Navigating the Challenge of Customer Journey Analytics

Rob Daleman
Posted by Rob Daleman VP, Corporate Marketing Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 15:32

Rob brings over 18 years of industry experience in technology marketing – both direct and channel, to his position at Quadient. Previously, Rob led Marketing at Avaya Canada, go to market for medium businesses at Dell Canada and brings marketing, finance, manufacturing and logistics experience from his time at Maple Leaf Foods. An avid composer and musician, Rob continues to combine digital and social media to drive awareness and consideration in the B2B marketplace. Rob holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

Customer Experience Update
customer-journey-analytics

Customer journey analytics is an emerging field that offers marketers the ability to “bridge the gap” between the experience that they believe they are providing to customers, and the actual journey their customers live through. In their Market Guide for Customer Journey Analytics (featuring Quadient), Gartner describes this product category in the following manner:

CJA applications deliver business-critical insights to organizations seeking to understand the customer journey and improve customer experiences. Application leaders must work closely with several business units to identify the best solutions for their organizations' strategic requirements.

But when is the right time to invest in customer journey analytics?  Is it too early to invest in this emerging technology? It turns out that marketers are already aware of the requirement for, and challenges associated with journey analytics.  In fact, in a May 2017 study conducted by TEKsystems entitled "State of Digital Marketing 2017 Survey Report", 30% of respondents identified User Experience / Customer Journey Analytics as the biggest challenge to their organization in 2017 – higher than any other category.

These findings are echoed in an April 2017 Dimension Data report titled "2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report.  In this report, customer analytics was rated as the #1 leading trend that would reshape customer experience capability by respondents at their respective companies.

 

Despite the importance that is being placed by marketers on the need for customer journey mapping and analytics, only 33% of companies are currently using customer journey maps to define and manage their customer experience.

 

If customer journey analytics is so important for marketers, why is the adoption rate so low?  Marketers typically find they are faced with 3 major challenges in implementing journey analytics.   The first challenge is the lack of the required internal skills and capabilities.  This is a common issue that I have heard when discussing customer journey mapping and analytics with CMOs across the banking and insurance markets.  As the CX as a discipline relatively new, and can be challenging to develop the people required to run these complex programs – particularly since these roles require cross-functional support.  But processes and strategies are becoming more well defined.  As an example, James Kalbach’s recent book “Mapping Experiences” offers a well laid out process for mapping and managing experiences.

The second challenge is the cost of implementing these programs.  Although this came is as the second most rated reason for lack of adoption in the BlueVenn survey, it is by far the #1 difficulty that CMOs I have talked to have referenced.  The reason being is that CX improvements can be very hard to track and monetize – making it difficult to justify the cost of investing in better CX.  

Keep in mind that throughout the 90s and early 2000s, companies invested heavily in Six Sigma-type programs that were designed to optimize internal efficiencies and minimize costs.  Customer journey analytics flies in the face of many of those conventions, swapping “hard data” for customer emotion, to avoid negative interactions where the attempt to save money might lead to poor customer experiences.  Finance executives and operations leaders who’s careers were shaped in a six sigma, quality-oriented environment will have difficulty overlooking the added costs that come from implementing successful customer experience program. However, in an October 2016 Deloitte report titled "CFO Signals: What North America's Top Finance Executives Are Thinking And Doing.", customer analytics came out on top as the #1 item that CFOs were most likely to invest in.  This signals a potential disconnect in the way that marketing leaders are positioning customer journey analytics projects to garner executive support.

 

The third challenge is that they found journey mapping didn’t “exist in practical terms”.  Many customer experience and marketing professionals find it challenging to implement journey maps that are actionable in nature.  While many different types of tools exist in the market today to draw and define journeys, most are standalone applications that do not tie back into core systems to allow CX experts to quickly or easily act on their findings.  This third reason is precisely why Quadient offers a different approach to customer journey analytics – building on your customer communications framework to allow CX professionals to better manage the customer journey where it matters most – when they are communicating with you.

In short, now is the perfect time to start implementing your customer journey analytics strategy – both in terms of people resources and technology.  For more ideas on how to deal with the challenges presented by customer journey analytics, check out the Quadient complimentary ebook – Rise of the Customer Experience Executive here.