In an age where customer experience is more important to consumers than product or price, having a thorough understanding of your customers is more essential than ever. It is the key to building long term relationships and providing the products, services and experiences that individual customers demand. Customer journey mapping is the process of unifying customer data to give businesses a single coherent view of their customers. Here, we explain why it is essential in the digital marketplace.
What is customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping is the collection and unification of the data that a customer generates on their journey with the business. Ideally, it is collected from all touchpoints, including in-store and website activity, online and offline interactions, purchase histories and any personal data that an individual has provided. Individually, this gives businesses a cohesive overview of the relationship with the customer and, when combined with the data from other customers, provides a wide range of opportunities for understanding the entire customer base.
Types of data and insights which can be obtained
Customer journey mapping provides businesses with a wide range of data that can be used for varying types of analysis. One of these is behavioural data, which can indicate information about how individuals and groups of customers behave in different situations. This can be used to understand customer behaviour in an extensive range of scenarios, whether it’s their reaction to a global pandemic or economic downturn, or something the business does, like launch a sale or change the website layout. With this information, the company can better predict and plan for change in the future and improve existing services.
Transactional data is another important source of information, providing businesses with vital knowledge about which products are being purchased and returned or which services are renewed or cancelled. This can be useful in procurement, inventory, fulfilment and in the company’s approach to offering omnichannel experiences, such as click and collect, etc.
Communications data has become increasingly vital, helping businesses send consistent messages across all departments and ensuring vulnerable customers don’t fall through unseen gaps. It also gives businesses an understanding of individual customers’ communication channel preferences, allowing them to send the right messages using the most appropriate channels and at the most apt times.
How companies can benefit
There are numerous benefits to customer journey mapping. One of the most important in respect of customer experience is that it enables businesses to provide personalisation. Homepages can be customised to offer the products and services that individual customers are likely to be most interested in, offers can be tailored around those interests and marketing can be personalised to attract customers to those offers and products. Personalisation is not just what the company offers to individuals, it’s also about how it offers things and when. Customer journey mapping is what provides those valuable insights.
Journey mapping also enables businesses to segment their customer base and through this improve their targeting of new and existing customers. It gives them better visibility of potential new customers, what they will be interested in and how to acquire them, while helping retain existing customers by providing them with the experiences they like.
Ultimately, the key benefit of customer journey mapping is that it helps companies make better decisions. Rather than making assumptions about customer attitudes, preferences and behaviours, it provides factual data which can be analysed to glean in-depth insights based on realities. In this way, the margin for error is significantly reduced.
The need for the cloud
The cloud is the ideal solution for businesses wanting to commence customer journey mapping. The main reason for this is that to have a single view of each customer and an overview of all customers, all customer data needs to be unified in a centralised system rather than being kept separate in departmental silos. Cloud storage is the best way to achieve this as it enables data to be collected from all sources, managed effectively, accessed by all who need it, kept secure and most crucially, to be combined and analysed using the latest AI-powered analytics applications.
Additionally, cloud storage is easily expandible to cope with the growth in data being collected and it doesn’t require companies to invest heavily in on-premises hardware, replacing the capital expenditure with a much more manageable monthly fee.
Customer journey mapping opens the door to previously unattainable insights into individual customers and the customer base as a whole. In doing so, it can help businesses provide better customer experiences, products and services, while helping its decision making across the range of their operations. Putting it in place is best achieved through the adoption of cloud storage, a solution that overcomes the obstacles of silos and enables customer data to be unified.