Hearing the phrase "360-degree view" often triggers a mental image of an action clip from a movie, one with the camera rotating around a slow-speed shot to show all sides of two characters battling in the rain. But what is a 360-degree view of the customer journey and why does it matter?
A 2D Photo or a 3D Statue?
For many, a 360-degree view of the customer is about knowing everything about the customer. Viewing them from all sides, seeing all aspects, collecting every possible detail of the customer. In business context, the idea is to describe the customer using as many variables as possible.
- Who they are: name, married or single, number of children
- What they are: occupation, gender, age
- Where they are: house or apartment, state, ZIP code
- What they have: annual income, buy or rent, number of vehicles, iPhone or Android
The more information you have about your customer, the more detailed your understanding of the customer can be. And, arguably, the more accurate your predictions of their behavior.
360-Degrees of Interactions
Customer journeys, however, are about more than a full picture of who, what, and where the customer is. Customer journeys tell a story about their observed interactions. What is the customer doing, when, and how?
When discussing customer journeys, it's easy to think of the activities initiated by the customer: web site activity, mobile apps, phone calls, face-to-face with a salesperson, paying a bill, making a purchase. But journeys involve two parties - both the customer and the business. So, as you look to build a complete picture - a full 360-degree view - of the customer journeys, you must also look back at yourself, the business. What happens TO the customer is just as important as interactions initiated BY the customer.
For Example: A Financial Story
Customer Joe arrived home on Tuesday to find a letter from his credit card company. In the letter, the bank informed Customer Joe that they had recently completed a review of his credit scores. Because of his spend patterns and income levels, the bank chose to reduce Customer Joe's credit limit.
Customer Joe didn't ask for this credit review. He didn't ask for his credit limit to be reduced. It's just part of the bank conducting business. Unfortunately, Customer Joe is now embarrassed and frustrated - feelings that reflect directly on his opinion of the bank.
Exploring Hidden Events
Events like the credit limit adjustment happen frequently and in every industry: product updates, pushed software updates, automatic rewards and discounts, stolen identities, or hacked personal records. There are many things that happen to a customer that they didn't request or initiate. Some, the business can control; others, neither the customer nor the business directly controls.
We need to bring these hidden events into our analyses and learn from them. These can be critical events, often acting as pivotal influences on customer decisions and behaviors. Your view of the customer journey is not complete until you have included all activity performed by or to the customer.