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How to Leverage Data to Optimize and Elevate Every Stage of Your Customer Journey

By |2023-02-20T15:28:54+00:00March 16th, 2022|

Less than half of leaders believe their customer experiences are optimized. Why not?

Often, businesses don’t have the necessary tools and technology to spearhead a data-driven customer journey. That’s why it’s crucial to create a customer journey map—you need to be able to leverage cloud data to understand every stage of the customer journey.

You need the following capabilities to truly leverage data:

  • 360-degree view of the customer
  • Tracking customer relationships from start to finish
  • Prioritize, automate, and organize all customer-related processes
  • Real-time data to inform decisions

That’s why managing data to optimize every stage of the customer journey is crucial. We’ve assembled a guide to help you do just that, so let’s get started.

Understanding the Data-Driven Customer Journey

These days, the customer journey is anything but one-dimensional. Customers don’t just walk into a brick-and-mortar location, make a purchase, and walk right back out again.

Instead, they interact with your brand at multiple touchpoints. They see an ad on their phone, peruse your website on their laptop, see a targeted ad on their Facebook page … and that’s all before they actually interact with any representatives of your company!

Customers interact with hundreds of data points before they make a meaningful decision on your brand. That means the customer experience is more multifaceted than ever before.

With all of these interaction points, cloud data is the only way to accurately contextualize all potential information. Consider all the data that needs to be coordinated across input points:

  • Device type
  • Mobile apps
  • Customer demographic information
  • Physical location
  • Websites visited
  • Payment types
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Customer name
  • Experience level with technology

People don’t want to be frustrated with the necessary technology to complete a transaction or communicate with a brand. To ensure a data-driven customer journey is seamless, you need to consider how you’re going to optimize data to map out the journey.

There’s so much to research when it comes to assembling data points for a journey map.

Customer Journey Mapping

Want to leverage data for powerful customer journeys? It starts with data optimization and mapping.



Here’s the thing about some data unification and management platforms. Some simply don’t have the ability to bridge the gap between data and insights.

You can collect all the data in the world. But even if you have millions of data points on each customer, it may not be enough.

After all, if you can’t contextualize, organize, prioritize, and leverage data, is it even worth it? It’s like trying to work in a crowded garage. You can have all the tools you need, but if you can’t find and use them, it doesn’t really matter.

It’s also crucial that you keep all this data safe. Otherwise, customers won’t be able to trust you with sensitive information—like their billing information!

That’s why picking the right cloud data platform for the necessary information to map a customer journey is crucial. It’s also important to understand how each stage of the customer journey requires accurate data input.

We’ve broken down the five-stage journey and how it relates to data so that you can audit your own business strategy and see how you can better serve customers and improve workplace communication.

Reaching Out

Reach is categorized as the first stage of the customer journey map. This is what happens when you make contact.

Depending on your brand, you may not be ‘in control’ of that first connection. Will your customer see the PPC ad campaign you’ve been working on? Or will they see your site after a quick Google search for ‘REST API’?

That may not be in your power. But it’s important to calculate what your first impression might be.

Another form of reach could be the first time a potential customer interacts with a real person. While it may not be their true ‘first interaction’, it will be a powerful moment.

This could be when you first leverage artificial intelligence in customer service. This occurs when someone engages the live chat feature on your platform, responds to a brand email, or receives a comment back on their post from your social media manager.

This is why educating your team is so important. They should know basic terms, like what ACD means, but they should also be able to empathize with and educate customers.

When it comes to cloud data, this is often the first step of collecting data. This is when a ‘customer profile’ begins to assemble. Information like device type and demographic often surfaces at this stage.


Current data unification platforms are often equipped to handle the first two stages of any customer journey map. On a journey that spans reach, acquire, develop, retain, and inspire—being able to only nail the first two stages isn’t enough.

The acquire stage is what happens when customers start to communicate with you directly. Here are some examples of the acquire stage:

  • Potential customers start getting personalized newsletters from you
  • Potential customers are in contact with a representative
  • Potential customers start receiving emails reminding them about sales, products, or offers that are tailored to them

This type of personalized communication requires managing data well. Data optimization is crucial to make sure your personalization efforts are accurate, but it’s still in the beginning stages.


Develop is one of the most exciting stages of the customer journey map. This is what happens after customers make an initial purchase.

Because of the sheer volume of information available, many data unification and management platforms don’t have the capabilities to manage this stage. The goal of the development stage is simple: evolve.

After you make the initial sale, it’s time to celebrate. But it’s also time to start building the relationship.

Think about how it works in your personal life. After someone agrees to be your partner, that’s not the time to start slacking. They’ve made an initial commitment, now it’s time for a mutual effort to demonstrate why that commitment is so worthwhile.

For companies, this means convincing customers to make future purchases, invest in the company’s future, and believe in their mission/vision. Have you ever met passionate brand warriors?

Highly successful companies like Apple have their own legions of brand proponents. Buying an Apple phone for these customers is more than a transaction—it’s a lifestyle.

Fueling this passion for your customers is important. It’s what transforms your relationship from dollars and cents to belief.

However, you need the right data unification platform to pull this off. Missteps at this stage can be fatal, especially since your new customer-company ‘relationship’ is in a delicate spot.


Once you’ve taken the initial development step, it’s time to work on customer retention. This stage is everything a data-driven customer journey has been driving toward this whole time.

This is where being able to obtain a 360-view of the customer journey is everything. Some companies choose to do the following:

  • Mark anniversaries for how long the client and the company have been ‘together’
  • Offer special discounts based on a customer’s buying history
  • Offer discounts based on referral codes and similar motivational programs

Some companies choose to offer subscription models as an easy way to ensure customer retention. This is often demonstrated with ‘subscribe and save’ models.

This is a great path because you only encounter the buying hurdle once. People often hesitate before inputting their credit card information or shelling out cash.

Once they make the decision, though, it’s made. That’s why retention models based on recurring goods or services work so well—the psychological hurdle is only presented once, but the symbiotic relationship continues.

Committing to a constant journey of learning—from Googling ‘AOV meaning’ to implementing new cloud ERP technology—will help you innovate.


If customers love or hate your brand, they’ll talk about it. Inspiring extreme emotions is what some brands do best—these are the brands that tend to go ‘viral’ on social media.

You’ve likely heard the saying that any press is good press. This isn’t necessarily true.

When people are passionate about a brand, others tend to believe them. After being inundated with countless advertising pitches every day, potential customers are wary, digital-savvy natives. They’ve heard it all before, so what makes your brand any different?

People view company-sponsored ads with suspicion. Models have been paid to promote products, IG influencers are getting something for their endorsement…who can you trust anymore?

When someone is talking about a company for free, people perk up. There’s not the innate distrust associated with someone who’s ‘getting something out of it’. And if a product is good enough to spark organic conversation, you know it’s worth something.

This is the pinnacle of leveraging data for an authentic customer journey. If you’ve created passionate brand warriors, you know that you’re doing something right. Hopefully, your data unification and management platform can keep up with you!

Leverage Data for Your Customer Journey

If you’re looking to leverage data, it’s important to have a solid data unification and management platform. Obtaining a 360-degree view of what customers need is the only way to build a solid relationship with them.

That’s why cloud data (versus an on-premise system) is the way to go. You’ll have a secure storage system that is accessible to all team members. This real-time data will inform critical decisions and allow you to move at the speed of light.

Connecting with customers is a lengthy process that requires investment in their success. But when you invest in them, customers are far more willing to invest in you.