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Representing Increasingly Complex Customer Journeys: the Value and Impact of a 360º View


I love coffee. Like many working professionals, I use it to start the day and see it through. You can imagine my dismay when my espresso machine, with all of its bells and whistles, suddenly stopped working last week. Determined to keep things in working order, I took the machine apart to see what I could figure out.

In short form, a nozzle had become clogged. In slightly longer form, the clog formed from hard water dripping on it due to another part above it being unaligned due to the cabinet the machine was on top of sitting at an angle.

Why is this worth retelling, and how does it connect to customer experience? Because processes break down. Whether the process is making coffee, working with your insurance company, or shopping online, lapses happen, and things don’t always work together as they should. As we seek to serve the customer through these lapses, our ability to fix issues is ultimately dictated by our ability to track friction across the entire process with a holistic view.

What is 360º Customer View?

Pain and friction don’t always happen at the same step in a customer's journey. Often, friction upstream (e.g., a cabinet sitting at an angle) leads to pain downstream (e.g., no coffee). Holistically viewing a journey is a methodology (and philosophy) that ultimately addresses this concept by presenting a unified 360º view (i.e., viewing the whole stream). 

At Farlinium, our  360º approach to Customer Experience relies on a central attribute we use to represent a customer, which is then tied back to all their feedback. Ultimately, the necessary steps to achieve this are:

  • Having the proper listening posts set up 
  • Aligning internal teams (operational, experiential, digital) on goals for the customer
  • Leveraging tools that bring data together rather than view each step separately

Frequently, the third step in this process is not prioritized, blocking the full development of a holistic 360º view of a customer's journey.

Common Pitfalls and Hurdles

Four distinct issues occurred in the espresso machine (no coffee, nozzle clogged, water leaking, and machine at an angle). Thinking of this as a business, what would their insights look like if a separate team owned each step? Disjointed, with no connection between the root cause (cabinet sitting at an angle) and the outcome (no coffee). 

Too often, we see this example played out across businesses. One team may own the digital experience, another team may own the contact center experience, and another team may own the in-store experience. Even more often, data tied to these experiences is housed separately, adding challenges to adopting a 360º view.

While not exhaustive, key hurdles to adopting a holistic view of a customer's journey that we see repeated across industries include:

  • Disparate ownership of the journey across multiple teams
  • Unaligned metrics of success
  • Data processes that are not created to work together (e.g., operational data stored entirely separate from digital data)

Ultimately, a customer's perception of your company is colored by various touchpoints owned by multiple teams, and any one angle of data doesn’t represent their perception.

What is the Value of a 360º Customer View?

At a high level, approaching a journey as a unified set of experiences enables companies to understand drivers of poor experience better and identify how to use the right resources to address them. With the ultimate goal of serving the customer as well as possible and delivering an exceptional experience, adopting a 360º lens allows companies to be efficient with their resources (e.g., don’t replace each part of an espresso machine when you can simply fix the foot of the cabinet). 

The business world is rapidly growing, and consumers continue interacting with us in new ways. A study from Aberdeen Research highlighted this growth; in 2012, over 50% of businesses stated they engaged with their customers on four or more channels. Polled five years later, that number of channels had doubled. As these journeys continue to grow and become more sophisticated (and complex to track), a deliberate approach to how that journey is represented is essential.

How to See the Full 360º Customer View

I fixed my espresso machine by fixing the foot of my cabinet. If this connection seems unclear, it’s because it is. It also reflects how far apart a root cause and a poor experience can exist in a customer's journey. 

Businesses are continuing to evolve and offer more ways for customers to engage with them, which in turn is driving increasingly complex journeys. As CX teams continue to mature and prove the value of an exceptional experience, the ability to view the complete picture is essential. Teams need to be able to identify what’s going on and to direct their resources efficiently and effectively to make impactful improvements.

There is no single fix. It is a combination of implementing the right processes and using the right tools for a CX program in order to break down silos and unlock an accurate 360º view of a customer's journey.

At Farlinium, we recognize these challenges, advocate for solutions that address them, and work with our customers to implement them. If you find yourself stuck trying to unlock your own 360º view of your customers, reach out to learn more about our services and the tools we can enable you and your teams with. Send us a message below - let’s see what we can do together.