Customers don’t just buy your products or services. They also buy your experience. In fact, almost nine out of ten consumers say the customer experience a brand provides is just as important, if not more so, than what it actually sells.
This means you need to keep a close eye on how customers are interacting with you at every point of their journey. From getting them beyond the initial interest phase and turning a prospect into a warm lead to providing long-term customer support to prevent churn, it’s essential you have a thorough understanding of how users are interacting with your brand at every touchpoint.
Getting to know your customer journeys
Doing this ensures you know what pain points are preventing customers from moving to the next stage of the customer journey, but it can go so much further. It can help you develop more individualized roadmaps that take into account the unique desires of each customer. You can then tailor your offerings and ensure they are presented in the right way to boost retention or increase overall customer lifetime value.
However, you can’t do this unless you know what issues you currently have, and to do this, you need to gather feedback. Yet this isn’t as simple as it appears.
3 types of feedback to factor into your customer journey analytics
There are various ways you can gain insight into your customer journey – and the most obvious are often not the most valuable, Therefore, it’s important to understand the different types of feedback available and how to make them work for you.
The simplest way to do this is with direct feedback. This comes in two forms – solicited, such as the use of survey forms and other direct questioning, and unsolicited, where customers take the initiative to get in touch without being asked, such as customer complaints or comments.
One of the problems with this is that it can only give you a limited view of what’s going on. Even making sure you’re asking the right questions in surveys is no small task, and asking them in the wrong way can lead to bias, over-rationalization or influenced responses. Brands can often interpret customer feedback incorrectly if not done professionally, as businesses often have a different view of their brand than their customer, which can lead to them missing issues in the feedback that are obvious from the outside. What’s more, this type of activity will only ever reach a certain section of your users and can lead to biased feedback.
Similarly, indirect feedback also involves customers sharing their thoughts, but they’re not doing it directly to you – which means customer experience pros have to go out and find it. Social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook are great places to start with this, as are customer review sites such as Trustpilot or Yelp.
You can build indirect feedback into your customer journey analytics with the right tools, such as social media monitoring, customer relationship management software and customer review site subscriptions, but this remains a relatively resource-intensive way of gathering essential feedback and the volume of feedback can not be guaranteed to be representative of your customer base.
The hardest type of response to secure is implicit feedback. In other words, this is what your customers aren’t telling you. This is often much more valuable to your customer experience efforts than the above types of feedback, but it’s also much harder as it’s inferred from the actions users take rather than what they say.
For instance, while some highly frustrated users may make complaints either directly to you or on social media, this might only identify the most glaring problems. In many cases, it can be smaller, less obvious pain points that cause potential customers to abandon a business, and they usually won’t tell you directly why – often because they’ve already moved on. Capturing implicit feedback from analyzing customer actions can also lead to better predictive insights, which could for example, identify when an existing customer is about to churn, allowing preventative action to be taken.
But with the right analytics tools, you can monitor every step of their customer journey to see what paths they’re taking, where any issues occur and what might happen next.
Why customer journey analytics matters
Implicit feedback can cover a huge range of data points and metrics. For instance, sales figures are one obvious metric, while website and mobile app engagement, customer support records and churn patterns all contribute to implicit feedback.
This is where having a strong customer journey analytics platform can prove especially valuable. This can look directly at how customers interact with your brand and help you hone in on issues. For example, if there is a particular bottleneck in your sales or onboarding process where a large number of customers are dropping out of the process, these tools help you spot it and see what’s wrong.
It also helps to spot trends and make connections between groups of customers. Do people from certain demographic backgrounds or income levels have different journeys than others? What channels do particular individuals prefer to receive communication through? How do they typically move from one stage to the next?
These questions can only be answered with advanced customer journey analytics tools. Having the right solutions ensures you are well-equipped to convert leads into paying customers – and crucially, keep them for the long term.