Are you confident about your customer experience? Learn about the four archetypes of customer journeys here

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Subscription POV

Af Morten Suhr Hansen

Two years ago, I wrote a checklist that subscription businesses can use when conducting a service check. At Subscrybe, we particularly find that the customer journey is one of the aspects that you can always revisit. Because there’s always a little more you can do to ensure that customers have a good experience, both when they’re entering the store, at the checkout, and when they’re leaving the store.

The four archetypes of customer journeys

If you want to learn more about customer journeys and how your specific customer journey should look, you can benefit from looking at The Customer Journey Matrix by Gopaldas & Siebert (2022).

According to these two researchers, there are four different archetypes of customer journeys, and they vary quite a bit:

  • routine is effortless and predictable.
  • joyride is effortless and unpredictable.
  • trek is effortful and predictable.
  • An odyssey is effortful and unpredictable.

The Routine

You’re familiar with subscription products that make your everyday life a bit easier: It could be Spotify, which makes your music and podcast choices one of the easiest things in the world. It could be a product subscription from Matas, automatically delivering deodorants, vitamins, and face creams to your door every month. It could also be a meal kit that saves you from grocery shopping and the frustration of meal planning in a busy life.

What’s essential about these types of subscriptions? That they just work. And the surest way to achieve this is by educating the subscriber with a streamlined user experience and practicing a consistent user journey for all your users. The goal is to make the experience predictable and routine so that there are no unpleasant surprises.

The Joyride

A joyride is a combination of effortlessness and unpredictability. It’s, of course, streaming subscriptions and video games.

One particular thing is in focus here: endless variation. Variation keeps the user engaged, and while the user travels through the content universe, it’s your job to collect user data to enhance the experience even further. Additionally, it’s crucial to motivate the user to try new things on the platform or achieve new milestones using gamification. This is especially relevant in the gaming world, but Netflix has introduced it with their interactive films like Bandersnatch or You vs. Wild as well.

The Trek

The customer journey in subscription products like Duolingo, Strava, Peloton, Zwift, Simply Piano, and Yousician thrives on helping users achieve a goal. All these services apply the principle of goal-setting, breaking down the big task into small, manageable stages. There are several tricks to keep users motivated, and these apps often utilize weekly or monthly goals to act as a ‘coach,’ ensuring you reach what you need to.

Often, these services are combined with a community aspect, allowing you to share your milestones and personal records with friends and family. Most of these services also include gamification elements like achievements and weekly challenges to make it even more enjoyable to hone your skills.

The Odyssey

This customer journey is for subscribers who are highly motivated and enthusiastic about becoming better at something. Unlike “The Trek,” they don’t have the same need for motivation but greatly require knowledge and guidance to improve.

This customer journey is present in subscription products like Adobe Creative Cloud, Skillshare, and Masterclass. There’s no defined goal, but these services support an interest and help you become better at the things you’re most passionate about.

An important design principle here is substantive variation, making it more exciting to pursue your hobby. It could be a new feature in Adobe Photoshop that allows you to create images with your unique touch, or it could be a session at Masterclass discussing an extremely specific topic but helping you in your own life situation. The key here is to create the ‘magic’ that causes the service to transcend and become a partner on the path to self-realization.