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Getting to grips with omni-channel: optimising the customer journey to increase sales

 
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By Hanneke Stellink, PA digital strategy expert


Customers interacting with your business via digital channels leave a wealth of transaction data behind as they make their journey through your systems. In many organisations, this data – which is often captured in separate transaction data logs such as CRM and/or web apps – is left unused. Many businesses are unaware of its potential value.

In fact, linked together to build a continuous picture of the customer journey, transaction data can show you where the digital customer experience you offer is working well and where it’s causing you to lose business. An innovative process mining technique, developed by PA Consulting Group and TU/e (Eindhoven University of Technology), links the data from different systems for you.

Process mining takes events stored in operational data logs in different systems and connects them to recreate the customer journey. The technique provides valuable insight into the critical points where customers form an impression about your organisation and decide whether to buy from you or not.  It delivers a sound, factual basis for optimising the customer journey and improving sales.

There are three steps to using transaction data to optimise the customer journey:

Measure the real customer experience and define bottlenecks 

Using process mining to connect data from different systems allows you to understand the customer journey as experienced by customers, highlight gaps and inefficiencies, and measure throughput times and workload. 


For a large retail bank in the Netherlands, for example, we measured the customer journey for customers applying for a new mortgage. The online application process asked them to calculate their mortgage requirements and fill in their details. We connected online customer click paths to information in the CRM system and made the real omni-channel customer journey visible, from first contact until the moment the mortgage was signed. Process mining uncovered several bottlenecks in the customer journey, allowing the bank to focus on making improvements that increased conversion rates.  This included optimising the functionality for uploading mortgage documentation, a point where customers where dropping out of the process without completing their application.

Stop making assumptions – develop a business case based on full and real data

Data on the number of steps involved in the customer journey and its actual duration makes defining the drivers for your business case easy. Data that compares the performance of sales employees, departments or branches indicates potential for savings based on facts.
For a global financial institution, we analysed 2.8 million process steps in the IT service management chain and identified 300,000 process steps (representing 6.8 million hours of throughput) that could be eliminated. Optimising processes meant internal IT customers had their IT problems solved more quickly and the organisation made savings of €3.3 million.

Monitor improvement with continuous intelligence about the customer experience

Process mining lets you monitor the results you get from changes to the customer journey and enables continuous improvement. Using automatic triggers can help you to target improvements for maximum impact. For example, you can set triggers to alert employees whenever runtime or the number of steps exceeds a pre-set target, allowing them to take action and contact customers directly.

Businesses have always known that giving their customers a pleasant experience will encourage them to buy more. No successful high-street retailer would expect their customers to come back to a physical store that was confusing, inefficient and full of long queues. The same is true for digital customers. Using process mining, you can optimise the customer journey and reap the rewards in improved conversion.

To find more about understanding the customer journey and optimising the customer experience, contact us now.

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