Some say it's the journey—not the destination—that really matters. When it comes to your customers, it's both. They have a goal or destination in mind, but the journey they take to get there defines the experience and how they perceive your brand. Most consumers achieve their goal with your brand across multiple interactions. Just one terrible, disjointed experience can send them straight to your competition.
That's why it's so important to understand when, where and how customers connect with your business. The always-on consumer is using over four devices and jumping from one to another over a period of time. Your analytical tools are most likely looking at channels independently. This makes it difficult to understand the whole picture of how your customers interact with your brand. A multi-event, multichannel path is a complex puzzle that today's analytical tools aren't equipped to handle.
A study from IBM and eConsultancy found that 81% of companies say they have (or are close to having) a holistic view of their customers. And yet, only 37% of customers agree that their favorite retailer understands them. That's a significant disconnect that is having a direct impact on businesses. Additionally, IBM's 2016 CMO study found that bad customer experiences result in $83 billion in lost sales each year.
It's not surprising that marketers are having such a tough time understanding their customers. After all, marketing isn't the only team that influences the customer journey. Sales, commerce, customer service and support all have a stake in the journey, too. Each of these teams has its own set of customer data and analytical tools, and they are siloed, unable to connect a customer from web to email to mobile app to call center to store. That makes it difficult to view what's happening across channels and to answer questions such as:
- Who are my most valuable customers?
- What role does each channel play in the buyer journey?
- Where do my customers come from?
- What set of actions led to a conversion?
- How do my mobile marketing campaigns impact in-store sales?
With the ability to answer questions like these, you begin to see your customers clearly. The right customer journey analytics tool empowers you to understand the end-to-end journey, gain insights to design exceptional experiences and improve business outcomes by increasing customer loyalty and lifetime value.
To assist as you embark on your quest to understand your customers' journeys, here are five best practices that can help you find success:
- Make it simple to access the insights you uncover.
- Continually improve results through collaboration across teams.
- Know which cross-channel paths lead to results, such as purchasing, registration or abandonment.
- Optimize engagement by determining what to offer—and when to offer it—during the journey.
- Get the most value from your data by connecting it from across all customer touch points.
Defining a holistic customer journey is difficult, but the right technology can make it a lot easier. In today's hypercompetitive landscape, understanding how customers expect to engage with your brand is what will set you high above the rest.
The best part is the payoff: Organizations utilizing a robust journey analytics solution can increase revenue while enabling marketing professionals to craft superior customer experiences that will keep customers coming back.
About the Author
Ken Bisconti is the worldwide business leader for IBM's Customer Analytics software solutions, a core component of IBM's customer engagement portfolio. He manages IBM's digital analytics (Coremetrics), customer behavior analytics (Tealeaf) and omnichannel journey analytics solutions and is a key proponent of IBM's Cognitive Commerce strategy. Ken has more than 25 years of experience at IBM, most recently as VP of IBM Enterprise Content Management, where he integrated FileNet into IBM and helped bring Datacap, PSS Systems and StoredIQ into the industry's largest ECM business. He holds a bachelor's degree in quantitative economics and decision sciences from the University of California at San Diego.
About the Sponsor
Customer engagement solutions from IBM help you create unbreakable bonds with your customers. Through a powerful set of tools and solutions for marketing, e-commerce and customer analytics, you can understand your customers, identify the moments that matter most and respond immediately with experiences that surprise and delight. Become a customer-oriented business, unleash the power of cognitive commerce and tap into an endless universe of information and possibilities.