The 5 Hidden Powerful Benefits of Customer Journeys
Customer journey seems like an obvious theme; this is our job, right? But are we conscious of all the possible benefits?
This article will share five key benefits of customer journey monitoring, including less traditional ones that you can leverage for increased performance.
To get familiar with customer journeys are its value for a quality approach, we shared in a previous article where Quality meets Customer Journeys.
Improved customer experience
The adage “We can manage only what we can measure” also applies to our customer journeys. In a digital world full of technologies, we can quickly fall into a technical perspective of our systems, focusing our effort on infrastructure monitoring, far from the actual customer paths.
Customer journeys align the customer experience with the teams’ monitoring, visibility, and follow-up. Designing our customer journeys forces the team to explicit the ideal path, key stages, steps, and CTAs. This end-to-end perspective, starting from a possible interest, an order up to the after-sales support, enables a genuinely customer-centric monitoring approach.
Our goal is to support the business performance through a successful user experience, hard to get right; we have few seconds to grab the attention and convince our users to stay. So we have to combine simplicity to answer the needs of various personas in the complex world of digital interactions.
An organization trying to improve its digital performance without a focus on its user experience is not realistic. This is why focusing on our customer experience where and when it is happening is required. Although we can check every hour or two, we need constant attention anywhere and anytime.
The benefit of customer journey monitoring also reflects within the organizational performance.
Organizational visibility and alignment
Teams tend to work in their silos, even with models pushing with transversal interactions. This is normal, human, and being conscious of it is the first step to deal with it.
The problem is when that divergence of focus creates a gap between the customer needs, experience, requirements, and what is being delivered by the team. For example, we often see product teams trying to understand the customer experience with many 3rd-party tools, while technical teams are looking at dark mode graphs of CPU and memory. This does not work.
Teams need an end-to-end observability capability, bridging the gap between business and technical aspects. This is easier said than done; observability is a complex matter. The best place to start is in the “why” of our digital platform: the customers. Customer journey is then a powerful mental model to map, measure, and improve their experience.
Implementing customer journey monitoring is a process that requires collaboration within the organization. The interactions will support a mutual understanding, shared goals, and increased relationships between the actors. We can even identify the first step to a customer-centric culture, acting concretely across the organizations.
This improved collaboration materializes with a better organizational reactivity for both business and technical teams.
Improved MTTA and MTTR
Let’s take a story. You arrive early at the office at 7 am; everything is fine on the dashboards, no alerts. Then, around 8 am the traffic on your digital platform starts to increase; while you are still alone, you see a peak of HTTP 300 errors on the overall calls, not identifying the actual problem.
You start to try digging into the dashboards, but they are pretty technical, not easy to drill down with, and link to a customer problem. Finally, you call a friend from the infrastructure team, who starts to help by phone as he is driving. After half an hour, he finally reaches the office and tells you the problem is on a “Login API.” One hour later, after checking with the team, their deployment at midnight is at the origin of the issue.
Let’s now take the story of having customer journey monitoring in place, plus few shared practices. Around 8 am the traffic on your digital platform starts to increase; while you are still alone, you see a red flag appearing for “Customer login journey”.
Even if you work more on the payment system, a shared framework, standards, and tooling enable you to find and roll back a change done last night on the login area. As a result, the login customer journey comes back to green a few minutes after.
Customer journeys can genuinely enable an earlier detection (MTTA) and a better reactivity (MTTR) on our customer journeys, anytime. From this story, I would recommend performing gradual deployment, without downtime and during office hours, in addition to the shared practices mentioned.
We are talking about improving the software delivery lifecycle.
Improve the software development process
Software development is similar to our customer journeys is composed of stages, steps, actions on particular touchpoints. The process can provide more value by working more on the “right product” while accelerating building the “product right”. This is where faster feedback loops support faster learning cycles.
Customer journeys monitoring performed in production and other environments enable us to obtain feedback from a user experience perspective. The team can better verify if the changes they are performing can impact the journeys out of production from a functional or technical perspective and complete production verification during the deployment of the changes.
In addition to the MTTA and MTTR, we are identifying acceleration capabilities through increased deployment frequency and lead-time for changes and decreased changes failed-rate (CFR). Those four metrics are building blocks of the Accelerate report, identifying core metrics of high-performing organizations with exponential improvements.
Customer journeys provide a competitive data advantage, not directly identified.
1st-party Data collection
We all know Google Analytics and other standard website monitoring tools. They collect data from our website, simplifying our need for visibility, while we are then dependent on them to access the data. Relying on an external party in that mode is called a 3rd-party data collection. It is okay until privacy, data control, and regulations are more strict.
We are, in fact living in this transition. The far-west of taking any data we want, including personal ones, and processing it internally or externally is disappearing. The actual governance and data ownership paradigm has already started with regulations such as GDPR, more recently, cookies and consents. But, it will not stop; we have to be proactive in this area.
A way to act is to control the data we can collect only after deciding to process, store or share it with other parties. This is what we call 1st-party data collection. So what’s the point with Customer Journey monitoring? Each execution of a customer journey will collect data that you can leverage later, such as response time, status, number of elements loaded, external calls status, data transfer, etc.
Performing customer journey monitoring where you control those data is part of a more extensive1st-party data capture to implement. But still, starting there on top of the other benefits will bring you a step further.
Customer Journeys are truly beneficial to your organizational
We saw evident benefits of customer journey monitoring, such as improving the user experience starting where we should: the user, it is needed, and where he interacts with our platform.
However, we saw that a series of benefits are not direct but of substantial value. Organizational performance through better interactions is one of them, translating into improvements of the four key acceleration metrics.
The last point on data collection supports improved decision-making and observability capability, critical differentiators for organizations. At the same time, we are proactive in the future evolution of digital data processing.
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