Mapping the customer journey with behavioral data

The idea of the customer experience is gaining importance in today’s highly competitive market. And rightly so…it’s all about getting a detailed and comprehensive picture of the customer experience for competitive advantage.

Customer journey mapping as a competitive advantage

This is typically done through customer journey mapping, touchpoint analysis and an examination of the ecosystem in which the experience takes place. A good analysis will include stages of the customer journey such as awareness, research, purchase, and the out-of-box experience.

Smart companies strive to understand the customer experience by understanding activities, motivations, questions and barriers along this continuum. They focus especially on touchpoints that include products, interactions, messages and product settings.

Digitizing the customer journey

Many companies look at the customer journey from three aspects. They discover by applying advanced analytics to gain a 360-degree view of their customers, basing their engagement strategies on this empirical analysis of their customers’ recent behaviors and past experiences.

This includes analyzing the signals embedded in customers’ mobile or social-media data – and the best research designs treat the various devices customers use as a connected set of entry points into the customer experience, and not as stand alone devices.

Companies then design a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to the customer’s stage along the journey. And they deliver ‘always on’ marketing programs to engage customers in exactly the right way at the most important touch points along the journey.

Understanding touch points along the way

Touchpoints along the way can include products, online and retail experiences, services, advertising, call centers – any point that helps the customer make a decision along their consumer path. Of course, some of these touchpoints will matter more than others: points at which sales are made; key points that influence opinion; and points at which things can fall apart.

A sophisticated approach for a full picture

But the customer journey by its very definition is not about capturing a specific moment in time. Instead, it is a detailed analysis of how customers engage with your product or service across time. What actions do they take at specific stages? What motivates them to continue? What questions arise in their minds that might stop their journey? And what barriers stand in their way? Understanding all of these elements requires a sophisticated approach, with information gleaned from a variety of sources.

The power of passive metering and surveys

Online behavior can be complex and fast-moving in which context is king. Survey data is great for helping us understand the ‘why’: the context and motivation behind the choices people make. Where it falls short, however, is delivering the ‘what’: most research demonstrates that it is almost impossible for people to correctly remember their specific online behavior.

Luckily, this is where online passive data collection shines. It doesn’t rely on memory. It isn’t mediated by subjective description. It reflects thousands of real-world points in time to provide the truest possible picture of the customer journey.

Behavioral data from passive metering can be used to map out touchpoints within the competitive environment of the customer journey. This in itself helps to construct a holistic overview of the customer journey. In addition, it can serve as a trigger for surveys – if a researcher observes particular touchpoints in the behavioral data set, they can then investigate the participant’s motivation, context, choices and intent.

Enhancing the customer experience

After all, the ultimate goal of understanding the customer’s journey is to improve the customer’s experience. If used correctly, it has the transformative power to help companies build increasingly global and user-focused organizations that enhance the customer’s experience at every touchpoint along the way.

A combination of survey-based and behavioral data collection promises to significantly improve the way that researchers understand consumers, overcoming current constraints that arise from a single type of data.

About Wakoopa

Wakoopa cooperates with market researchers to help create best-practice research designs that combine the best of both worlds. Click here to discover more about our approach to passive metering, surveys, and the customer journey.

Written by Daan Versteeg

Master degree in Economics, experienced in strategy, marketing, research, advertising and technology. After 15 years at Shell, Heineken, Google and Wakoopa, Daan is now Marketing Director at Netquest.

Read more posts by this author.