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Navigating the Customer Journey

Historically, as marketers, we’ve had a relatively straightforward task—to fill the sales funnel and keep prospects moving through it. The path was somewhat linear. A company would place an advertisement in a newspaper, create a television commercial, or send a direct mail piece to entice consumers to come into their stores to make a purchase. Times have since changed, and the customer experience is different now. The pathway to making a purchase is no longer linear; it has become a confusing maze. These days, the focus must be on connecting with a customer at his or her location.

B2B and B2C buyers have more information at their disposal than ever, so they will do their research before making a purchase. They will visit websites on their mobile devices, consult social networks, talk to friends and colleagues about their experiences, or read third-party reviews before committing to a decision.

In the past, marketers that were focused on personalizing communications needed to understand what the targeted customer was buying so they could get their messaging right. Now, in addition to understanding what customers buy, you must also understand how they buy and which interactions will lead to a decision. To put it simply, today’s marketers must have a clear picture of the customer journey. The customer journey describes all of the interactions that an individual has with a company via all channels (telephone, digital, in-branch, face-to-face, broadcast media, etc.) over time. By understanding the sequence, nature, and importance of the steps in the customer’s journey, you can better determine the triggers, drivers, and barriers that influence sales. In addition to more effectively promoting a particular product or service, we can determine how to add value to an offer.

In the most recent survey from InfoTrends—Customer Engagement Technologies: State of the Market—more than 300 enterprise business executives were surveyed to understand their views on the customer journey. The surveyed executives provided a clear indication that good data at every touchpoint was at the heart of delivering a customer journey that yielded business results. Capturing and collecting data at each and every touchpoint is beneficial to executives as well as their end customers. When respondents were asked about their top data analytics initiatives, capturing better customer experience data was the most popular response. Capturing quality data is of critical importance because it helps executives move their customers to the next step in the overall journey.

As marketers gather data across customer touchpoints, the intent is to utilize that data for customer journey mapping. A customer journey map is defined as a framework that maps out the stages of your customer’s lifecycle. It enables you to improve the customer experience by helping to understand how your customers are interacting and what areas you should invest in moving forward. As part of the overall customer journey data gathering process, you should be looking at the following:

  • Devices used
  • Engagement channels (e.g., websites, e-mail, social media, SMS, display ads, newspaper ads)
  • The touchpoint sequence
  • Content consumed and actions taken
  • Timing of each engagement
  • Lapsed time until the next action

Among the organizations that InfoTrends surveyed, more than 80% were engaging in some form of customer journey mapping (cross-departmentally or for individual departments/business units). Enterprises understand that bringing all this data together enables a richer understanding of a customer’s purchasing patterns and establishes a baseline for predicting the behaviors of like customer segments.

Once these organizations have effectively mapped out the customer journey, they are leveraging it to improve their communication strategy. They want to utilize this insight for budget allocation, channel optimization, content development for each touchpoint, and campaign planning. Understanding customer data and the customer’s purchasing path makes it easier to design cross-channel campaigns that provide the right content at the right touchpoint in the right sequence. Of the enterprises that InfoTrends surveyed, 83% agreed that they were aligning customer communications across individual touchpoints in the customer journey. Meanwhile, 82% had created dashboards that give visual real-time insight into the customer journey. Another 80% agreed that they could capture data from one touchpoint and make it available to another touchpoint almost in real time.

Many of you are in the midst of making a major business transformation, and this is never easy. You need to deliver relevant information at the right time in the right sequence via the right channel. Here at Tukaiz, we understand the importance of knowing about your business as well as how your customers engage with you. We want to make it easier for you to engage and communicate with your customers. We want to make it easier for you to engage and communicate with your customers. Let us show you how personalization and multi-channel engagement can align with the overall customer journey and help you transform your business.