This Is Why Journeys Are More Than A Purchase

Why is the Customer Journey Analytics market so heavily focused on marketing and purchases? Because the market analysts say so.

Purchasing something is, of course, a journey. But, so is making a payment, or adding a service. Really any interaction where you have a goal of accomplishing something is a journey. And it doesn't even have to be "you" trying to accomplish something. "Things" (wearables, devices, sensors, etc.) are also on a mission to accomplish a goal and have a journey, but more on that later.

There has been much written and said about companies looking at things from the customer’s perspective. A great example that I go back to repeatedly is “Outside In”, by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine. But, are most companies really doing this?

Forrester says, "The customer journey spans a variety of touchpoints by which the customer moves from awareness to engagement and purchase." While SurveyMonkey says, "The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer."

Now we're talking! Take that in for a second. "The complete sum of experiences ... when interacting with your company and brand".

Happy customers mean recurring revenue

While increasing sales and revenue opportunities is the bread and butter of any business, it’s very short-sided to not also look at the downstream operational impacts marketing campaigns have on a business and, ultimately, the customer. Let’s be honest, the focus on sales and marketing is about the bottom line and not about the customer’s experience.

Bryan Yeager, in his May 2016 eMarketer report on Brands Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations says, “Many marketers believe there is untapped revenue potential in existing customers. But their budgets continue to be weighted toward acquisition, not retention or loyalty.” 

When making changes to retain customers and improve their satisfaction, there is a positive impact on revenue, but the mindset is completely different than trying to drive sales. You’re not looking for ways to squeeze additional wallet share from customers, but rather taking a deep look at the customer experience that led to canceling an account, providing negative feedback, or becoming a detractor of your company.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) says that, “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%!” So, why all the focus on the purchasing journey, rather than on the entire customer experience during their relationship with a company? Thankfully, this is not the case for ClickFox clients, who are looking at their customer journeys holistically.

Being journey-centric starts at the top

Taking an omniscient view of all the journeys a customer experiences starts with executive leadership. Employees manage to the goals by which they are incented. If their goals are aligned to increased sales, that’s where they will focus. “Outside In” talks about a company instilling a “customer-centric Corporate Culture” through every facet of the company, including: hiring customer friendly people, storytelling, training, and rewards.

When an entire company’s culture is to think of things from the customer’s perspective and to ultimately do what’s right for them, it is much easier to break down silos. We’ve seen some of our clients take this approach all the way through the organizational structure by appointing Journey Managers. For example, if analysis shows an opportunity to improve a customer’s onboarding journey, regardless of channel, the Journey Manager works with the appropriate channel owner to initiate the necessary changes. This approach is in stark contrast to the traditional approach of channel owners (digital, contact center, marketing, etc.) managing their own silo with very little interaction with the other channel owners.

All about the data

A top down corporate culture that puts the customer first in everything they do is a must, but you also need the right tools to dissect complex journeys. Data is being generated by EVERYTHING and it’s trying to speak to us, but if we don’t include it in the journey, we won’t be able to hear it. For example, if we do a "journey to complaint" analysis only using the digital channels (web & mobile), we’re not seeing the full picture. Did the customer visit a retail store weeks prior to the complaint and have a bad experience there? Did they interact with the contact center before complaining? Did they receive an e-mail about an offer they found offensive because it had nothing to do with them? Salient outcomes like churn, complaints, and customer satisfaction require a wider lens.

As my colleague Rogier Van Nieuwenhuizen touches on in his blog – 10 Opportunities that hide in your data – scores and the number of times an outcome occurred will only tell you so much. When looking backward from that outcome over time, including ALL available interaction data, the answers are there! Using the complaint example he mentions, based on the 4k customers that complained with this banking client, through journey science we’re able to see that 77k additional customers had the exact same experience, but did not complain. Clearly these customers required special pro-active treatment to avoid complaints, or worse, cancellation. In a separate Churn related analysis, where at risk customers we identified through journey science and proactively treated, we saw not only an increased rate of retention, but also increased sales for these saved customers.

Connected journey data, over time, lets us see what was previously unseen. In the case of proactively treating the customers that did not complain in the example above, we can now target the customer’s contact method of choice. If a customer interacts with a business primarily in a digital channel, chances are a phone call from an automated dialer isn’t going to reach them...and it might just annoy them. Journey specific metrics, such as “channel of choice” have emerged as an invaluable way to understand how best to personalize communications with customers.

It’s human nature to want to be part of a winning team of which you can be proud. Consumers have been conditioned not to trust companies. If you feel like a company is more interested in selling, or upselling, something to you than making good on an existing commitment, you won’t hang around for long. A new purchase, or product add-on is a privilege gained from having a customer’s trust. While you can, and should, analyze and optimize your purchasing journey, don’t forget the many journeys customers travel with your brand.

Learn the Process Behind Digital Transformation:

Click Here to Download this White Paper

Subscribe to the ClickFox Blog

  • Be the first to know about what's trending in Journey Science
  • Stay up to date with our latest Journey Analytics Products
  • Be a part of the Journey Science movement!