Whenever we talk about the customer journey these days, we intuitively, and without giving it a second thought – envision consumers traversing the digital universe of channels, from mobile apps, to messaging, online chats, and more.
Our research found that two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer-driven marketing activities, such as Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, as well as in-store interactions and recollections of past experiences.
However, the customer journey is not wholly digital. And this is true for retail, financial services, insurance, telecoms, healthcare, travel, and so many more industries – even if they don’t have a brick and mortar presence, still have contact centers to field inquiries, support requests, and complaints.
'Omnichannel’ also includes offline channels
The reality is that the customer journey is rarely linear - with consumers hopping on and off channels all the time, including both digital and offline. The fact that a significant amount of conversions still happen offline can also be seen in how Google and Facebook, who together dominate the online advertising space with 60% market share, each have solutions for advertisers to track conversions that happen offline.
Google enables in-store revenue tracking by analyzing user visit data from smartphones together with data aggregated from credit card transactions. Facebook has endeavoured a similar solution, called Bluetooth Beacon.
Accordingly, brands that seek to improve the offline customer experience on the one hand, while increasing conversions (sales) on the other hand – can maximize results by tracking the digital journey and understanding consumers’ digital behaviors.
Doing so can bring unprecedented insights not only for understanding how to maximize digital experiences and conversions. But, this also brings great value for maximizing the offline experience and conversions.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Digital cues spring offline conversions to action
Spring Venture Group, a US-based broker specializing in the sale of health and life insurance, handles 7,000 online leads per day. All of the leads that make it to their team of 230 inside sales agents, are driven by the company’s website. During the consideration phase of the customer journey potential customers fill out online forms requesting a quote. This request is then forwarded to an inside sales rep, who reaches out to the requestor by phone.
As such, it is very important for Spring Venture Group to understand the online digital journey that precedes the offline sales call. And, it is equally important to uncover what kind of online behaviors typically, statistically lead to policy holder conversions. If they can identify predictive indicators and intent signals, they can share this information with the data science and web design teams, for re-engineering the online experience, and redesigning lead forms with the kind of features that encourage converting behaviors.
Understanding Intent by Uncovering Digital Signals
The findings of Spring Venture Group's analysis included the realization that simply filling out a ‘get in touch’ form does not necessarily indicate what the potential customer’s state of mind is, and how likely they are to purchase a policy when speaking with a sales rep on the phone.
However, knowing in advance what the typing speed is, for example, when the form is being filled out, does in fact indicate intent. Namely, how quickly or slowly the form was filled, is indicative of how determined, or hesitant the prospect is. And, knowing this during the sales call enables reps to better handle the engagement for a win-win interaction.
To understand how important it is to be aware of the customer’s mindset, compare how this would look in a ‘paper and pencil’ situation, i.e. in the offline world. If the customer is sitting together with the sales rep, face to face, and while filling out the contract or form, she stops at certain points, asking questions – it clear that the decision to buy is still being processed. And, the rep can react appropriately. But, when this hesitant behavior occurs online, (without the proper data at hand) sales reps can’t interpret what is unfolding during the consideration.
So, we can see that the need to understand digital body language is of the utmost strategic importance. With 7,000 daily leads, and with a staff of 250 inside sales reps, the company must be able to prioritize who is called first and most often – as based on a data-driven understanding of the propensity to buy.
When It Comes to Conversions – Counting Every Second Counts
Through their analysis, Spring Venture Group uncovered that the most important and most predictive digital behaviour is mean typing speed. They found that when individuals are filling out forms with a typing speed at five keystrokes per second or faster, they are 15% to 20% more likely to purchase an insurance policy over the phone, after submitting the form.
Autofill and prefill were also discovered to constitute important predictive features. Interestingly, though, there was a negative correlation between these features and the propensity to buy. They found that individuals who are using prefill or autofill to submit the form, were in fact less likely to purchase a policy.
By being able to track such digital behaviors and identify which form features lead to more conversions, Spring Venture Group added ten new features that were predictive of higher close rates.
Clicktale makes it possible for us to measure digital gestures to reveal the customer intent behind every lead, so that we can prioritize, plan and make decisions in real time
Alex Allen, CMO, Spring Venture Group
Putting conversions on the counter
Another online/offline example comes from car rental company Avis. Namely, by tracking customers’ digital journeys, Avis can personalize the ‘counter experience,’ for when customers come to pick up their car. This makes for a much more satisfying experience for customers, as they get exactly what they need and don’t have irrelevant products being offered to them.
For example, when knowing if the customer was looking at web pages with information about a certain class of cars, GPS options, baby seats, or other products – the company is better prepared with the right information that is important to the customer.
Bringing together online and offline worlds
As I mentioned, the customer journey is not likely to unfold on a one-way digital path. The ever-reliable offline engagements still play a strategic role in the conversion process. For enterprise brands to ensure that offline conversions are maximized, there is a wealth of data available through experience analytics to provide the insights needed for achieving this objective.