Finding the “Shipwrecks” in Your Customer’s Journey


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Are you allowing your customers to shipwreck during their journey with you? If you’re not looking at all of your customer data, you might not even know.

This morning I read the Discovery article, “22 Shipwrecks Found in Single Location in Greece.” Wrecked vessels spanning about 2300 years of history have recently been found clustered around the Fourni archipelago, a group of thirteen small islands in the Aegean Sea. I love history and archeology so I found the whole story fascinating. All of those ships were there, for all of that time, and nobody knew.

A customer journey might not be as dangerous as a sea voyage, but if you don’t analyze customer data effectively, your customers might run aground in places that could have been avoided.

No one knew the shipwrecks were there, because no one had looked. This was the first expedition to the islands, which cover a 17 square mile area. By diving into an area nobody had ever explored before, the team found a treasure. In the same way, if you are neglecting any sources of customer feedback, you are almost certainly missing valuable insights. For example, if you are looking at call center data but ignoring social media, you are only seeing part of the picture. Even if you don’t discover a major problem that is causing prospects to bail or customers to churn, you can find operational improvements that will help the overall customer experience.

You don’t see a pattern if you aren’t looking for one. I’m quite sure that someone noticed each time one of these ships didn’t reach its destination. But because these ships had so little in common (different types of boats, from different historical eras, carrying different kinds of cargo), nobody had made the connection between the missing ships and this one treacherous archipelago—or at least, nobody recently. Until you look closely at your entire customer journey, creating an accurate customer journey map including data from every touchpoint, you will not know what connection there is between your lost deals and your products, processes, or people.

It might be rare, but it is still a disaster. A scientist on the Fourni shipwreck project, Peter Campbell, of the University of Southampton and co-director from US-based RPM Nautical Foundation, noted that, “Given the 22 wrecks and the date spread of the finds, it equals about one wreck per century — a pretty safe bet for sailors.” And while that’s true, it probably wouldn’t be much comfort to the sailors involved in each of these wrecks; I bet they’d have appreciated knowing that they were entering an area where many other ships had gone down before. In the same way, a snag in your buying process might only be affecting a small number of customers, but if it is causing you to lose business, it might be worth addressing the issue. You won’t know if the ROI is significant if you don’t know about the problem in the first place.

The discovery of these twenty-two ships has increased the total number of ancient Greek shipwrecks discovered by 12%. Think about how much your knowledge of your customer will improve if you are looking at every phase of the customer journey. Using customer feedback along with transaction and CRM data will help you avoid shipwrecks, improve the customer experience, and make the customer journey smooth sailing.

Lisa Sigler
Over her fifteen-year career doing B2B technology marketing, Lisa Sigler has become a professional translator of "engineer" to "English." She spent time creating content and collateral in the telecommunications, computer networking, and cloud computing industries before joining Clarabridge as Content Marketing Manager.


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