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An essential guide to customer journey analytics

9 min. Read

Understanding your customers is critical to the success of any brand. If you don’t know exactly who your target audience is and what their motivations are, you’ll find it difficult to connect with them and it will be harder to deliver a positive return on investment for your activities.

As well as making your interactions more personal, a strong knowledge of how your audiences act is vital in improving your customer journey, from the initial marketing funnel through to post-sale support and building an ongoing relationship.

A strong awareness of what customers want, where their pain points lie and what drives their ultimate buying decisions is therefore the key to future profitability, not to mention higher customer satisfaction. And this is where customer journey analytics comes in.

How customer journey analytics can improve your customer experience

Customer journey analytics refers to using all the data you have on your users to understand the way they behave across all of your brand’s touchpoints. This covers everything from how they respond to your marketing materials to their experience when contacting customer service agents and how likely they are to complete your desired action.

Taking the next step could be anything from signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase to opting into a specific offer or program. But none of this is possible unless you can reliably predict what they will respond best to.

What are the stages of customer journey analytics?

The ideal customer journey will be unique to every business, depending on what you do and how you position your brand. For a retailer, it might be a relatively short one, persuading them to make a purchase by highlighting the benefits of a product. For a telco or financial services company, on the other hand, the conversion may only be the start, as the real value comes in future upselling or cross-selling opportunities, while reducing churn at the end of contract periods is also a priority.

However, while the specifics may vary, the basic stages usually remain the same. These are:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Engagement
  • Purchase
  • Support
  • Retention

Therefore, it’s important that when developing a customer journey analytics plan that you have specific actions for each of these and map out what will be required to move customers to the next stage.

Why is customer journey analytics important for your CX?

Good customer journey mapping can be used across your organization. For instance, it has clear applications when it comes to optimizing your sales and marketing campaigns, by helping understand what your customers’ drivers are and what will persuade them to take the next step. But it also has a vital role to play in delivering a better customer experience to existing users.

For example, it can be highly useful when it comes to optimizing your contact center activities. On a basic level, this can show you the routes users take and which touchpoints they typically go through before getting a resolution to any query, as well as what their preferred channels are. This allows you to focus your resources accordingly and meet your customers where they want. 

It can also tell you what type of offers or promotions they would be most likely to respond to and how they would prefer to be contacted, among a wide range of critical customer insight that helps users feel positive about your brand and build long-term relationships.

What are the benefits of using customer journey analytics software?

Dedicated analytics tools offer an in-depth understanding of how customers are interacting with your brand at every point. For example, they can show you where your website is and is not working effectively in a way the likes of Google Analytics can’t. Other benefits your business can gain from these services include:

  • Deep insights into individual needs and expectations
  • Accurately predict customer behavior
  • Pinpoint where barriers to progression lie
  • Gain a single source of customer feedback
  • Identify key milestones
  • Guide future strategy
  • Improve overall revenue

Ultimately, a good customer experience analytics program helps your brand become more customer-centric. In turn, this not only increases your chance of converting leads into buyers, but helps you hold onto them for the long term by demonstrating you understand their desires.

Which verticals are adopting customer journey analytics solutions?

All businesses will be able to benefit from a deeper understanding of the customer journey. In a highly competitive environment, the need for greater customer engagement is higher than ever and a relevant, tailored customer journey can help brands stand out from their competitors when potential customers are making their decision.

However, there are a few key industries where this technology has already proven to be highly useful. According to a report from Markets and Markets, the leading sector for investments in customer journey analytics is financial services, including banking and insurance.

Other verticals that are increasingly looking at the technology include:

  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • IT
  • Hospitality
  • Media and entertainment
  • Energy and utilities

5 ways business teams benefit from customer journey analytics

Done correctly, a good customer journey analysis can have a wide range of benefits. However, there are several use cases within these activities that can be particularly valuable. Here are a few essential applications for these tools that every brand should be able to benefit from, regardless of the sector they operate in or who their target audiences are.

  1. Understanding where customers drop out of the funnel

Good analytics can help spot patterns in customer behavior that will be invaluable in improving your offerings – and they shouldn’t be limited to the people who actually complete the buying process. For example, one crucial element you need to know is where in the funnel you’re losing potential customers.

If there is a certain customer touchpoint or step of the process that’s particularly problematic, you can hone in on it and fix the issue. For instance, is a signup page asking for too much information? Is your demo video not clear enough? Is your checkout process too time-consuming? 

These are all issues that you may otherwise be unable to spot, as potential customers who do abandon their journey prior to conversion are unlikely to give direct customer feedback on why.

  1. Measuring how customers interact on each channel

Understanding how your customers use the various channels available to them is also vital in ensuring you’re directing your resources effectively and providing the best possible CX. Without analytics, for example, you may not realize what percentage of your users are trying and failing to get support via a chatbot before turning to a phone call, or whether your mobile app is missing key features customers expect, forcing them to turn elsewhere.

Another common reason for brands to lose business is if the transition between channels isn’t seamless – for example, if they have to repeat information or encounter a different customer experience. Being able to spot these customer pain points is made much easier with the right tools.

  1. Finding and tracking issues as they happen

An effective customer journey analytics tool should also be able to give near real-time insight into your customer needs and expectations, and swiftly alert you if they aren’t being met.

In today’s environment, the ability to respond quickly matters. As well as being able to address any pain points as soon as they become a problem, predictive analytics can also anticipate evolving customer needs, helping you adapt your messaging and offerings based on any changes in their circumstances. 

For example, if a telco customer is reducing their data usage or looking at cheaper tariff options, this can indicate a decline in their financial position. You can use this knowledge to direct them to a more suitable offering and avoid suggesting paths that lead to upsell opportunities they are unlikely to appreciate.

  1. Identifying which customers are most likely to take a given path

Customer journey maps can also help you better understand the buyer persona of a consumer and how this will fit into your pipeline. For example, are certain people more likely to conduct all their activities via a mobile app, or get in touch with customer support via social media? Who will be more likely to appreciate speaking in person to a customer support agent? There are a lot of nuances that go into this, and high-level demographic data alone isn’t enough to plan a strategy.

Knowing how the individual customer persona affects their behavior lets brands tailor their CX for various campaigns or customer segmentation categories. Therefore, they can develop a range of specific customer journey maps and send individual customers down the most appropriate journey right from the start.

  1. Spotting customers who require additional support

Understanding which of your customers would benefit from a more hands-on approach can help in a number of ways, but it’s especially useful when it comes to customer retention and churn by highlighting high-risk customers, as well as providing more support to customers who will require help with their decision-making.  This approach helps you direct your resources to better serve your customers efficiently.

Using your data to create a customer journey map

The benefits of creating a customer journey map template you can use to guide your decision-making are clear. But how should you go about this? In many cases, the data you need to gain this insight already exists within your business, but the real challenge comes in unlocking and interpreting this in the right way. This is what specialized customer journey analytics tools will be able to help you with.

How is customer journey analytics different from other analytics tools?

There are a wealth of business intelligence options available for businesses seeking to learn more about their customers. Whether it’s Google Analytics’ style website reports, or customer lifetime value analytics that show which of your user base is most important to your performance, there’s a lot of data to get to grips with.

Basic customer mapping tools can show you what customers do as they progress through their journey, but where full customer journey analytics differ is their focus on the who and the why behind a user’s decision-making. 

It takes a customer-centric view that helps you understand every individual customer on a personal level. In turn, this enables you to develop much more relevant customer segment strategies that can be adapted to each key buyer persona.

What does customer journey analytics software do?

When it comes to asking your users what they want and how they feel about your brand, direct customer feedback methods such as survey software can only get you so far. Analytics software helps you tap into indirect feedback based on actual customer behavior at each stage of their journey.

To do this, it works at scale to analyze huge volumes of data, including customer relationship management information, transactional data, care interactions and much more. This helps provide a holistic, 360-degree of your customers that takes into account every touchpoint.

This can help determine why behavior may differ between customers who have seemingly-similar demographic profiles, or even why the same customer may react in an unexpected way at different times. 

How to use customer journey analytics to optimize your user journey touchpoints

Customer analytics software should also be simple to use by any member of your team, regardless of their role. When done correctly, it will help marketers understand what the most effective techniques and messaging will be for certain groups, whereas CX professionals and customer support specialists should be able to query the data to gain insights into their areas without turning to business intelligence and data analytics teams. 

By having the right data on hand by the right people, exactly when it’s needed, employees can make the necessary adjustments to the touchpoints they have direct responsibility for without having to wait for data science teams to offer their interpretations.

Ultimately, using these tools enables brands to make data-driven decisions that impact the entire customer journey. Whether it’s making a good first impression at the initial touchpoint or upselling a long-standing customer to improve their overall value to the business, having the right information at your fingertips lets you create the most appropriate customer journey strategy that meets the unique needs of each individual.