Get Integrated Analytics—or Get Lost (as in Lost Customers)

Travelocity recently noticed, and quite alarmingly, that it was losing customers right at the point-of-sale on its car rental page. And it just kept happening. A visitor would select options from the various dropdowns—pick-up airport or city, pick-up day, drop-off day, car type, etc.—and seem just on the verge of making a booking, only to abandon at the moment of truth.

It certainly was puzzling. Travelocity’s Web team tried to re-create the problem, but to no avail. Every time they tried to make a booking it worked seamlessly. They were at a loss and they were losing money. Travelocity then turned to IBM’s Tealeaf to diagnose the problem. As part of its offering, Tealeaf lets users replay real-life Web and mobile sessions in full-fidelity to help brands identify particular struggles and patterns of behavior with the aim of improving the customer experience.

And this is what Tealeaf discovered: People really were trying to book, but the time of day dropdown menu was defaulting to midnight—a time when most of the car rental places were closed. Visitors who mistakenly left “time of day” blank were, by default, told that there were no cars available when indeed there were…just not at midnight. Travelocity’s internal people didn’t realize the issue, even when they were troubleshooting, because they always entered a time into the dropdown that fell within business hours, and when you did that, the system functioned just fine.

“As people move more and more into these multichannel, omnichannel worlds and become more digitally focused, there’s an increasing demand for better insight on the customer and the ability to provide in-context understanding across the customer journey and across touchpoints,” says Ken Bisconti, Tealeaf business leader at IBM. “This is about getting a holistic understanding of customer lifetime experience.”

In other words, it’s a multichannel world, so—logically—we need multichannel analytics or customer experience is at stake. If you want to actually “get” your customers and give them more of what delights them, you need the kind of customer information that doesn’t come in a silo. “Companies have an ocean of data on their customers, but they’re still struggling to gain insights and actionable data,” Bisconti says. “And that’s going to have a potentially significant impact on revenue, loyalty, satisfaction, and operational costs.

Remember Captain Planet’s catchphrase, “By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!”? Analytics should be a bit like that: a combination of digital analytics (quantitative Web and mobile traffic, conversion metrics, etc.); behavioral analytics (understanding the customer journey); social analytics (sentiment, share of voice, etc.); and predictive (using to optimize real-time automation)—all brought together in the service of actionable marketing.

“There’s an unwritten rule between the customer and a brand in today’s world that if a company has information about the consumer and it’s not putting it into action, then the customer either stops giving information to that company or starts doing business with someone else,” Bisconti says. “So let me ask you, why is every interaction with a brand not a marketing opportunity?”


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