How Brands Can Make the Customer Journey More Data Driven for CX

Brands must ensure customer journeys are as accurate and relevant as possible so customers and prospects can be guided into the appropriate parts of the funnel.

Consumers have more options than ever to engage with a brand, and those customers are more sophisticated and digitally savvy than ever before, so it is incumbent on brands to both retain loyal customers and acquire new customers as cheaply as possible.

These digital-first customers are not afraid of switching brands if their experience during their customer journey is not a positive or valuable one. In fact, 86% of consumers will leave a brand they were once loyal to after only two to three bad customer experiences.

Brands must ensure their customer journeys are as accurate and relevant as possible so they can guide customers and prospects into the appropriate parts of the funnel. And as customers move through that funnel, brands must provide the most relevant, personalized customer experience along the way.

For marketers to manage and modify the full customer journey effectively, they must have an in-depth understanding of their customers’ and prospects’ behaviors across all channels. To get that level of customer insight, marketers need good clean customer data to inform their activities. 

And they will need the right technology solutions to both gather and integrate that data, and display it in a way that provides actionable, data-driven guidance to their marketing teams for constructing and tailoring the customer journey and its accompanying customer experience. 

The customer experience is critical to the future of every brand, regardless of industry. US companies are estimated to lose $75 billion to $1.6 trillion per year due to poor customer service experience. 

What Is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey represents the full life cycle of the relationship between a brand and customer, focusing on their business relationship across multiple interactions over time.

A standard customer journey has the following stages:

  • Awareness: When someone discovers your company for the first time.

  • Acquisition: When a visitor becomes a customer by purchasing your product or service and signing up for email.

  • Onboarding: This is when you send welcome, update and offer emails to new customers.

  • Engagement: When an existing customer repeatedly buys from you, reads or watches your content, or interacts with your business on social media.

  • Advocacy: When a loyal customer becomes an evangelist for your product or service, telling others about how great you are.

A More Data-Driven Customer Journey

Being able to incorporate more data-driven practices into the customer journey means first understanding customers wherever they may be interacting with your brand. According to a Salesforce survey, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs. 

Organizations deploy a variety of data-management software tools and platforms to glean insights into their customer base. These platforms, which include customer relationship management, customer data platform and digital monitoring products systems, gather disparate customer data and integrate it so it can be used to affect the customer experience with personalization. 

Using the appropriate data management tools for industry and customer needs, brands can collect customer information such as behavioral, transactional and identity data, persistently over time. Depending on the tools deployed, some data management platforms can interconnect with the rest of your technology stack to deliver data out to affect personalization on the web or in other channels.

Related Article: 4 Strategic Approaches to Customer Journey Mapping

Orchestrating the Customer Journey

By using technology like data management platforms to become more data-driven, customer journey orchestration allows marketers to analyze customer interactions throughout the full customer journey, while delivering relevant content and messaging wherever those customers may be. When marketers leverage a data-driven customer journey map, it gives them actionable insights from the awareness stage, through acquisition, onboarding, engagement and advocacy.

Through the creation of these customer journey stages, marketers can visually see how customers engage with the brand, giving them insights into the channels they use, and the messages that work best to engage and convert at every stage.

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