Customer journey management: Eliminating missed opportunities
By Kamil Konikiewicz, SAS Poland
One of the challenges faced by marketing organizations is how to pinpoint and monetize the most crucial paths in the customer journey. It’s not an easy task, but it becomes a more manageable process once you uncover the critical success factors for an effective customer journey management program.
What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is a way of describing the process of shaping customers’ experiences at each stage of the buying cycle, and in a larger scope, influencing their perception of your brand. It is a new way of exploring customer behavior.
In order to more successfully manage the customer journey you need to be aware of every interaction a customer has with your company, whether the interaction is a visit to your website, a response to an email offer, a live webchat or a phone call to your support center. It also requires looking at the customer journey as a series of these interactions, and bearing in mind that what at first might appear to be an unconnected series of events is often a predictable sequence of events occurring across multiple business channels and processes and over an extended time period. These events can be thought of as “moments of truth,” and they offer a clue as to a customer’s true purchase intentions.
Customer journey management allows us to anticipate these moments of truth and is much more efficient than using traditional, decontextualized or aggregated information. It provides a great opportunity to respond to particular sequences of events by:
- Upselling or cross-selling in real time – for example, offering overdraft protection to a bank customer who has overspent recently and has just been informed via an ATM that there are insufficient funds to withdraw cash.
- Retaining customers who are at higher risk of going elsewhere – perhaps offering an additional discount or bonus to a valued customer who has left the sales outlet without extending their service contract.
- Helping customers set up products or services – for example, noticing that a customer with a new mobile phone has failed to connect to the Internet and calling to offer support for the process.
These examples might be obvious and relatively uncomplicated from a business perspective. They do, however, require a disciplined approach as well as a consistent business vision and strategy.
Three pillars of an effective customer journey management program
This means creating an extensive customer data profile to allow comprehensive tracking of each customer’s behavior and interactions with the organization. In addition to attributes and events, this also includes:
- Channel preferences – it is difficult to analyze the customer journey if we don’t know the history of their digital channel behaviors.
- Time – for example, gathering behavioral data (via cookies) from customers before they even register or make their first transaction enables businesses to recommend other products or offer new ranges of goods.
Of course you will want to analyze your data using predictive models or algorithms that, apart from detecting interesting sequences of events (i.e., likely journey paths), also enables identification of segments in which these paths are most important. Analytics is also vital to insights for choosing appropriate offers and the best timing for outbound communication.
Operational efficiency equates to taking action during a moment of truth to enable you to:
- Identifying journeys quickly to enable effective responses. This might be, for example, via complex event processing technology to trace and process hundreds of thousands of events each second.
- Linking information about events with the broader customer context to allow instant analysis of risks or opportunities, and determine the most optimal action.
- Immediate interaction with the customer, often within just a few dozens of milliseconds, especially for digital channel interactions.
These three areas should be treated as complementary and equally important for developing an effective customer journey management program.
Acting as head of analytics and customer intelligence for telecommunications at SAS Poland, Kamil has 10 years of experience gathered during numerous projects for Polish and global customers. Together with his team, he has implemented several innovative solutions in social network analytics, event-driven marketing and recommendation systems. Kamil has also significantly influenced how SAS customers think about analytics and its application a variety of business processes, especially in the area of sales, marketing and fraud management. You can follow Kamil on Twitter: @KonikiewiczK