How to Conduct a Customer Journey Analysis in Real-Time: Step-by-Step
By Megan Wells
By now, every company knows the value of customer experience. Forbes reports “84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue”. And “customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that don’t focus on customers”.
The modern customer experience is ongoing, involving not just the sale but everything that happens before, during, and after too. Understanding how that plays out across multiple channels—from a web search to visiting a store, to watching product review videos, to purchasing online, to nurturing the relationship—is incredibly valuable. But it’s not always easy to stitch together (and traditional journey maps weren’t built for today’s dynamic journeys).
Thus, customer journey analytics is becoming more important as the ever-evolving marketing funnel becomes more complex. Many enterprises are already using customer analytics software to bring all these touchpoints together, no matter where they occur.
In this post, we’ll cover the basic steps to performing a customer journey analysis in real-time for more valuable and actionable insights.
What is a customer journey analysis?
Performing a customer journey analysis helps companies put themselves in the customer’s shoes. A customer journey consists of all the experiences a person has with your brand across multiple channels over days, weeks, or months. Different channels where touchpoints might occur include:
- Company website
- Partner sites
- Digital apps
- Social media
- Product packaging
- Online ads
By mapping the data around all those experiences into a unified, contextual picture, then analyzing it and taking informed action, companies can optimize their products, services, and experiences for customer success.
Customer journey analytics combines customer behavioral and operations data with predictive analysis models to bring deep insights to the surface. And live data pipelines make it possible to see actions you can take immediately to improve customer experience.
Why analyze the customer journey?
You may wonder why we need to map and analyze the customer journey. And how is it useful for companies looking to connect with loyal buyers and potential fans?
When properly executed, customer journey analysis unlocks insights that can be used across the enterprise. There are multiple benefits to understanding user behavior, especially in an increasingly complex online environment. Collecting and leveraging user insights helps you:
- Improve customer experience by addressing their needs, frustrations, concerns every step of the way
- Increase customer retention by improving convenience, context, and control
- Reducing service costs by proactively identifying friction points
- Helping respond to competitive threats by recognizing patterns, comprehending ideas, planning, predicting, solving problems, identifying actions, and making decisions on a grand scale with ease.
Companies can also use the journey analysis process internally to learn about and improve employee experiences.
How to conduct a customer journey analysis (step-by-step)
To understand and adapt to the ever-changing needs, opinions, and behaviors of your customers, journey analysis should be an ongoing process. By continually collecting, evaluating, and acting upon your data in real-time you can continue improving the customer experience over time.
Define your goals and objectives
Your customer journey analysis will be shaped by your business goals and objectives. Start by asking questions like:
- What can you learn during the journey analysis process which can drive business success?
- What (specifically) do you want to learn about your customers?
- What actions do you want to help them achieve?
Going in prepared with questions will help you get more from the process - but be curious, too, as questions may arise that you hadn’t expected.
Map your journey using hard data
Before you can analyze, you need to understand the journey your customer takes with your brand, including all touchpoints at every stage, and on every channel.
Actionable journey maps should include real customer feedback, input from customer-facing internal teams, and first-hand consumer behavioral data. Each touchpoint provides event data about a customer’s actions, including critical details like
- Device type
- Geographic location
- Channel type (email, social, organic search)
- Action(s) taken
- Session duration
- Flow of actions/next action taken
By visualizing event data aggregated from multiple sources, customer journey analytics tools allow you to build comprehensive, real-time customer journey maps in a few clicks. Real-time data is key to getting full context within your journey map, as customer feedback can only tell you so much.
Another benefit of customer journey analytics software is that you can map individual journeys for different user segments. No two people will interact with your brand or your sales funnel in the exact same way - the customer journey often varies significantly between age groups, gender, device type, purchase history, and other key factors.
Analyze for insights
Once you've achieved full visibility into your customers’ unique journeys, it’s time to analyze. Examine each touchpoint for every segment of the target audience from different angles in search of those critical “aha moments” or “moments of truth”:
- Look for friction points - For example, a form with several fields to fill out causes more friction than one that asks only for name and email address.
- Recognize unnecessary steps along the path to conversion - An overly drawn-out order process is sure to make some people give up - are there steps you can remove, automate, or combine?
- Identify points where expectations are met, exceeded, or failed - Try to find out what people liked and disliked, and understand how customer support experiences help or hinder the journey.
- Observe how long customers spend in each stage of the journey - Look out for stages where customers linger a long time - these are potential churn points because they indicate the user is investing a lot of effort. And, gain broader insights like the volume of monthly and daily active users.
- Analyze which marketing messages are most effective - Observe which ads or messages have the best conversion rates.
In the past, the evaluation process was overwhelming and time-consuming due to the sheer volume of data accumulated. Now, many customer journey analytics tools include AI-driven features to simplify and speed up the process.
Here is an example of what your visualization could look like with Scuba's platform:
Make changes based on your findings
Now it’s time to put your insights into action - make changes and adjustments based on what you discovered in your map analysis. For example:
- Remove the extra steps and smooth out any friction points that you found
- Update available product features from the free to paid version to encourage upsells
- Adjust your ad spend based on the website behaviors you observed
Determine which KPIs you’ll use to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Your KPIs should be based on the goals and objectives you set out in step one, with adjustments made for the insights discovered and plans made in steps 2 and 3. Take baseline KPIs and then compare after your changes are implemented.
For example, you might track whether shortening an intake form increases conversion rate, whether a new cross-sell offer increases average cart value (and by how much), or whether streamlining your order process reduces customer churn rates and increases customer satisfaction scores.
Measure & optimize
Remember, customer journey analysis is an ongoing process. Use the KPIs set out in step 4 to measure the impact of your actions. Compare your predictions with what actually happened. Then measure, test, iterate, and optimize as needed. Customer journey analytics software makes it easy to remap, test, and repeat without coding knowledge or long waiting times.
Through continuous analysis and active understanding of the customer journey, business leaders can make incremental improvements over time and keep a pulse on ever-changing customer needs, habits, paths to purchase, trends, and other outside factors that influence consumer behaviors.
Advanced customer journey analytics tools like Scuba can help you analyze, visualize, and manipulate your data quickly, without the help of data scientists. You can create new queries on the fly, change or create new customer segments, and adjust existing queries easily.
Ready to visualize millions of complex journeys in just a few clicks? See Scuba Analytics in action--request a demo today!
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