Keeping track of the customer journey has become more complicated in recent years with the proliferation of devices and channels, such that the ability to analyze the customer journey has become one of the most valuable conversion rate optimization methods. In fact, new research [download page] from Econsultancy in partnership with IBM suggests that 30% of enterprise companies in North America have mastered their understanding of the customer journey, with these top-performers averaging conversion rates more than double the rest.
Organizations that are weaker in customer journey analysis should have at least two clear starting points for improvement, according to our analysis of the research, which compared components of the customer journey tracked by top-performers to those analyzed by the rest of the sample.
The most common component of the customer journey tracked by top-performers (those 30% who have a thorough, up-to-date view of the customer journey) is the source of that customer, whether it be a marketing channel, referral, partner or some other. Some 71% of top-performers are tracking the source of their customers, but just 48% of the rest of the sample is doing so.
The other huge gap pertains to customer preferences, including for products, content, and contact method. Roughly two-thirds of top-performers have this information, compared to fewer than one-third (29%) of other organizations. As the report’s analysts note, “it’s hard to create a great customer experience if the customer’s desires are unclear.”
In a sense, these two areas are linked, in that knowledge of the source of a customer can provide insights into that customer’s preferences.
Meanwhile, there’s more parity in the customer behavior and past purchase components of the customer journey analysis, with these tracked by 50-60% of respondents, regardless of their sophistication.
Beyond that, there are again some disparities between top-performers and the rest, with the former being considerably more likely to look at owned media touchpoints (49% vs. 32%), marketing touchpoints (42% vs. 29%) and customer struggles and obstacles (42% vs. 29%). It’s worth noting that the analysts feel there’s considerable room for improvement here even for top-performers, particularly pertaining to the inclusion of owned media touchpoints in analyses.
As for customer struggles, only one-fifth of the executives surveyed said their organization has a strong capability in knowing where, when and how customers struggle. Part of the problem seems to be a limited ability to review customer sessions, with fewer than half able to do review any session on desktop (47%) or mobile (42%). Moreover, just 21% report a “powerful capability” to see whether individual issues that arise are emblematic of wider audience-level problems, and vice versa.
Investing in analytics capabilities should be able to help out in these areas, per separate results from the report. A majority of organizations who have elite analytics practices say that the most powerful results of their analytics capability is to quickly understand why (63%) and where (56%) problems arise. By contrast, those defined as “laggards” in their capabilities tend to see their analytics solutions in terms of providing insights into general customer behavior and knowledge rather than in identifying specific problems.
About the Data: The survey was fielded among 225 North American executives in e-commerce, marketing and analytics, all of whom were director-level and above and reported organizational revenues above $250 million in 2015. The most heavily represented industries were financial services (19%), retail (12%) and technology (9%).