Using analytics to enhance the customer journey

Rich Saltern

Using analytics to enhance the customer journey

Building great customer experiences can help you to gain a competitive advantage. But organisations face many challenges in doing so. To overcome these obstacles, it pays to take advantage of data analytics and visualisations.


A joined-up approach

Large organisations can have millions of customers, all interacting through different systems. But when a company’s digital footprint straddles multiple platforms and systems, it can be tough to create customer journeys that are joined up and consistent. Customers often end up with a sub-optimal experience of what the organisation has to offer.

This is a problem for several reasons. Not only are customers less likely to remain engaged with your offering – but they are also less likely to recommend it to others. Furthermore, poor experiences lead to dissatisfaction and complaints, which demand considerable resources to intercept, manage and put right.

Prevention is better than cure, and rather than throwing money at fire-fighting initiatives with disaffected customers, it’s far more cost-effective to invest in creating good customer experiences from the outset. 


Upgrading the customer experience

When it comes to creating outstanding customer experiences, a one-size-fits-all approach simply isn’t going to cut it. To build journeys that are engaging, immersive and productive requires a deep understanding of how people – in all their diversity and complexity – behave in the real world. 

So, before embarking on execution, organisations must first understand the end-to-end customer journey at key points. It’s about knowing your customers and translating that knowledge into a meticulously thought out experience that attends to their needs and brings them back to your platform.

This approach allows organisations to better identify and understand the behavioural patterns of their customers and use this knowledge to better their experience and, ultimately, the company/customer relationship.


Your most important asset

Customer data is the most important asset for any organisation. And we believe that customer journeys are fundamentally a data problem. Data can be used to measure and improve the customer journey. And visualisations provide a compelling solution for understanding that journey, enabling measurement and optimisation.

There are 4 critical steps to upgrading how your organisation views customer journeys:

customer journey

1. Customer journey map
Define the vision and create a map of the journey on which you wish to take your customers, illustrating the interactions that customers go through. It’s about defining the different stages and creating data-driven rules for each of them. Remember that not every journey is identical, so you need to map the variations. It’s also a good idea to identify “moments of truth” for the customer, in other words, the significant positive (or negative) interactions that they’re going to experience when using your platform.

data layer

2. Data layer
Next you need to develop the data layer to bring customer interactions into a central location and combine them to form a single “Journey Data Layer”. This necessitates a clear understanding of the steps a customer can take. Once this process is complete, you need to connect the data and transform it into a structure that’s ready for visualisation.

interactive dashboard

3. Interactive dashboards
This part of the process is all about using data to represent complex patterns and behaviours, bringing the customer journey to life through visualisations. The ability to visualise the customer journey through data challenges existing thinking brings fresh insights and creates new possibilities for your organisation. Using a dashboard that leverages interactive information design leads to better analysis. It also enables you to pinpoint significant events in the journey for deeper root cause analysis and track the customer impact – both intended and unintended.

meaningful insights

4. Meaningful insights
The process we have outlined facilitates the formation of a data-led culture and decision making based on facts, not theories. To achieve this you need to change your approach to data and let it lead the way. First and foremost this means making data more accessible from the data layer through to the dashboards. The endgame is a common way of viewing and measuring the customer journey, with a consistent framework for measuring key metrics.

To truly maximise the potential of the insight that customer dashboards provide, and go beyond the dashboards themselves the customer journey should be used to influence business decisions. This can be done, for instance, through an Obeya room scenario. 


Stay agile

It’s important to note that the process we have outlined is fundamentally iterative. No organisation is going to get it right first time, and it requires long-term commitment and investment to reap the rewards that come with better visibility and control over operational metrics and customer sentiment. Having said this, impressive results can be achieved cost-effectively quickly with the use of prototyping. 

Ultimately an agile customer journey model can only be successful if a continuous lifecycle process is implemented. This leads to improvements in data quality and analysis, which benefits both the business and the customer in the long run.


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