next best action model helps predict customer behavior Experiences are best understood as part of a customer journey.

A customer journey map is a picture that shows the steps a customer experiences. Looking at the journey gives Marketing and Customer Experience managers clarity about all of the processes that intersect to create a customer experience. It’s a starting point for both managing and improving the journey. The map also shows customer touchpoints that can be measured by the business. Advanced analytics can show why customers make choices along the journey, enabling the business to know how to improve the experience.

It sometimes makes sense to show the journey as a line with a starting point, while keeping in mind that in real life there are loops and alternate pathways. And it also makes sense to include a version of the map showing likely looping points to validate if businesses processes are flexible enough to handle customer actions.

The journey map can include icons and pictures to keep the focus on the customer. It can also include guidelines for required steps that the business needs to execute, or places where campaigns or promotions are planned. There can be more than one map since customers are likely to have more than one kind of experience.

The map is written for your internal audience, so it often uses your internal jargon. But keep in mind that customers don’t speak your internal company language, so when you translate these maps back to customer-facing activities, the language also needs to change.

Customer journey maps can be planned by management, but the best maps include insights gathered from customers themselves through various techniques including:

  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Listening to Call Center interactions
  • Reviewing customer emails
  • Reviewing complaints

Want to learn more about our Customer Loyalty and Retention Analytics services? Click here!

Some of the open-ended questions asked in this data gathering process include:

  • How has your experience with us changed over time?
  • How do you feel when you interact with us?
  • Why do you feel this way?
  • What would you change?

Don’t forget to put yourself through the experience. Do a field visit. Become a customer and sign up for an account or subscription, or call in to report a problem.

Remember to interview sales and marketing staff to augment the official business perspective. Comparing the internal business perspective to the customer perspective may show gaps in process or understanding. When you’re considering the business perspective on the customer journey, check to see if:

  • There’s a way to quantify each step
    • How many customers did this?
    • What was the total cost for this step in the last month? What was the average cost?
    • How much time did this step take for the customer?
    • On average, how much time passed between steps?
  • The business metrics reveal / match the customer experience steps
    • Does the business see extras steps?
    • Do the customers see extra steps?
  • Are there steps in the customer experience that the business doesn’t measure?

See how advanced #analytics can help you understand why customers make choices along the journey (and enable you to know how to improve the experience). @beyondthearc #customerjourney #cx (Click to Tweet!)

Keep in mind that the journey can be multi-touch, multi-platform, and non-linear.

This screenshot of IBM Customer Experience Analytics uses data gathered over 7 days to show which combinations of activity resulted in sales. Customers follow their own pathways, in their own timeframes. The interface is linked to the IBM Commerce ecosystem and the enterprise data warehouse. A manager can choose the number of days to look back and let the computer show the most common customer touchpoint journeys resulting in a sale.

Want to learn more about Customer Journey Maps? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article!


See more from Beyond the Arc

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Prioritizing projects with customer journey analytics

Data Science

Beyond the Arc has resident experts in data science, passionate about customer journey analytics. They specialize in the use of statistics and machine learning, delivering actionable business insights to drive improvements in customer acquisition, churn, cross-sell, segmentation, loyalty, and revenue optimization.

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