Think about some of the biggest companies in the world. Who comes to mind? Probably Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. What do they have in common?
It’s not that they’re tech giants with a combined value that’s bigger than the entire UK economy. It’s the fact they’ve all nailed one thing: the customer journey. The experience each individual has when they interact with a company - how they feel about the brand, whether they’re tempted by additional products and, most importantly, whether they come back for more.
In today’s market, successful companies are those that excel at providing these integrated customer journeys. They do this by leveraging the data at their fingertips to provide their customers with the products and services they want, when they want them.
Getting this right isn’t just a challenge reserved for Silicon Valley tech giants. It’s something all businesses, big and small, should be focusing on if they want to stay relevant in the modern economy.
But let’s back up for a moment and take a look at what an integrated customer journey actually looks like.
Put simply, it’s when useful products or services are built into a journey the customer is already on, offered at the right place and time to increase uptake. This is something you experience everyday, whether or not you realise it - it’s not an accident that supermarket put flowers by the entrance and sweets by the tills. Nor is it chance when Deliveroo asks whether you’d like to reduce your delivery costs by becoming a member, just as you’re about to order that pizza.
When you get the journey right, you can provide more value to your customers and generate more revenue for your business. According to McKinsey, those who excel at customer-experience can achieve revenue gains of 5 to 10 percent, and reduce costs by 15 to 25 percent within two or three years.
But how do you do it? You need data - and you need to know how to use it.
It is tougher for bricks and mortar businesses to gather data compared to those operating purely online, but you’re likely gathering more insights on their customers than you realise - you’re just not treating it like data.
You should already know who your customers are, how often they buy from you, what they buy and when. But rather than seeing is standard information, you need to start seeing it as the building blocks you need to create a powerful integrated customer journey.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, providing an integrated customer journey is something everyone should be thinking about. However, you’re only going to be able to do this by collecting as much data on your customers' journeys as possible. Without concrete insights, you will struggle to make the most of these interactions, losing out on chances to maximise revenue and deliver outstanding experiences to your customers.
The tech giants of this world don’t have a monopoly on offering amazing customer experiences. It’s possible for every single business to do better and keep learning when it comes to what makes their customers tick. So start tracking, start exploring, start experimenting and see what value you can add to your customers.