Today’s businesses are familiar with customer journey analytics and its importance in uncovering problems along the customer journey and how that helps to create positive customer experiences. Customer journey analytics start with a map or diagram that shows all the steps that customers will take when engaging with a business. These touchpoints incorporate the complete arc of a customer engagement with a brand, start to finish.
In today’s market, companies must differentiate themselves by providing exceptional customer experience. To uncover where CX is lacking, companies must investigate the root cause of negative reviews, opinions, and brand perception. Is it marketing material, the attitude of customer service, or rather a break down in the last leg of the customer journey – right at the point of purchase or onboarding?
Some situations in the customer journey map were very direct when specific information regarding the customer-company engagement was required. Methodologies have become more sophisticated in the form of customer journey analytics which provides data about every customer touchpoint so that companies can learn, predict and influence future engagements.
Customer Journey Analytics: a definition
Customer journey analytics track the data associated with a customer’s many interactions with a business. This includes a discrete beginning and end across time, through cross-functional stages. Data silos capture inherent departmental information but aren’t able to track across the entire enterprise. A customer journey analytics solution can knock down the silos to provide a complete view of the customer as opposed to segmented departmental data.
McKinsey has found that 56% of customer interactions happen during a multi-channel, multi-event journey and that 38 percent of customer journeys include more than one channel interaction. This complexity has led to 33% of companies not being able to able to adequately track customer journeys.
In addition, those businesses that use customer journey analytics typically realize 15-20 percent reduction in visits and calls while also decreasing customer churn. More and more businesses are using customer journey analytics to improve the identification of at-risk customers.
They also reduce churn through data-driven information about customer preferences and understanding the smartest ways to minimize negative customer situations. All of these provide opportunities for improvement instead of losing customers in situations where data is short-sighted and not applicable to the entire customer journey.
McKinsey also notes that journeys are 30-40 percent better at predicting customer churn as well as satisfaction. Those businesses that use customer journey analytics are way ahead in customer grown and overall experience.
A Strategy Shift Toward Customer Journey Analytics
Most companies today understand the customer journey and are confident that they’re optimizing touchpoint experiences appropriately. However, as a business grows in sophistication, they’re more likely to re-tool operations to support integrated customer journeys. And, for the most part, they have been responding rather than being proactive in improving journey efficiencies and solving customer problems.
Businesses are making a shift in strategy from being reactive to a position of unbridled proactive behavior. This type of thinking works especially well in consumer-facing activity in industries such as banking, travel, retail and home services. Companies are attracting shoppers with engaging experiences for the entire customer lifecycle and retain them because of the value created for their customers.
Customer Journey Map vs. Customer Journey Analytics
Both customer journey maps and customer journey analytics are designed to get closer to the customer in order to create positive user experiences and, ultimately, long-term customer loyalty. It’s now widely accepted that customer experience directly links to more revenue and increased shareholder value.
For the past several years, businesses have focused on touchpoints to improve customer user experiences. Now it’s become clear that only by looking at the entire customer journey over time and several channels that authentic customer experiences can be qualified.
Integrating analytics into the journey provides a unified view of a customer across all relevant touchpoints. Real-time analytics show your customers’ paths so that you can also make course corrections to improve their experiences.
In a McKinsey study titled, “From touchpoints to journey: Seeing the world as customers do,” it is revealed that “performance on journeys is substantially more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touchpoints—and performance on journeys is significantly more strongly correlated with business outcomes such as revenue, churn, and repeat purchase.”
There are some significant differences between customer journey maps and customer journey analytics and savvy executive and customer service teams are working with them appropriately. Some of the main differences include:
- Data-driven information. Data-driven is the foundation of customer journey analytics. Millions of single interactions can be analyzed in real time for immediate understanding while journey mapping relies on subjective interpretations of customer observations and interviews, representing just a small number of customers.
- Real-time information. Journey maps capture snapshots in time while customer journey analytics provide real-time, actionable information. The relevant department will have better opportunities to engage immediately based on data that provides the most current understanding of customer behavior.
- Comprehensive views. Customer journey analytics show marketing, sales teams, and customer service and success the broad expanse of paths taken by customers in real time. The analytics reveal the channels and paths taken by customers online and off and identifies the most important ones. In contrast, journey mapping is limited to one single representative view of what a customer journey could look like.
- Scalable views. Customer journey analytics provides a macro view of the journey as well as multiple opportunities to investigate the micro steps within. Journey mapping is much simpler because it creates just a few high-level macro journeys representing all customer journeys.
- Actionable engagement. As in other facets of customer mapping, the journey map provides a generalized view of customer engagement which doesn’t allow for specific action. In contrast, customer journey analytics provides a much more detailed view to act upon and interact with each customer at the appropriate time, in a personalized way and through the best channels.
Customer Journey Analytics Provides Immediate Business Impact.
Dramatically improved customer experiences as a result of customer journey analytics can exhibit quick impact in the enterprise. Benefits can be realized in customer acquisition, retention and revenue. A full scope of benefits includes the following:
- Improved customer experience. Discovering bottlenecks and customer challenges in the customer journey is a critical benefit of customer journey analytics. Businesses can respond in real time with relevant communications and offers, many times anticipating customer needs before the customer has a chance to reveal them.
- Better customer acquisition. Because of the level of detail provided in real time, customer journey analytics boost customer acquisition. The early revelation of path-to-purchase and purchase intent puts businesses in the position of increasing customer acquisition by eliminating sales challenges.
- Greater revenue. Growing revenue via customer journey analytics can be accomplished in several ways. Personalized messaging reaches customers at just the right time, increasing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Identifying enhancements and implementing revisions throughout the journey can reduce costs while growing sales. High impact segments are also more easily identified for opportunities to boost revenue too.
- Improve customer retention. Keeping customers is easier when customer journey analytics are used to predict customer behavior and understand preferences better. Identifying which actions work better in different situations is another benefit of customer journey analytics. Analytics tactics help reduce churn by interacting with at-risk customers before they have a chance to leave for a competitive solution.
- Better marketing and sales ROI. Customer journey analytics measure and improve cross-channel efforts, gleaning more value from a current marketing and sales technology stack. Better results will increase marketing and sales ROI.
- Optimize customer lifetime value. Retaining customers for the long term can be supported with customer journey analytics which can reveal the most important factors constituting a customer lifetime value, along with tactics for retention.
The customer experience is continually evolving in order to offer the best possible engagement with brands. Those companies must also stay ahead of the customer retention curve and customer journey analytics is a strong tactic to improve customer relationships and business operations.
Mapping the Customer Journey to The Customer Experience
Given the high-stakes and high rewards in improving CX, it’s clear that businesses are looking to address a critical gap, especially in the last mile of customer experience. Whereas before, businesses may have sufficed with an omnichannel or multichannel solution, now they are realizing that they need to be able to complete critical last mile transactions simply, anywhere.
Early winners have identified the last mile as an area in need of CX improvement, bridging the CX gap, and have found ways to simplify the gathering signatures and approvals, replace time-consuming tedious agent scripts, accelerate ID/Document collection for KYC/AML/ID&V, process payments securely and to share images and videos during a live customer session.