Customer Analytics

Take the First Step toward Customer Journey Analytics

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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-Tzu

I hope you don’t think you’ve stumbled on a new “Daily Affirmations” page. Though it may seem a bit corny to use the Lao-Tzu quote when I’m talking about the customer journey, I do think it’s relevant. So, in advance of IBM’s Amplify 2016 event, where I’ll be part of a presentation on the subject, I want to take a moment to get back to basics. I want to talk about what it takes to get started with customer journey analytics so you can understand and visualize the paths your customers travel. It truly does start with a single—okay, a few—basic steps.

Why do I need customer journey analytics?

The customer experience gap – Your organization will want to know why implementing a customer analytics program is important. Here’s a humbling statistic: 81% of brands say they have a holistic view of their customers, but only 37% of users say that their favorite retailer understands them. That’s the experience gap you’ll be trying to close by augmenting your existing analytics efforts with journey analysis to make sure you truly understand how your customers interact with your brand.

Understanding the customer has become more difficult

Life has gotten easier for the average Joe to make purchases and complete transactions. He has a PC, a phone and a tablet, and he may use them all to complete one task. He exchanges information via email and call centers and probably even visits a brick-and-mortar store every so often. If he’s interacting with the same brand across all these channels, it doesn’t occur to our guy Joe that his experience should be anything other than seamless. And if he’s not delighted, it can mean that he takes his business elsewhere.

But for the business? Trying to seamlessly piece together all the touchpoints to understand Joe’s journey is another matter. Connecting all those interactions can be a difficult proposition. You want to understand your customers better because that will mean better results for your brand. You want to visualize their journey so you can know where things are going well and where they’re not. But you’ve got reports galore, data housed in different departments and when you have to work with IT to get anything done, it’s hard to see the big picture.

So what’s my first step?

Take it one step at a time – It’s okay to get started with customer journey analytics in baby steps. Not every organization has the budget or bandwidth to do a full-scale implementation. Like the new house that gets furnished piece by piece until it’s just the way you want it, start building out your customer journeys one step at a time. Don’t wait for the perfect channels—start now with what you have and build on that. Look for software that lets you take that stepwise approach.

Find some initial success

But also look for software that gives you some immediate gratification. Think about what channels you need to connect to get some quick insights. Maybe email and web traffic? You’ll likely be surprised by the insights you can gain from visualizing journeys across just two or three channels. Make those first connections and share the success with the rest of your organization. Then build on it.

I’ll be covering these topics in more depth at my upcoming session, It’s a Journey, Not a Sprint – Utilizing Customer Journey Analysis, with John Buleza of Performance Bicycle at IBM Amplify 2016. My presentation will include screenshots of how one company took steps to understand their customers better. See you there!

If you’re not attending our Amplify event, take a look at this video to see customer journey analytics in action.

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