How to Make Smart Decisions Based on Customer Journey Data


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Modern customer journey data offers insights that old-school mapping could only dream of. A platform that integrates all of your channels and provides figures for every touchpoint is invaluable when it comes to getting to know your customers. It also provides a sound basis upon which to base your marketing strategy as a whole.

However, the sheer amount of data we can have at our disposal these days can be overwhelming. Many businesses get lost in the swirl of statistics and fail to use them effectively. Of course, the data your business can collect is only useful if well thought-out strategies emerge from it. Here’s how to make smart decisions based on your stats and really get the most from your customer journey data.

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Start by offering customers choice

Modern day consumers expect choice and rarely use just a single shopping or communication channel. A customer may utilize voice call, email, and social media as part of the same inquiry. Or they may browse for a product online before buying in-store. Before you think about tracking data, make sure you’ve got as many channels covered as your customers desire. You can optimize the customer journey itself through the use of chatbots and other digital devices.

Revise your customer personas

One of the first parts of any marketing strategy is to put customer personas together. Getting to know your customers gives a business more focus when it comes to looking at product range, customer service, and communication methods. Care more about the customer than the sale, and you’ve more chance of securing the latter.

For a business that’s just getting started, you’re unlikely to have much accurate data available when putting together your personas. They’ll partly be based on an educated guess, or you may be able to take some info from competitor research. But accumulating customer journey data can help you revise your personas with real accuracy.

You’ll be able to discover exactly how customers shop, how they contact your service department, and how they navigate your website. This information can be used to improve your business as a whole. The model of companies offering a service and customers having to comply is old hat in 2021. These days, the whole process should be customer led. If you don’t offer what a customer is looking for, your sales engagement will suffer as they’ll simply look elsewhere.

Your data can be used to make the customer experience as personal as possible, meaning there’s more chance that they’ll convert to your cause and remain loyal in future. Consider the compilation of data to be in the same category as any of your other customer support solutions.

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Analyze both failures and successes

In the panic to please customers, it’s easy to get bogged down by focusing only on areas where your business is coming up short. Finding stages of the customer journey where customers are failing to convert or being left unsatisfied is an important part of analyzing your data for sure. But it’s essential to give equal attention to your successes.

This shouldn’t be done as a back-slapping exercise. Successes are of equal importance to failures when it comes to getting to know your customers. If a certain shopping channel is giving your business big wins, then you might use the data to justify increasing expenditure in that area. And there may be logical patterns that you can find within your successes that can be applied to repairing your failures, too.

When analyzing both failures and successes, always put yourself into the mind of the consumer. Ask yourself whether your customer experience strategy is matching expectations. Can you alter the journey to fall in line with how a consumer expects to be treated? Do you need to upgrade your enterprise ecommerce platform so your departments are working more in sync and customer needs can be met?

Hire an expert

The data that we can have at our fingertips can be massive. Data analysis of the customer journey needs to be both accurate and constant. If it’s taking you too long to act upon your findings, you may well be implementing changes too late.

It pays to employ an expert to manage your data, as well as being a translation point for both you and your employees. If your business is large and well-established, it could take a team of experts to manage this properly, and you could consider a solution like Flock to ensure they’re working in tandem.

Businesses need to be ready to change tactics at the drop of a hat. In order to stay relevant within your industry, consider hiring people who can analyze your customer data in real time.

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Use external sources to offer perspective

The value of accurate customer journey data is clear, but don’t forget to look at external sources too. Factors such as weather, days of the week, competitor promotions, and the holiday season can also influence customer behavior.

It’s not enough to simply number-crunch your way through the figures. Data cannot always be taken at face value. Quality analysts need to use psychology in order to interpret data correctly. And when your figures throw up a surprise or two, looking at external factors may provide the answers you’re looking for.

Put data first

A little humility is needed by business owners when it comes to using data effectively. Highly experienced professionals usually have a great knowledge of both their industry and their customers. And there’s often years of success behind what they have to say. It can be difficult for some to put aside their own knowledge and bow down to data as the real expert. After all, it’s hard to ignore your gut instinct when history is on your side.

Of course, there’s a place for experience and it can be invaluable when it comes to running a successful enterprise. But no amount of previous wins can compare to what modern data can offer. Just as you might use product lifecycle management software to track the journey of your equipment – instead of keeping a mental record – data provides far more evidence than human intuition.

Use customer journey data to fulfill objectives

With so much data available, it helps to set objectives prior to any analysis. This can be as simple as putting together a set of questions that you want your data to answer. 

Which shopping channels do our customers prefer? Or which social media platform? How much do customers spend in-store compared to online? Do customers enjoy conversing with a chatbot or are human agents still preferable? Do we need a call center solution provider to better service our customers?

As your business grows, your data will too, and the number of objectives you can seek to answer can get more complex. But having predefined goals in mind before you get to grips with the figures can not only save time – it’ll help you focus on decision-making, too.

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Challenge your findings

It’s a human trait to arrive at a decision and stick with it through thick and thin. But the best analysis should be fluid. This may be difficult when you’ve invested a large amount of time on a particular job, but it’s essential to challenge your own assumptions.

It certainly helps if you’ve a team of analysts working on a project with you, as you’ll likely get several differing viewpoints. But if that’s not possible, then learn to become your own enemy as part of the decision-making process. Try to find differing viewpoints within the same data, and embrace the notion of proving yourself wrong.

Record changes made based on customer data

It’s important that any meaningful changes your business makes as a result of using customer journey data are recorded in detail. The data needs to be presented in a way the whole business understands, so it’s clear to all why a particular decision has been made. 

As data-driven changes mount up, they can also form part of your future analysis if your records are detailed and accurate.

Never stop!

Remember that the customer journey never stops, it simply changes and evolves over time. One month’s findings may justify a whole bunch of smart business decisions that fall out of date six months later. 

Industry changes, competitor actions, new technologies, and unforeseen happenings such as the 2020 global pandemic can all affect customer behavior, and a successful business that wants to be different and stand out needs to act fast.

To continue to make smart decisions based on your data, you need to continually improve upon your processes. Expand upon your tracking metrics, grow your analytics’ team, and never stop looking for new opportunities that can enhance the customer experience.

Samuel O'Brien
Sam O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer for Affise—a Global SaaS Partner Marketing Solution. He is a growth marketing expert with a product management and design background. Sam has a passion for innovation, growth, and marketing technology.


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