In today's consumer-driven society, consumers have a plethora of options. Whether they’re looking for a bite to eat or searching for a very specific piece of clothing, they have plenty of options to consider—and most are accessible right at their fingertips.
Consumers are constantly inundated with ads, special offers, and enticing promotions. These campaigns aim to drive desirable customer behaviors, like transactions, up-sales, or mobile app downloads—and as marketing technologies continue to advance, and are becoming more targeted as brands engage on a more personal level.
The truth is, if a brand isn’t delivering an experience that meets its customers’ expectations, it won’t stand a chance against competitive companies. To stay top-of-mind, commerce companies must cater to their customers unique preferences and expectations and put in the extra work to predict their customers’ needs before they even arise.
For your brand to meet your customers’ expectations and anticipate their future needs and behaviors, your marketing team needs to understand and leverage the customer journey and the analytics that generate along the way.
Customer Journey Analytics gives considerable insight into the journey users take from initial engagement or mobile app download, to the point of sale and the repeat purchases that (hopefully) follow.
What exactly is ‘Customer Journey Analytics’?
Customer Journey Analytics comprises data about a customer’s experience and the journey they take as they engage with your brand. In today’s digital world, the customer journey is primarily digital, and more specifically, mobile.
Fortunately, mobile marketing provides a major, rewarding opportunity for commerce companies to leverage Customer Journey Analytics to improve their customer experience. These analytics tie the customer’s data, his or her personal information and geographical location, to their online behaviors (purchase history, offer or promotion redemptions, and interests) and offline behaviors (in-store visits and transactions).
As a customer interacts with your mobile app, data is collected and recorded, telling the story of the customer’s journey. This data is stored in a single, easy-to-navigate platform to create a streamlined CRM for your marketing team to access and extract insights from.
When a customer drops out of the funnel or abandons their journey before they make a transaction or opt-in to your offering, does your marketing team have the tools to identify where they fell off? Do they have the insights that indicate why the user fell off?
If you don’t have access to Customer Journey Analytics, your marketing team is missing out on critical pieces of information that can be used to better understand a customer’s needs, pinpoint their motivations, predict and prevent churn, and encourage desirable behaviors.
Why is Customer Journey Analytics important?
Customer Journey Analytics tells a story.
This data tells the story of the customer’s experience, from the moment they show interest in your brand, to the moment they demonstrate their loyalty to your brand with a repeat purchase, and every purchase or engagement after that.
By understanding the customer journey and collecting data that speak to each engagement throughout the journey, your marketing team can craft highly-relevant messages that tell your customers what they want to hear from you at the most impressionable moments.
Neglecting the entire customer journey and focusing on a singular touchpoint, for instance the point of sale, will give your marketers a disconnected, inaccurate snapshot of the customer. Because customers are dynamic with ever-evolving needs and behaviors, a stagnant snapshot of their buying journey doesn’t lend much insight into their behaviors and motivations.
Consumers are complex. The customer journey is intended to be analyzed as a whole, cohesive trajectory that describes their process of traveling from point A to point B, and all the way to Z. It’s a story. You wouldn’t pick up a book, skip to the middle, read one chapter and think you have an understanding of the entire book, would you?
Customer expectations are higher than ever.
It’s no secret that customer expectations have reached new heights, as commerce companies continue to raise the bar for their competition.
This isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, it’s an opportunity to engage and secure more customers by leveraging data collected through mobile marketing to exceed each customer’s expectations. When traditional methods (like in-store signage, email marketing and print materials) were the primary marketing technique, customers could only expect a certain level of personalization.
Companies weren’t mailing out relevant flyers to individual customers to advertise products that the customer previously showed interest in. Signs weren’t changed out as each customer walked in the store in order to provide a more personalized experience.
Traditional marketing wasn’t this personalized, because it wasn’t possible. Today, more than 6 billion people around the world have smartphones (Statista). And what’s more personal than your mobile phone? Smartphones make deep personalization possible, because they generate data that was previously impossible to track.
Modern commerce companies are putting this data to work and leveraging it to make consistent improvements to the customer experience on a 1:1 scale. Customer data has truly transformed customer engagement and the customer experience, and this level of personalization is what consumers around the world have come to expect.
How does Customer Journey Analytics differ from customer journey mapping?
Think of customer journey mapping as a generalized template of the touchpoints that a customer is likely to hit. A customer journey map is developed before the customer interacts with the brand, so it’s not based on each customer’s unique experience. It’s a general, hopeful blueprint of the anticipated journey.
Customer Journey Analytics, on the other hand, provides real-time, customer-specific insight into the customer’s experience from the first engagement, and throughout their relationship with the company.
Customer journey maps are rooted in the company’s ideal, intended path for the general customer experience, while Customer Journey Analytics is rooted in the reality of each customer’s experience.
A journey map provides a visualization of the customer’s experience and identifies ideal moments of interaction with a brand; it’s a static snapshot of the customer experience archetype.
While a customer journey map holds a valuable place in an effective marketing strategy, customers often deviate from this predetermined journey. Every customer ends up taking their own unique journey through your mobile app, because every customer is different.
Each customer has different needs, different preferences, different motivating forces, different financial situations, different expectations, different working hours and different active hours on their mobile devices. There are tons of qualities and tendencies that differ for each customer—and your data sources need to reflect this.
Customer Journey Analytics takes a data-driven approach, as opposed to a visual mapping approach, to provide real-time, accurate insights about each customer’s journey.
To truly understand how your customers behave and how they prefer to engage with your brand, you need cold hard data. This data is actionable, because it helps you to identify the exact moment that a customer dropped out of their journey, or became uninterested or frustrated with the process, and devise an actionable strategy to get them back on board, dig deep into the root cause of pain points, and make improvements to the customer experience.
If you notice that 20% of your potential customers are dropping out of their journey as soon as they reach a long, ten-field contact form, your team can use this insight to speculate that the form is probably too long and it’s losing your customers’ interest. You reduce the form to three key information fields and perform an A/B test to verify that this was indeed the pain point.
Before long, data shows that only 5% of customers are dropping out when they reach this newly shortened form. Customer Journey Analytics generated this insight, and now you have a better understanding of your customers’ desired experience.
Let’s say you didn’t analyze Customer Journey Analytics in this situation, and instead you referenced the customer journey map. The map illustrates the customer journey from initial app download, to redeeming the first offer. If 20% of your customers are dropping out of this journey before reaching the next intended touchpoint (redeeming the first offer), your marketing team may speculate that maybe the offers aren’t relevant enough or maybe the user interface isn’t as intuitive as you’d hoped.
Without the analytics that speak to the exact moment or the exact click that derailed your customer, your marketing team has some guesswork to do in order to understand where the pain point lies and where the improvement needs to be made.
Customer Journey Analytics takes the guesswork out of pinpointing your customers’ needs and desires.
The Power of Customer Journey Analytics
Identify impressionable moments to craft personalized messages.
By understanding each customer’s genuine journey, you can identify the stages where your customer is most impressionable. If they just downloaded your app, what messaging do they need to see in order to progress to the next stage? If they downloaded your app a week ago, but they’ve yet to redeem their welcome offer, do they need to be guided to the ‘my offers’ tab?
Your marketing team can identify where each customer is located in their journey to identify the right engagement that speaks to their current state of mind. Customers can be segmented based on their location in the journey, enabling your app to deliver only the most relevant messaging at critical moments in their journey.
Customer Journey Analytics gives you an accurate, real-time view of your customers’ experience.
You can map out the touchpoints that you want your customers to reach, but this doesn’t mean reality will follow suit. Customers are real humans, and they don’t always perform the behaviors that an ideal customer archetype would. Customers can be relatively unpredictable, so it’s not surprising when they go rogue on their journey, but it can be frustrating if you’re relying solely on the customer journey map.
With analytics, your marketing team gains insights into real customer behaviors, which enables you to refine or reform your customer experience to create a more relevant, intuitive, data-driven journey.
Customer Journey Analytics provides simple answers to complex questions.
As your brand’s app continues to collect customer data and generate insights, pain points will reveal themselves. Customer Journey Analytics utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence to highlight customer pain points and relay them to your marketing team.
Your team then sees where the pain point is and can infer why it’s a pain point. With the help of Customer Journey Analytics, the complex question of, “why have sales in our mobile app dropped this month?” then becomes, “new customers are not navigating to the ‘my promos’ tab, which indicates that we need to create an in-app message to guide new users to the tab or redesign the interface to make the tab more apparent”.
Journey analytics tools show you the exact moments or features that are blocking customers from performing desirable behaviors.
Identify the behavioral indicators that signal churn.
Through Customer Journey Analytics, marketers can effectively predict when a customer is likely to abandon the journey. Journey analytics gives a comprehensive view of the customer experience, allowing marketers to analyze data across multiple channels in order to identify problems in the customer experience.
By analyzing where the highest churn is taking place throughout the customer journey, marketers can prioritize customer experience improvements and continuously optimize the experience to reduce churn.
Key behaviors or customer segments can be leveraged to predict when the customer will drop out of their journey, so your marketing team can devise a strategy that intercepts any challenges and resolves them before they cause a negative impact.
How to Perform a Customer Journey Analysis
Create a customer journey map.
Create a map of the essential milestones your customer should take to get from the initial awareness stage to the desired behavior. Tap into the emotions that your customers would feel throughout each stage to create solutions along the way.
Draft the critical touchpoints or points of customer interaction with your business. Set clear objectives and consider adjusting your customer journey map to speak to each customer persona. It’s a good idea to set goals for the amount of time your customer spends on each stage of the journey too.
Remove any unnecessary touchpoints.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and walk through each touchpoint. Do any points feel unnecessary? You want to treat your journey map as though your customers have the shortest attention span possible.
Convenience is king. Customers want a seamless, intuitive experience with your company. Any obstacles or points of frustration in your journey map can derail your customers completely and increase churn. Consider the shortest path from point A to point Z to keep your customers’ interest.
Identify friction points.
Once you start gathering data on the customer journey, analyze the numbers to determine where your customers are falling out of the funnel most often. If your mobile app asks for customer feedback along the way, what pain points are your customers reporting?
Look at the data to determine where the emotional lows are occurring, and devise a plan to create a solution. Is it a whole channel that isn’t converting well or integrating with another channel seamlessly? Are customers experiencing slow load times that are blocking your customers from progressing to the next stage?
Determine which points can be taken care of sooner than later, then devise a plan to solve the more complex points in the near future.
Analyze the time spent at each stage of the journey.
Are your customers spending longer than the amount of time you mapped out for each stage? Are they navigating through the journey quicker than you estimated? Stages or touchpoints that take too long are likely to discourage your customers from continuing through the process.
If customers are spending too much time at a specific stage, what can you do to reduce this time? Is there a helpful feature you can deploy to guide customers through? Is there a touchpoint you can eliminate completely or combine with another?
Analyze your success.
Were your expectations met? Were they exceeded? Which touchpoints did your customers seem to be happiest with? Did you meet your goal metrics? Identify the highest points in the journey and the lowest points to gain insight into the customer experience.
Was the customer journey map an accurate outline of how your customers traveled through their journey? Assess the results to further refine your touchpoints and adjust your map.
For the highest points in the map, what did you do right? What were customers happiest with? Analyze your success points and your points that need a little work, and make an actionable plan to adjust the journey accordingly.
Transform Your Customer Experience
At Plexure, we help some of the world’s best known QSR and grocery brands to optimize the lifetime value of their customer base through data-driven personalized experiences and insights
Customer Journey Analytics plays a key role in a comprehensive, omnichannel marketing strategy. This data gives your marketing team the insights you need to undergo a customer journey transformation, minimize frustrations and inefficiencies in the customer experience and ultimately create stickier more profitable relationships with your customers.
With Plexure’s solutions, your team has access to invaluable customer insights (through our analytics platform) that enable you to better manage your relationships and deliver the right engagements at the right moments.
Book a demo today to find out what Plexure can do for you and your customers.