Big Data

How to ensure your customer journey mapping is data-driven


Effective customer journey mapping relies on data - customer insight is the starting point of your mapping. So before you start customer journey mapping, you must ensure that you are using data correctly to steer your project. 

1st Mar 2022

Customer journey mapping is a valuable exercise, providing the basis for all good customer experience design and what needs to be in place to make it a reality.

Customer research and staff knowledge are critical inputs into the proces. But so is your data, and customer insight should be the start point for your mapping.

Before you start mapping your customer journey ensure that you have used your data to focus your project. 

Which audience are you mapping the customer journey for?

The customer or prospect should be absolutely central to mapping the customer journey and it's highly unlikely that there will be a vanilla version of the journey that applies to all customers. 

Your data should play a key role in getting close to the profile of your customers and inform the development of customer personas

We define persona as: "an archetype of your customers that focuses on every interaction with the brand and helps you develop better insights to enhance services, products and communications."

They help you to translate your customers' goals into marketing activities, services, products and communications.

They help us develop better insights and take a highly customer-centric approach to designing marketing activities. 

And when it comes to thinking about a contact strategy to support the journey then segmentation will play a significant role.

Many businesses will segment their customers and prospects based on variables like:

  • Demographics - Age, gender, location, lifestage, lifestyle.
  • Behaviour - with segments like RFM or RFV (Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value).
  • Products or Services.
  • Potential - the propensity of certain customers to respond to a communication or be interested in a particular product or service.

What phase of the journey are you focusing on?

Mapping the entire journey should be your ultimate aim but think about your marketing objectives and where you should start.

A sound understanding of your performance should be derived from your data analysis and the metrics that you have in place.

Generally, the customer journey can be split into 4 phases:

  • Attract. How you identify prospects and start to engage with them.
  • Convert. The first purchase or positive interaction with your brand.
  • Nurture. How you fulfil your first order or onboard a new customers. 
  • Keep. Building an ongoing relationship that activates customers and maximises share of wallet.

If your focus is on customer acquisition and onboarding then take these specific phases and start here. Conversely start with nurturing if your focus is more on retention and activation.

Touchpoint mapping and optimisation

Of course, your data will inform the interactions (touchpoints) that a customer has with your brand and their sequence.

Think of your touchpoints in terms of your:

  • Content and offers and how they are delivered (often as marketing campaigns, events and triggers).
  • Transactions with your business.
  • Channels that are used.

It's also worth measuring engagement levels and the triggers at each touchpoint - were they something that you pushed or that the customer pulled?

And did the customer actually engage (for example, receiving an email has a very different level of engagement to opening and clicking an email link)? 

Identifying barriers and pain points

Mapping the journey is one thing but understanding the 'Moments Of Truth' and your value proposition for different consumers at these points is where you start to get value from the process.

There are two types of moment of truth:

  • Moments of pain - the times when customer expectations are low or when things go wrong (when you don't deliver the service expected). 
  • Moments of glory - the times when your brand exceeds expectations or relieves a key customer pain point.

Data analysis will help you uncover these moments, quantify their occurence and their impact (on future customer behaviour, on costs to service).

Building the business case to change

Your mapping process will inevitably identify risks and opportunities.

If your data has played the four roles above then it should be straightforward for you to build a business case to change the status quo.

Your data should allow you to quantify the impact (benefit) of making changes by understanding the volume of customers affected and the likely change in their behaviour (in terms of frequency and spend) as well the costs that you will incur (the volumes of offers, messages and development that you will have to provide).

Permission to engage and support

Finally, customer journey mapping is predicated on you having or wanting to have direct relationships with your customers.

But do you have permission to engage with customers and use their data?

This is a key element of defining your target audience (so that you understand the level of consent).

Aligning a data strategy with your customer journey is also an important step. It will define what data you need to collect and use at each stage of the journey, why and what's in it for the customer. Completing this step will allow you to then set a strategy for governance, data quality and technology.

Replies (2)

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By leslieolsen
17th Jan 2017 19:53

Great article, and very good points. I would add that when looking to incorporate data into a journey map, it's best to look for a CX/journey mapping tool that is built to integrate the data throughout the process. You'll want one that allows you to import the actual data (either directly from your survey tool and/or via csv), and visualize the results. And, that allows you to pull aspects of the data into the journey map itself. This truly makes the data actionable, in addition to making your journey map more compelling and credible. Nothing helps influence C-level folks like a good story backed up by actual data. SuiteCX is the only tool on the market that allows you to do this.

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By Sahib1989
18th Jan 2017 10:51

A wonderful article indeed. I must say that the key to good customer experience is to understand your customer's behavior and expectations. Once that is mapped, you can devise your strategy in a proper manner to give them what they want.

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