How Customer Journey Analytics Takes Traditional Journey Mapping to a New Level
By Megan Wells
Imagine if you could jump right into the mind of your customer. You’d find a wealth of valuable information there--like why they chose one product over another. Why didn’t they purchase all the items they spent so much time researching and adding to their cart? And why do so many of your customers' journeys go from touchpoints A to D to B to C when you want them to follow the path of A-B-C-D?
The answers to questions like these would allow your company to create better experiences--the kind that builds brand advocates and win customers for life. Having these answers would allow you to remove obstacles that block sales, thus clearing the road to conversion. But you don’t live inside the mind of your customer--and finding the answers to your CX questions isn't always easy.
What is a customer journey map?
Customer journey maps are visual representations of the customer’s experience with your brand. Essentially, they’re an illustration or diagram of all the steps customers go through while engaging with your company.
Customer journey mapping is widely used for its ability to improve decision-making for a product, manufacturing, customer experience, UX, merchandising, and marketing teams. Sometimes, journey maps offer a high-level view, such as how the customer moves through the stages of your sales funnel. Other journey maps may zoom in on a specific sub-journey such as a series of touchpoints that aren't working, or the steps to purchase a specific product.
An example journey may look like this:
A customer reads a sales page or blog post ---> fills out an inquiry form ---> takes a sales call ---> signs a contract ---> receives onboarding documents
A reference to the “cycle of service mapping” is cited as early as 1989 in Chip Bell and Ron Zemke’s book, Service Wisdom. And, in 1994’s Marketing Management, Lewis Carbone and Stephan Haeckel speak of an “experience blueprint” which they define as “a pictorial representation of the experience clues to be engineered, along with specification that describes them and their individual functions.”
While there’s not usually a lot of talk in marketing circles about who invented customer journey mapping, the concept has clearly stuck. Customer journey maps remain popular today because they put you in the customer’s shoes--and that’s powerful if you want to design an ideal experience for them.
Challenges of traditional journey mapping
Like most great ideas, the very first customer journey map was probably scribbled on a napkin. These days, they’re more likely brainstormed in agencies, boardrooms, and marketing meetings, then turned into a document or presentation. Ideally, they’ll include input from key stakeholders companywide, as well as market research data from customers.
All of this sounds great--but, there are a few inherent challenges with traditional customer journey mapping:
- Some vs all: Customer journeys are as unique as snowflakes. Yet with thousands or millions of customers and without the proper journey mapping tools, brands are forced to focus on just a few core “representative” journeys.
- Subjective vs objective: Without data to back it up, journey maps only capture the “happy path” or happy flow of a buyer’s experience, missing out on key details of what may actually be happening.
- Static vs dynamic: Customer journey maps are static, yet trends, preferences, and buying habits change fast. The true key to insight isn’t how much data you have, but how quickly you can update and reanalyze it.
- Linear vs non-linear: Customer journeys are rarely linear. They jump forwards and backward, occur over time, and may span multiple channels. This type of journey is difficult to visualize in a fixed diagram.
In other words, customer journey maps are a great starting point--but not enough to keep up with the pace of change we now face. Thanks to the evolution of customer experience and advances in technology, a new breed of software have emerged to take customer journey mapping to the next level.
Make the most of your customer journey maps with real-time analytics
Customer journey analytics bridges the divide between what consumers do and what marketers want them to do (or what marketers think customers do and what they actually do).
Without data, a customer journey map is just a story. That’s why customer journey analytics software uses real-time behavioral data, segmentation techniques, and machine learning algorithms to build a more accurate reflection of your customer’s real-life experience.
Customer journey analytics brings old-school journey mapping to life and gives you the power to make business-critical decisions in an instance, as opposed to waiting for insights to become available.
With live dashboards that can run no-code queries against billions of raw data points in seconds, you can test and reiterate as often as needed until the customer experience is as seamless as possible. And you can run your data against other variables like sentiment, time of day, repeat vs new customer, etc. at any stage, and look for correlations with key KPIs like retention, churn, or customer LTV.
What’s more, interactive customer journey analytics provides the actionable insights you need to validate or adjust your CX blueprint. Here’s what’s possible when the two work together:
- Improve customer satisfaction: From saving items in their shopping cart for later or remembering their specific shade of makeup, customer-centric brands score 60% higher profits than those who aren’t customer-focused. The more insight into the experience you have, the more concrete ideas you’ll discover for ways to improve it.
- Reduce churn: You only get one chance to fix a customer problem, since the first interaction is where most churn occurs. Visualizing the real-life journeys your customers are taking against the customer journey as a whole is the best way to catch and fix problems that cause drop-off.
- Identify sales opportunities: Data from point-of-sale systems, website behaviors, call center logs, email campaigns, and more can tip you off to prospects with high potential to become new customers and the actions that are most likely to nudge them towards a purchase.
- Streamline operations: Whether it’s rooting out bottlenecks and confusion points (the support team will thank you) or removing extra steps for a smoother payment process, optimizing operations is good for both brand and buyer.
Customer journeys--made up of experiences and intents--are at the core of understanding what customers do (and how they do it and whether their needs are being met at every point along the way). But they’re not snapshots frozen in time. Customer journeys are always evolving, and it’s time to make journey maps that reflect that.
The way to make journey maps more meaningful is by making them more real with live data. In the customer-centered economy,
there’s really no excuse not to.
Experience the future of CX with customer journey analytics
If you’ve used legacy BI tools then you know, running queries and pulling insights from the data wasn’t always timely. After waiting days, weeks, or even months for answers, the question--and its long-awaited answer--were sometimes no longer relevant. But efficient and meaningful journey mapping is possible with the right tools.
With a visual query builder that makes it easy for non-technical users to ask questions themselves, Scuba eliminates the cost and delay of having experts write complicated queries--you can scan your entire dataset in a single pass and get your answer immediately.
Scuba uses live data pipelines that scale to ingest and analyze the volume of event data being generated by your customers on a daily basis. You can segment into micro-audiences to follow every unique journey. And since Scuba can store and query both structured and unstructured data, we leave nothing behind.
Scuba combines the rich source of data, 360-visibility, and agility you need to get granular insights about the entire customer journey. Schedule a demo today.
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