Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a comprehensive depiction of your customers’ interactions with your brand, of every instance and through every channel. This map identifies the fastest journeys to customer success.
Once the journeys are defined and built out for customers, they need to be measured and adjusted to ensure customer success with minimum friction. Think of mapping as putting your best foot forward to identify how a customer journey should take place. What actually happens when those plans are put to the test in the real world is that customers encounter unanticipated issues. Issues that have a number of solutions. But picking the right solution at the right time requires real-time decision-making mechanisms. That’s where customer journey tracking and optimization come in.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this. Imagine a customer checking a bill on a website. The customer journey mapping exercise suggests showing FAQs next to the bill so the customer can get questions answered quickly. Let’s say the customer needs more help and decides to call. At that point, the customer has to once again pick through a variety of IVR options to even ask her next question. The customer journey map hasn’t failed, but there is a need for smart, real world optimizing mechanisms that will bring the customer quickly back onto the most optimal journey to success.
What is Customer Journey Tracking?
Where mapping is the depiction of the journey, customer journey tracking is the process of capturing, analyzing, and visually rendering the actual experience of customers on a mapped journey.
It involves gathering and unifying information from customer touchpoints across a variety of systems – online and offline, and organizing the information in a way that can be actioned in real time to keep the customer on the most optimal path.
How to Track and Optimize the Customer Journey
Every customer journey has a beginning, middle, and an end. Throughout this journey are touch-points that need to be measured, optimized, and managed. In addition, information about the customer needs to be collected at each of these points.
Detailed information, made readily available, is the key to making sense of the touch-points. At minimum, you need to track the following information about each customer:
- Customer history: How long have they been a customer?
- Channel journey: What channels have they traveled through prior to any direct interaction?
- Events: What interactions have they had previously with your brand? (This includes web account logins, mobile app activity, ATM transactions, etc.)
- Additional profile building: What are their social media handles, email addresses, etc.?
As an additional factor, you must gather and link information about your customers and potential customers as they approach your business in any of these states:
- Truly anonymous: You don’t know who they are, but you’re aware they’re doing something
- Identified: The customer has given you a phone number and/or email address, which can be matched to existing profiles; in other words, the customer hasn’t been authenticated, but you know who it is and can add information to that profile.
- Authenticated: The customer has been identified and authenticated through a password or code; because you know for sure who it is, you can offer a much richer, more meaningful customer experience.
The State of Your Systems
The other challenge with journey tracking is the need to retrieve and update data across a set of disparate systems. You will need to evaluate the systems your company has in place to engage customers, maintain their data, track their billing, and handle any other aspect of the customer journey. If your business is similar to many others attempting customer journey mapping, you will likely discover concerns including the following:
- A set of siloed, disparate systems of varying ages that don’t talk to each other and that cause inefficiencies and frustration.
- An approach that is not truly omni-channel: It doesn’t account for customer activity prior to agent contact, which means that it doesn’t proactively supply opportunities to enhance your customers’ self-service efforts, for instance, or notify your agents that someone needs help in an automated channel.
- A solution that can’t make the most productive use of your agents’ time: How long does it take them to manually update your current CRM, or find the information they need to help any customer? Probably more than you think — Aberdeen’s May 2017 study on contact center workforce optimization found that, on average, agents spend 15 percent of their time seeking relevant information to do their jobs, partially due to them having to use three different applications during a typical interaction.
- And finally, the challenge of accounting for the prohibitive cost, complexity, and technical ability it will take to successfully address these issues.
Connecting the Dots
A customer engagement solution like VHT Navigator breaks through the silos and ensures that the data and context from each contact carries over to subsequent channels, which helps reduce customer time and effort, improves customer interactions, and enables your business to successfully tailor the customer journey.
To do this, Navigator captures the key moments, also known as Waypoints, in customer activity across multiple interactions, multivendor system and channel silos — data not normally aggregated or known. These Waypoints serve as the pins in each customer’s map, pointing the way they’re most likely headed and allowing suggestions to be made to make their trip quicker, more informative, or more convenient, instead of letting them struggle to find their way. Navigator even tracks anonymous visitors until enough identification keys have been gathered to assign their activity to an existing customer or develop a profile for a new customer.
Because Waypoint methodology tracks each journey in real-time, actions can be planned for key points, such as inviting customers to ask questions of product specialists or sending emails to encourage re-engagement with abandoned carts. Other simple additions to the customer journey based on their personal profile can help customers feel empowered that the interactions they have with a brand are being made on their terms, with their interests in mind.
Navigator provides this true omni-channel service through a scalable, agnostic series of 27 API calls. As an external solution, it acts as the glue that collects data from across all your systems, organizes it and gives it back to your agents in an easy, customizable interface. And it includes 40 metrics out of the box to build dashboards showing which channels are being used for which types of customer journeys and showing whatever outcomes and impacts you wish to see: sales made and lost, choke points, abandonments, etc. All of the dashboards are completely configurable and can be customized with any metric.
To learn more about VHT Navigator, which earned Frost & Sullivan’s 2017 New Product Innovation Award in the Contact Center Software market, visit virtualhold.com/navigator.