To effectively manage customer experience, you need to be able to see the entire customer journey at the most granular level of detail. The customer’s footprints from their digital journey contain amazing insights, if you have the tools to collect and display them.
Detailed vs. Aggregate Analytics
We’re all used to seeing aggregate analytics data through tools like Google Analytics. They collect detailed session activity and generate aggregate reporting that marketers use to develop insights. The challenge with the common use of those tools, is that they aggregate activity. That's helpful when looking at a user segment as a whole to gather insights. You can't, however, derive deeper, more granular insights into customer behavior and intent from the aggregated data. To gain those deeper insights, we need to capture interaction level data, with all its detail, so that we can employ machine learning to uncover those insights. So, if your system does not track, in real time, every variable associated with every single user interaction, you're missing a tremendous amount of data – – the required inputs for making use of machine learning.
End to end systems vs. integrated point solutions
The second part the customer experience equation is a system that can collect customer data throughout the entire customer journey. That customer data can then be used to develop behavior models. Think about use cases like reducing abandoned cart rates, or recommending products based on what have historically been purchased together, or proactively messaging customers that are at higher risk for churn (image).
So, how do you collect all that rich customer data in a format that can be used for day to day analytics and for more in-depth machine learning based model development? The Sitecore answer is to use the experience database (xDB) as that central customer hub. The xDB is pre-configured to track every digital interaction that is managed by Sitecore. This includes all web activity, campaign effectiveness, search behavior, pattern matching, email opens & clicks, locations, devices, etc. The xDB can easily be extended to house customer data that comes from other systems (CRM, POS, ERP, etc.). We can also push offline activity into the xDB; things like catalog mailings, call center interactions, retail store transactions, etc. Think about having a full view of each customer from within the xDB that includes on-line and offline activity. That's the 360 degree view of the customer that aligns with an effective omni-channel strategy.
If you have stand alone systems like CMS, eCommerce, marketing automation & search that are not pushing activity to a central customer database, you're missing out on valuable insights into your customer journey.