing production line is wearing out. Without this, production will halt, rather than telephone an engineer, the smart system requests a replacement part and notifies the operations managers.

The request automatically triggers the creation of a new part, which is developed overnight using 3-D printing. As it is small, a motorbike courier - in the future a drone - is scheduled to pick it up the following day to deliver it to the factory before the current component fails. The maintenance operative is notified of the progress of the part and its arrival throughout the process, and provided multimedia support for its installation as well as remote support.

Key Technologies

  • Handheld ruggedised device
  • B2B marketplace management platform
  • Stock monitoring system
  • Remote distribution management
  • RFID tracking
  • Transport planning
  • Enterprise service bus
  • Enterprise integration and messaging system
  • 3D printing

Contact us

To speak further about designing digital customer journeys, please contact us.

Rob Mettler

Rob Mettler
PA digital business expert

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter


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