Customer Journey Insights

Analytics are a critical part of understanding your customers journey. For example, there is a hugely important story that can be understood from detailed analysis of usage patterns for your web site.

For an e-commerce company, shopping cart abandon rate, position in search engine results or page load speeds are all critical success factors; just as location, store design, or even merchandising are critical to the classic retail store.

But gaining deeper insight into your customers' journey is not only about the digital channel.  Nor can it be constrained to customer contact.  Nor retail.  It's all of those things and, crucially, they way they interact with each other.

The Omni-Channel Customer Journey

The need to consider the customer journey across every touchpoint seems now to be widely accepted by Journey Mapping exercises - building the "Omni-Channel" Customer Journey.

Looking at interaction data for your contact center independently from digital channels or perhaps retail activity, inevitably limits efforts to reductive ones,  perhaps within one or certain closely coupled channels.  In fact, this is often very well worth doing, with a great short term payback; as in the case of shopping cart abandon rates or deflecting voice calls to lower cost channels like chat, mobile or self service, but it leaves the actual customer journey as something unmonitored, unplanned, emergent.

Building the Customer Journey Mart

At its heart, this is a data problem.  For example, in late 2014 Salesforce.com produced its State of Marketing Leadership report which highlighted that only 17% of respondents had integrated data across all areas.

Fast forward to the 2015 report, and despite 54% of marketers saying that analytics absolutely critical or very important to creating a cohesive customer journey, more than half of respondents are relying on manual processes to bring together their desired picture.

Unfortunately, gaining a satisfactory view of each customers journey will not happen as a footnote to other optimisation efforts. Its also very unlikely that a corporate "Big Data" project will happen upon a well integrated view of customer journeys unless this target is made a high priority at the onset of the project - which often need find scope to address other concerns which may be equally challenging.

And yet the march of whats possible seems to clamour for our attention far faster than we can sensibly apply it. Pour the data into a data lake !  Store every byte and we can answer any question ! The temptation to use the latest technology to process bigger and bigger data sets - perhaps fuelled by media speculation about the internet of things or deep learning - is very understandable.  It is often quoted that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone. I worry that the only people happy about this make hard disk drives.

Insights enable a Cohesive Customer Journey

In the end, getting the necessary insights requires data governance, collaboration and (only then) the right toolset.  When the data is not available it must be created. When the data available is not useful in our efforts, it can be ignored.  If it didnt happen to a customer then - for our purposes - it did not happen at all.

A well chosen strategy is therefore incremental, targeted and ultimately holistic - first supporting the high value close at hand optimisation, and then expanding to a progressively more complete and cohesive picture.  A data set chosen with the right elements can answer the questions you really have,  at the time you have them, and still be inexpensive to own.