4 Steps to Creating a 360-Degree View of the Customer Journey

We often compare journey analytics to blind dating. In today’s world, people will often meet online prior to meeting in person. If you think about it, there is a lot of information you can find about someone before meeting—you may have access to an online profile, you can search their social sites to learn more about them in a way that isn’t creepy. When you know the location of where your first date may be, you can even download the menu ahead of time to pick out your meal. And then the day arrives, and there you sit across the table from what you’ve planned to be a perfect date. But as the conversations starts, you fumble through your words and possibly say the wrong things or have a completely disconnected conversation. All the research didn’t work because you forgot to prepare for the conversation, and so it fails. Also imagine that while you’re across from your date, there are three others out there competing with you.

Similar to online dating, in marketing we can become so engulfed with the behavioral analysis that we forget the other side of the coin: motivational analysis. Here we’ll cover four steps to developing a 360-degree customer journey to not only prepare for the customer but to succeed in the overall conversation and foster years of loyalty.

We live in a new age of expectations from the consumer. Think back 10 or 15 years and recall your expectations for a shipping delivery. If it happened within a week, you were delighted. Today, that expectation is about two days, and could even be two hours. Our demands have risen, and if they’re not met, we move on to the next brand.

An Ovum study recently found that “75 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company following a bad experience,” yet we learn from Econsolutancy that “95 percent of large companies say that their organizational structure is a main barrier to improving customer experiences.” The following approach to building a customer journey framework is not just to improve the consumer experience but something for the organization to build on to break through that barrier.

1. Discovery

A thoughtful approach to discovery is key to the success of developing your customer journey framework. The discovery process serves five key purposes: (1) to understand the past; (2) to build on prior best practices ; (3) to find past pitfalls; (4) to understand each team’s expectations; and (5) to gain buy-in, which is one the most important reasons for this exercise.

Without buy-in, the rest of the work outlined below can be fruitless. We have found the following practices to be effective in support of these five purposes. Spend time going through and summarizing past research to glean from any past learnings. In this deep dive, be sure to uncover prior or current journeys. Inevitably, you will find old frameworks, current frameworks, and even journey frameworks being used that you may not know about.

Additionally, take the time to talk to people throughout your organization. Small groups (four or five people) are typically the most effective, and these discussion usually last 60 to 90 minutes. The size of your origination will vary on the effort needed, typically 15 to 20 interview sessions. Carefully preparing documented questions to guide these conversations, taking copious notes, and sharing your findings, without recommendations, is critical. Yes, I did say without recommendations. This is a time to learn and gather, not prioritize. Last, if you have the ability, I highly recommend organizing a customer journey workshop with those who inform and control the customer journey today. This brainstorming exercise can be another input into the future-state journey structure, again gaining buy-in from the owners.

2. Behavioral Analytics

This is where we begin to do a deep dive on the data that’s available to you. Look at the behaviors of not just individuals but find larger patterns of behaviors among groups of people. In the past, attribution has been the heavy user of event-stream data. However, we are now beginning to see data scientists stitch together this data to further understand the behaviors of consumers and to inform customer experiences. Martin Kihm of Gartner says it best: “It’s time for a new kind of analytics. It’s time for a fourth dimension. Time to recognize the reality of cause and effect, of unpredictable decisions and uncertainty and motion in marketing. It’s time for a new approach to measuring and improving the way we talk to our people.” It’s time, in other words, for real customer journey and behavioral analytics. 

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