It’s important to track your customers’ interactions with your business. A customer timeline runs right from their first point of contact, up to their most recent purchase. This process of customer brand engagement is referred to as a customer timeline.
It is so significant to track and keep record of your customers’ timelines as they can produce valuable information. Amongst many assets, these timelines can help you to understand customer sentiment and activity, provide context, and produce quicker responses with less repetition. And that’s just the start of the benefits.
This CXM guide will cover everything you need to know about customer timelines, and how you can utilise them to improve your business plans.
Stages of the customer timeline
Customer timelines are similar to customer journeys, but go into more depth and detail of each stage. The length of a customer interaction and time spent at each point is more closely monitored.
The most common industry example of customer timelines is in retail, particularly eCommerce. For online stores, customer timelines are better tracked as data can be input and stored instantly. Here are some of the stages of a customer timeline from an online store perspective:
- First access to the site, first search for a product
- Add product to cart
- Account created and subscribed for deals and latest product information
- Cart abandoned
The customer timeline can end here, depending on external circumstances. But for some, after abandoning cart and choosing to come back, or minus this step, this is where it may continue:
- Payment information added
- Order confirmed
- Order shipped
- Order received
- Customer review submitted
A customer support timeline model
The example above follows a very basic customer timeline model, and can vary depending on the organisation. This concept is also not exclusive to retail businesses. This can take lower-scale forms across any business model – like in seeking out customer support, for example:
- Encounter issue
- Find ‘contact us’ or live chat online
- Conversational AI attempts to find best-fitting solution
If above step is unsuccessful, then proceed:
- Wait for agent to connect
- Describe the issue
- Receive advice and a resolution
Depending on the final step here, the customer timeline can take many different routes. This depends on the success of the product or service received. This may branch out to leaving the brand a positive review online, or its counterpart being to abandon the brand and seek the service elsewhere. The steps of a customer timeline are fluid, and are impacted by the nature of each business, and what the customer is seeking.
Bottom line – no matter which businesses track a customer timeline and whichever stages they cover, the timeline serves an overall purpose. To progress business growth through strengthening customer experiences.
How can businesses utilise a customer timeline?
There are many ways that tracking your customers’ timeline with your organisation can be beneficial. Here are just a few of them.
Investigating pain points to improve customer service and understanding
By investigating customer pain points, you will be able to address them and improve. Taking the example of retail, if you find that a particular customer, or type of consumer, is always abandoning their cart at one stage of the journey, you can target this in focus. What is the issue at this stage? How can you change this point to ensure the timeline continues?
By doing this, customer service can improve in turn. You can strengthen your relationships by proving you understand your consumers on a deeper level. Investing your time into evaluating their flow with your brand will be beneficial in the long-run.
Track which business decisions impact the length and events of the customer timeline
Assessing and paying close attention to customer timelines and the flow of their journey with your brand, and their pain points, can allow you to track what is working for your business. By evaluating aspects of the timeline such as abandoned cart and unsubscribing from your mailing list, you are provided with valuable insights.
You will be able to strategise your business plans and future customer journeys based on which events and circumstances make an impact. Make closer inspections – why are some customers timelines longer than others? Why do some have less events over the same amount of time? Deep-diving into these aspects will create a greater business and customer understanding, strengthening relationships and growth.
Target market campaigns
When tracking multiple customer timelines on a regular basis, you may see certain trends cropping up. These may be in line with certain stages of the timeline for multiple customers. You can use this to your advantage.
One of the trends may be many customers abandoning their carts at a certain time of the year – say just before payday. Marketing campaigns, including discounts and deal pushes, can help push the timeline forward. Alter your techniques to complete the timeline and finish the sale.
Track customer loyalty
An obvious plus-point of tracking customer timelines comes with the exposure of your loyal customers. A timeline will show those who repeatedly return and interact with your brand. From this identification, you will be able to reward the loyal customers – further creating great business reputation.
Start tracking customer timelines today if you already don’t!
We know that customers are at the core of business and at the heart of everything a business does. We understand their value, but seeing it in real time, and assessing their past with us, is crucial information. You can improve and prolong your relationships with them by understanding their history. We hope this guide has aided your knowledge and developed your understanding on why customer timeline assessment is so significant.