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Customer journey analytics and Big Data

By Dorian Stone

McKinsey partner, Dorian Stone, and Clickfox CEO, Marco Pacelli, spoke at Fiserv Forum 2013 about the value of Big Data in understanding the customer journeys that matter.

What was your presentation about?

Marco (CEO, Clickfox1) and I talked about the massive shift happening in customer experience today from moments of truth to customer journeys. Customer journeys are a discreet set of interactions a customer has with a brand to accomplish a task. Just think about all the ways you interact with a cable company when you're setting up cable service — that's a journey. Understanding and addressing those journeys, it turns out, creates real value for companies, much more so than fixing the performance of individual touchpoints.

Given the myriad of paths that each journey can take as customers move between different channels over time, identifying which paths are getting in the way of company growth, customer loyalty and satisfaction is a big data and analytics challenge.

The good news is that the majority of companies already have the data they need—they just need to get their hands on it and use it, even if it isn't perfect. It's important to emphasize that companies can drive a lot of value by focusing on the journeys that matter. You don't need to get every journey right, but you do have to get the most important ones right.

What part of your presentation got the strongest reaction?

People really responded to the idea of journeys vs. individual interactions (i.e., moments of truth). It made sense, and addressed a source of real confusion in so many companies today: Many more customers are leaving companies than are telling them that they're unhappy with the company—even though individual interactions (often the final interactions before defection) seem to go well based on customer feedback.

The other item that got a strong reaction was the point about differentiating analytics and reporting. Reporting just tells you what happened. Analytics, however, is about unlocking not just what happened, but also why and what to do. Far too many companies focus on reporting, but analytics is what you need to make decisions. The audience seemed to catch on to the fact that using data in richer ways is not just about better reporting; it's about having analytics that persist over time, and then unlocking the understandings of the root causes of a company's success or failure in serving a customer.

What are the implications of customer journeys on the organization?

Traditionally, marketing and operations have not done a good job working together around customer experience. For example, Marketing would bring attitudinal data, but ops folks weren't sure what to do with that. Operations teams would then ask for basic demographic data, and marketing people would respond that demographic information wasn't sophisticated enough.

Using big data to understand customer journeys creates a bridge between the two disciplines by providing behavioral data that is both 1) observable in operations, and 2) more predictive of true customer needs and wants than socioeconomic segmentations.

As marketing and operations become more effective at working on journeys, and companies collect and analyze ever greater amounts of data, we're going to see a whole new wave of value. Some companies are already starting to use this data to predict customer journeys very effectively.

View the presentation:


1McKinsey has invested in a joint offering with ClickFox

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