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From Point A to Point B: How Customer Journey Analytics Can Transform Today’s New Customer Experience

Imagine for a second the consumer journey. It starts with a need or desire to make a purchase. It ends with the investment in hand. But that path—from idea to purchase—can take many twists and turns.

Those paths should be as smooth as possible, but that’s not always the case. A botched customer service call or a website that keeps crashing can send a consumer to a competitor for the long term.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly complicated the customer journey even more as companies must rely more fully on their digital presence and less on face-to-face interaction, and even voice-to-phone interaction. As this new normal continues to evolve, companies will need visibility into the customer experience across online and digital channels. This kind of insight allows them to fix problems sooner rather than later and continue to evaluate processes for meeting customers’ changing needs.

This is important because customer loyalty was already challenging enough before COVID-19. Making sure the customer experience is as smooth as possible is key to succeeding in this new economic uncertainty, which includes increased competition from companies that are pivoting and expanding their digital strategies, and quickly evolving consumer preferences.

Making sure the customer experience is as smooth as possible is key to succeeding in this new economic uncertainty, which includes increased competition from companies that are pivoting and expanding their digital strategies, and quickly evolving consumer preferences.

Companies are getting more visibility into the customer journey through analytics that reveal customer engagement across channels and enable them to measure how changes to their processes are meeting customers’ needs.

New Normal Readiness

As brick-and-mortar locations have closed and other changes have taken place, one of the many challenges companies face is that the digital channels they’re relying on more have not been battle-tested. Whether mobile or online, these channels may not be ready for the extra load of visitors and usage, so businesses must have a lens into how those avenues are reacting to the excess weight. Teams need data to see what’s going on along their customers’ journeys and to guide their responses to problems. It’s also important to monitor how teams are coping with changing demands.

Certain activities will increase, and others will decrease in the new normal. For example, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a steady migration to call centers as physical channels shut down, according to BryterCX. This Mastercard partner, which provides customer journey management solutions, says this migration happened when self-service channels broke down and customers were forced to call the business for help. This drove up costs and impacted satisfaction rates as many call centers shut down when social distancing didn’t allow customer service teams to work together in an office.

How teams respond to this new reality will impact the overall customer experience, so companies need to adapt to the increased customer support load quickly. This can be challenging given the inelastic nature of resources, especially when operations are being disrupted. Organizations need to adopt mitigation strategies to manage the spikes in support load. For example, airlines have implemented prioritized callbacks, so customers are not endlessly waiting on hold. Other tactical strategies include prominent announcements on websites to inform customers of their options and the channels better equipped to support them.

Looking at Customer Experience in a Whole New Way

Customer journey analytics enable businesses to have more visibility of customer needs and preferences by observing their behavior across channels and interactions. Traditional channel analytics focus on visitor metrics within a single channel, such as channel adoption or service times. Omni-channel customer journey analytics tracks customer journeys over a more extended period and across multiple channels, from the start of activity until the customer succeeds (or gives up). This enables businesses to use customer intent and demographics to provide more customized responses to speed up resolution. For example, having visibility into customer channel failures and repeat support calls enables the business to see which products and activities drive the support calls, differences by customer demographics and which agents are more effective at resolving them.

BryterCX recently worked with a bank that added a feature to its mobile app allowing its customers to add funding to their cards. The mobile app data showed they were successfully reloading the funds, but 60% of those customers called the bank to confirm the transaction within two hours. An analysis revealed that the systems weren’t talking to each other, allowing the bank to fix the problem early on.

Journey analytics allows organizations to look at the experience in a whole new way. Insight into customer experience has traditionally come from surveys, which can be beneficial, but the feedback is attitudinal. Collecting survey answers takes time to collect and could be biased depending on when and how the customer is reached. Journey analytics show the customer’s near real-time path and their behavior. For example, if they clicked on a product and the site didn’t show the product information. Or if a customer gets stuck during the payment process.

Insights into customer needs and preferences also enable the business to create more effective self-service solutions via more cost-efficient channels. For example, allowing the customers to pay bills using interactive voice response (IVR) systems instead of calling a live agent. But this is more than moving customers from one channel to another. A business should anticipate the customer needs, build delightful self-service experiences and measure their effectiveness. All of these require a holistic view of customer journeys beyond discrete interactions.

The Path Forward

Customer needs and preferences will continue to evolve even as lockdown orders end, and people feel more comfortable emerging from their homes. The proliferation of new touchpoints will make it even more critical for businesses to understand their customer journeys across all channels. Journey analytics help to make sense of new habits and customer behavior and how that behavior changes forever. This provides clarity for businesses that may need to make new investments. For example, what is the future bank branch or the new brick-and-mortar retail experience?

Big data enables businesses to see and even anticipate customers’ needs and wants. New modes of financial interactions will open the door for new entrants to disrupt incumbents. Business leaders who update their strategic plans to embrace a data-driven, customer-first perspective will thrive in the post-pandemic era.

To learn more about journey analytics, reach out to your Mastercard representative.

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