Understanding and managing engagement journeys

Jaakkola, Elina and Alexander, Matthew (2024) Understanding and managing engagement journeys. Journal of Service Management, 35 (3). pp. 357-380. ISSN 1757-5818 (https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.110...)

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Purpose: Existing research on customer journeys has tended to focus on the customer’s purchase decision-making and firm-controlled touchpoints, overlooking indirect touchpoints where customer resources and behaviors influence the firm, and other actors, beyond financial patronage. This article develops the concept of engagement journeys and discusses their implications on journey design and management. Approach: This conceptual article synthesizes the customer journey and engagement literature to delineate the concept of engagement journeys. Insights from engagement research are reflected in the current journey management orthodoxy to provide novel implications for the management of engagement journeys. Findings: The engagement journey is defined as the customer’s process of diverse brand-related resource investments in interactions with the brand/firm and/or other customers, reflecting the customer’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disposition. The analysis outlines the manifestations and nature of different types of touchpoints along the engagement journey, and the novel requirements for journey management. Originality: Despite the proliferation of both journey and engagement research, only a handful of studies have considered the link between the concepts. The proposed novel conceptualization of an engagement journey breaks free from a predominant focus on purchase decisions. The analysis of engagement journeys and their management advances both customer journey and engagement research. Research implications: The developed conceptualization opens up new avenues in both journey and engagement research. Practical implications: Some commonly held assumptions regarding journey quality and management do not hold true for engagement journeys, so there is a need for new approaches.