by Steve Offsey
Companies are benefiting from customer journey analytics across marketing and customer experience, as the results are real, immediate and have a lasting effect. In this post, I’ll illustrate five ways you can use customer journey analytics to provide an immediate impact to your business through real use cases covering a variety of industries.
What is Customer Journey Analytics?
Customer journey analytics turns the millions of interactions your customers have across all of your touchpoints into journeys from your customers’ point of view. It’s a data-driven approach to discovering, analyzing and influencing your customers’ journeys. Customer journey analytics is a powerful tool that enables marketers and customer experience professionals to understand customer behavior and engage with individual customers on a personal level, at scale.
If you’re unfamiliar with customer journey analytics or are looking for a quick way to explain it to your colleagues, you can take a deeper dive by reading What is Customer Journey Analytics?
Here are 5 ways that real companies in a variety of industries are using customer journey analytics to impact their businesses:
1. Improve Customer Experience
We are living in the age where ‘customer experience’ is truly the king. From customer service to marketing to even the boardroom, it has now been widely acknowledged that customer experience has a direct link to revenue and increased shareholder value.
Monitoring Individual Touchpoints Isn’t Enough
Companies have traditionally looked to improve customer experience by focusing on particular touch points. But it’s only when you look at a customer journey in its entirety across channels and over time, that real pain points—and therefore opportunities for positive impact—arise.
Customer journey analytics steps in and delivers by building a unified view of customers as they interact with your brand across multiple touchpoints, locations and in real-time. It reveals the paths that your most satisfied customers take. It also uncovers the bottlenecks to a consistent and high-quality customer experience. Using customer journey analytics, you can find paths that lead to a desired action, as well as those paths that typically don’t lead to that action.
A recent McKinsey study found that “performance on journeys is substantially more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touchpoints—and performance on journeys is significantly more strongly correlated with business outcomes such as revenue, churn, and repeat purchase.”
Decrease Support Call Volume and Spend with Customer Journey Analytics
A top retail bank wants to decrease support call volume and enhance operational efficiency. Tasked with finding the solution, the bank’s CX team uses journey analytics to discover what drives new clients to make a support call.
The team begins by identifying new clients as those who were sent their first invoice in the last month. Of the 12.5 million people who received their first bill, 1.1 million made a support call to complete their payment.
The data reveals that 81% of those calls were initiated because of a problem with one of the bank’s self-service channels, interactive voice response (IVR).
By discovering the root cause of the support calls and comparing the data across multiple touch points and journeys, the CX team can now focus on finding and addressing issues in the IVR system.
Their goal is to decrease the number of support calls and reduce overall call center costs, while simultaneously improving customer experience.
Employ Personalization to Improve Customer Experience
Leading companies, such as Amazon and Kenneth Cole, are reconfiguring their entire websites in real-time by studying customer journeys and offering personalization. While you may see more videos and product reviews on visiting those sites, I may see entirely different product offers and images based on my preferences and past interactions with the brand.
Most companies are still struggling with how to personalize the customer experience and deliver it on an individual level, at scale. Most personalization efforts fall flat because they are superficially driven by demographic information—rather than each customer’s unique journey—and hence do not inspire customers to take desired actions.
L’Oreal’s Personalization App Drives Millions Of Users
An article in the Harvard Business Review describes how L’Oréal effectively employs personalization through its Makeup Genius app. It lets customers apply makeup virtually by utilizing technology to photograph a customer’s face and analyzing it to reveal which products and shades would look best on a particular face. Customers can then buy the product instantly online or order it and pick it up from a store.
According to the authors, “L’Oréal has created an enjoyable experience that quickly and seamlessly leads the customer along the path from consideration to purchase and, as the degree of personalization increases, into the loyalty loop. With 14 million users already, the app has become a critical asset both as a branded channel for engaging with customers and as a fire hose of incoming information on how customers engage.”
2. Accelerate New Customer Acquisition
Customer journey analytics makes it easy to uncover high-impact journeys that result in a purchase. Marketing can leverage this information, as well as an understanding of product preferences, customer lifestyles and behavior, into campaigns that increase new customer acquisition. Whether you sell to other businesses or directly to consumers, reaching out to prospective customers at the right moment, through their preferred channel, with a customized offer, results in higher conversion rates.
A Leading Financial Institution Drives Acquisition with Customer Journey Analytics
To boost the acquisition of new clients, the mortgage team first needs to understand the most effective acquisition channels for their mortgage offerings.
The team leverages the Pointillist Customer Journey Analytics platform to discover which channels had the highest impact on approved mortgage applications over a five month period. The team starts with the most common channels customers use to begin the application process. Next, they use Pointillist’s time-series analysis capabilities to look back from approval to first touch, so they can identify the most effective channels.
They discover that the largest number of customers who are approved for a mortgage initially visit a branch. In fact, these customers have a higher rate of success than the other three channels combined—calling the toll-free number, clicking on an ad and visiting the website.
The mortgage team delivers this insight to the marketing team, who uses the information to optimize their efforts. The marketing team decides to create additional in-branch signage to increase the number of applications through their most effective acquisition channel.
3. Reduce Customer Churn
Customer experience professionals are using customer journey analytics to improve their ability to identify at-risk customers and reduce churn. By gaining a data-driven understanding of customer preferences and the best ways to reduce friction in particular situations, experience teams can more easily identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement.
Identify High-Impact CX Issues that Lead to Churn with Journey Analytics
The CX team at a leading telco uses Pointillist to understand the drivers of churn, so they can identify and prioritize CX initiatives that will have the largest impact on reducing churn.
First, the team uses Pointillist to analyze CX issues across all support channels to identify the most common issues customers encounter that could subsequently lead to churn. Through the analysis, they find that billing and tv issues are by far the most prevalent.
However, in the next step of the analysis they discover that while the highest volume of customers are experiencing billing and tv issues, internet-related issues are actually driving the largest number of account closures and are responsible for the greatest revenue loss. They also determine that customers who experience internet issues are most likely to churn, and at the highest velocity.
Armed with this new information, the CX team uses Pointillist to isolate two specific internet related issues that are having the highest impact on churn, and prioritize an initiative to address them.
They anticipate that the initiative will reduce their overall churn rate by roughly 2.0%, saving the firm an estimated $1.8 million in lost revenue over the first 12 months after implementing the solution.
4. Maximize Customer Lifetime Value
Customer journey analytics uncovers the factors underlying Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) such as acquisition channels, average purchase price, customer experience and retention methods. Using this analysis, companies can identify and activate the best paths to maximize CLV.
Customer Journey analytics can quickly reveal the journeys that your highest value customers take. You can find, for example, specific interactions—such as a loyalty program offer or a personalized email after a large-ticket purchase—that lead to high loyalty signups and over time, increased repeat purchases.
This piece of intelligence helps marketers in crafting specific, unique communications that make a high-value customer feel special. Moreover, customer journey analytics can significantly improve your ability to reach out at the right time with the right offer.
On the flip side, you can use customer journey analytics to find those particular touch points that prove to be an obstacle, such as a call to the call center to do manual signup, at which point most customers are abandoning their journey. A deeper investigation may reveal that the average wait times for the call center are higher than industry standards. Now you can take remedial steps and monitor the journey to see if there have been improvements in signup rates.
A Wine Accessories Company Uses Customer Journey Analytics to Increase Customer LTV
A premium wine accessories company used customer journey analytics to improve loyalty program registrations, increase cross-channel engagement and build long-term customer relationships, as the majority of their profit comes from repeat purchases rather than the initial sale. In this way, they hoped to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of their brick-and-mortar customers and position the company for continued growth.
The marketing team used customer journey analytics to analyze millions of point-of-sale transactions and connect them with loyalty program registrations, email responses and online behavior. They discovered how the customer journey differed for each buyer persona and identified the optimum paths each followed from engagement to loyalty and repeat purchases.
Using customer journey analytics, the company quickly discovered which marketing campaigns were most effective at turning their in-store customers into repeat, online customers. Ultimately, they discovering the programs that most increased engagement, improved loyalty and contributed to building long term relationships with their customers—all of which ultimately contributed to a significant increase in customer LTV and continued revenue growth.
5. Boost Your Return on Marketing (ROMI)
CMO spending on technology continues to increase. According to the 2018-2019 CMO Spend Survey from Gartner Research, 18% of the marketing expense budget is now allocated to customer experience initiatives. Thirty-four percent (34%) of budgets are allocated to technology that enables CX optimization.
But while marketers are adding technology at a furious pace, many of these technologies are way underutilized. Customer journey analytics platforms can unify and improve the effectiveness of existing marketing technology stacks.
Customer journey analytics platforms collect data from every touchpoint as customers interact with companies across multiple channels, over time. This includes data from website (pages viewed, forms submitted, etc.), CRM (demographic information, account-level information, etc.) call center (call reason, call issue, handling time), e-commerce and point-of-sale systems (transaction value, product selection etc.), email (sent, opened, clicked) and many other sources.
Once you’ve discovered the most important journeys, the next step is to deliver personalized experiences using your existing marketing tools based on each customer’s individual behavior. The unique engagement needs of each individual customer can be met by defining triggers at key points of the most important journeys to enable engagement through the optimal touchpoint using your existing marketing stack.
Employ Customer Journey Analytics to Quantify the ROI of CX Initiatives
One of the largest telecom providers in the US uses Pointillist to gauge the success of a new appointment system.
The customer care team invested in an automated appointment system to improve the customer service experience and reduce costs from cancelled truck rolls.
To gauge the success of the new system, they need to measure its effect on NPS, call volume and the number of customers that aren’t home when the technician arrives at their home.
The care team uses Pointillist to assess the impact the automated appointment system has on NPS, call volume, and customers that are not at home for a scheduled appointment. They determine that the automated system leads to an increase in NPS by 5 points and a 75% reduction in the ‘No Show’ rate.
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, leading companies are increasingly thinking in terms of end-to-end customer journeys and using customer journey analytics to understand behaviors and shape experiences. This is leading to differentiation from competitors, higher customer satisfaction scores, better return on marketing investment, increased upsell/cross-sell and ultimately higher revenue.
The examples discussed here show that a wide variety of industries are using customer journey analytics to reach their business goals. As a recent McKinsey article concludes, “delivering a distinctive journey experience makes it more likely that customers repeat a purchase, spend more, recommend to their friends, and stay with your company.”