How can a customer journey lead to data enlightenment?

6th Nov 2014

Customer journey mapping has many applications to enable an enhanced relationship between you and the customer, including:

  • Understanding and improving the customer experience.
  • Providing a platform for delivery of effective, timely and relevant communications.
  • Enabling a consistent and efficient level of customer service.
  • Improved customer retention, through understanding how they transition through each stage in their purchase lifecycle.

There are numerous techniques and tools to help in the discovery, defining and delivery of customer journey maps, all of which provide insight into your customers, where they are on their journey with you and the key influence/decision points.

This understanding of you customer’s key touchpoints also enables you to identify potential and actual areas of data capture within and around your business.

Data awareness through my customer’s journey

Taking a typical customer journey map, such as a journey completed when choosing a new mobile phone, you will have defined the activity completed by each touchpoint:

This single journey provides eight points of data capture and raises the questions, “am I capturing any data at any of the customer touchpoints?” and “what type of data am I capturing?”

To answer the first of these two questions following a simple yes/no questionnaire on each touchpoint will provide confirmation that data is being captured. As follows:

  1. Are you able to measure the touch point at some level, in terms of success, volume of activities, value of activities, etc? In general terms are any reports/ad-hoc analysis available on the touchpoint?
  2. Do you know how to access the data provided from the touchpoint?
  3. Do you have an understanding of all the data provided in the touchpoint, in terms of available content, possible values and value meanings? (e.g. Gender = 1, means ‘Female’). In general terms do you have a data dictionary or equivalent details provided in the data access system?

Answering 'yes' to any of these questions means data is being collected, it may not be in an easily accessible, centralised and validated form, but the data collection process has begun for that given touchpoint.

What type of data exists?

For each touch point different levels of data will be available, ranging in quality, completeness and accuracy. To understand which type of data is available a second yes/no questionnaire can be completed, looking at four core data characteristics:

1. Do you know the individual? (Identity data)

At the heart of any marketing initiative is the customer, or specifically knowing who the individual is. Any information provided which can help determine this will enable you to build a single view of your customer and gain a true, current and complete picture of who they are and how they are behaving. This provides the first data characteristic which I have coined ‘Identity Data’ and includes any information which enables an individual to be uniquely identified – name details, postal Address, email address, social network identifier, account details, etc.

2. How do they interact with you? (Quantitative data)

Once you understand who the individual is the next element is the measurable operational data, which enables you to understand how your customer has behaved, transacted or reacted with your business. This includes any information which describes activity completed between the customer and your business – transactional details, communication details, website activity, customer service interactions, etc.

3. What else describes your customer? (Descriptive data)

To gain a fuller perspective of your customer, additional profile information is crucial, providing family details, lifestyle details, career details, etc.

4. What will you customer’s behaviour be? (Qualitative data)

The final characteristic goes beyond who the individual is and how they interact with you, looking at attitudinal information (how do you rate our customer care, are you likely to purchase from us again, etc.), opinion (favourite newspaper, favourite sport, etc.) and motivational (did you purchase the product for personal use, what was the key reason for purchasing your product from us, etc.)

Answering this second set of questions enables you to quickly garner the current sources of customer data and the level of information available, highlighting key points of strength and weakness with those identified influence and decision points along your customer’s journey.

Jim Roberts is the founder of the consultancy BlacklerRoberts Ltd and is an experienced marketing professional with over 18 years experience in the direct marketing arena across multiple industry sectors, including financial, leisure, retail, and charity. For a more in depth look at understanding your data and improving how it is managed and used, Roberts has authored an ebook entitled: “Managing Customer Data to Improve ROI”.

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