by Vlad Castillo

Do you ever get a gut feeling that your brand is losing opportunities for improving customer experience that would directly increase revenue? Isn’t it frustrating that you just can’t pinpoint exactly when, where, and why?

How about the perplexing sensation that maybe, just maybe, things are falling through the cracks due to inefficiencies that are hurting the bottom line?

If you’ve ever felt that, you’re not alone.

According to a recent Oracle survey of 1,300 senior executives in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific:

  • 93% of executives stated that improving customer experience was one of their top three priorities in the next couple of years.
  • 97% believed that delivering a great customer experience was critical to their business success.
  • They estimated the cost of failing at customer experience to be huge: 20% of their annual revenue.
  • Even though customer experience was a top priority, 37% of execs were just getting started on an improvement plan.

Another recent Gartner survey about the role of marketing in customer experience found that by 2016, 89% of companies are expected to be competing mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% in 2010.

Don’t look now, but 2016 is here. So what are you doing to make this the best year yet from your customers’ perspective?

More Than Just Touchpoints

Measuring customer touchpoints, the many critical moments when customers interact with your brand or business, has been an important analytical component for a long time. However, this narrow focus on a given moment or snapshot can produce drastically varying views of the true story: the customer’s end-to-end-journey.

It makes sense. Customers don’t make decisions to move their business elsewhere based on a single touchpoint, such as a field visit or phone call, but on cumulative multichannel experiences over time. This means the customer’s end-to-end journey is composed of multiple journeys, and each journey may have multiple touchpoints.

Here’s the challenge: these journeys go across functions in your organization. The customer doesn’t care, for example, that their on-boarding journey cuts across product, digital and billing departments. Their objective is to go through the process at their own pace, effortlessly and without any hiccups.

According to McKinsey, making the transformation to a journey-based organization requires a company to take four crucial steps:

 

  1. Identify key journeys. This starting point is critical. It includes defining customer experience objectives as well as establishing a top-down approach with senior management, along with a bottom-up approach to map out key journeys with data and quantitative research.
  2. Understand current performance. Assessing the situation from an unbiased angle is key in this step. Identifying the pain points, sizing up the issues, and prioritizing opportunities are key.
  3. Redesign the experience and engage your front line. Appoint cross-functional teams to redesign and flawlessly execute a pilot and track performance.
  4. Sustain at scale. Make adjustments based on longer-term objectives. Continuously improve by scaling and optimizing metrics.

Enter The Secret Weapon

Even though the four-part approach described above is clearly valuable from a high level, you will need a secret weapon down in the trenches to make the transformation complete.

That secret weapon is what we call longitudinal, end-to-end analytics. Longitudinal analytics is the art and science of following customers through each of their journeys and then tracing those journeys across functional areas to see the big picture.

Depending on the industry, the foundational data needed to conduct this analytics process may include web/digital, field sales, survey, market, transactional and other data. Even when there are data gaps, advanced techniques such as regression modeling and simulations can provide eye-opening insights for the cross-function team to apply.

The benefits of longitudinal analytics are:

  • Laying the foundation for a larger company-wide transformation via a systematic approach
  • Discovering more effective ways to collaborate across functions
  • Identifying missing or incorrect data as well as harmful leakages found as a customer journeys between functional areas
  • Obtaining an unbiased, third-party, data-driven perspective with the sole objective of improving the overall customer experience
  • Increasing revenues and improving customer — and employee — retention

It really doesn’t matter if you are in a large or small organization; either will benefit from longitudinal analytics.

You don’t have to wait for the overall organization to buy in (as you know, that’s a bad idea). Customer experience champions can start within their own “house,” perhaps with a pilot or project in longitudinal analytics focusing on a particular journey that touches your area.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Sales – Inside, Outside, Specialty
  • Marketing – Multichannel, Digital, Content, Specialty, Targeted Customer Types (e.g. consumers, HCPs, payers, etc.)
  • Centers of Excellence – Digital Media, Digital Technology, IT/Big Data, Data Visualization, Advanced Analytics, Website & Application Hubs, Project Management, Marketing Automation, Financials, Compliance, etc.

What To Do Right Now

Make 2016 the year you seize a new competitive advantage by making substantive improvements in your customer experience. We know it’s a daunting task, and it’s hard to decide where to begin. That’s why we’re here to help.