Analytics and the customer journey: 7 best practices

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Do you want to send out more timely, relevant offers to customers while they’re browsing online or visiting your store? What if you could reduce the average checkout time from four minutes to two by using your mobile app?

If you want answers to these questions and others, then it’s time for a journey map.

The journey – in its simplest form – is the set of interactions a customer has with you as they embark on a business transaction with your company. A journey can take place across multiple channels and lines of business. When you understand the journey, you strengthen customer satisfaction and improve the customer experience. Here are seven best practices to get you started:

  1. Map the journey. Pick just one objective or initiative and map it. The infographic below shows a simple journey map. Be sure to account for the duration of the
    customer-journey

    Click to enlarge

    interaction, the expectation of the customer, the touchpoints (channels) and systems and processes associated with each step of the journey. Also note where customers might get stuck (friction points).

  2. Cultivate customer intimacy. Invest in knowledge of customer behaviors, preferences and intent. Armed with behavioral data you can create smaller, more refined segments and have more relevant conversations with customers.
  3. Contextualize the data. Circumstance shapes individual behaviors and actions. Have you considered what factors truly influence your customers the most? What moments or activities act as pivot points in the journey?
  4. Mind your metrics. Journey mapping may reveal natural congruencies between departments that were once disparate. Which individual metrics need to be in place? Which can be shared?  For instance, who should get credit for new customer registrations or large orders from new customers? Sales? Marketing? The call center? Or all of the above?
  5. Think analytically. Your map may start as physical paper copy. However, new tools allow you to optimize the journey and further evolve the customer experience.
  6. Implement standards of behavior. The customer experience is incomplete without a set of standards and principles[JA1]  that serve as a social contract between you and the customer. What do you do to protect customer data? Just how transparent are your data policies?
  7. Tell a story. Ultimately you decide how information should be expressed back to your internal constituents and customers. Weave the threads of data together in a meaningful way that resonates with the customer beyond her purchase experience.

According to a McKinsey study, 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they’re being treated. You don’t need to know everything, but the more information you have, the better your customer interaction and outreach will be. So go ahead; see things from your customer’s point of view. The journey is worth it.

If you're ready to dive deeper into each of these best practices, download the new white paper: Analytics and the Customer Journey

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About Author

Analise Polsky

Business Solutions Manager

Analise Polsky’s keen understanding of people in diverse cultures gives her depth and insight into data-driven and organizational challenges. As a Thought Leader for SAS Best Practices, she couples her diverse experience as an anthropologist and certified data whiz, to build core assets and deliver dynamic presentations. Her areas of focus include data visualization, organizational culture and change management, as well as data quality and data stewardship. Her multi-lingual background offers a unique ability to help organizations assess strengths and incumbent skills in order to drive strategic shifts in culture, policy and governance, globally. Analise puts the skills she learned while living in the Amazon to use in the corporate jungle – showing organizations how to evolve data practices and principles to meet ever-changing data demands.

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