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Episode Maps and Analytics

As companies increasingly focus on customer experience, many have adopted a new unit of measure, the customer episode. An episode begins when a customer expresses a need and ends when the customer considers the need fulfilled—for example, paying a bill, buying a new phone or filing an insurance claim. Customer episodes can be comprised of multiple touchpoints across a wide variety of channels.

Companies use episode maps to visualize each potential interaction and decision point in a customer episode. Many companies go a step further and use analytics tools to collect data from each interaction within an episode. Well-managed analytics engines can track the customer through the episode, from end to end and across different channels, uncovering insights to improve the experience.

How companies use episode maps and analytics

  • Performing retroactive diagnostics. Companies use advanced analytics to understand points of failure and friction in the customer episode and identify potential solutions.
  • Predicting Net Promoter® feedback. Feedback from previous customers who followed similar channel paths can help companies predict Net Promoter Scores, allowing them to adjust their service or process.
  • Providing customer visibility at the front line. Companies use episode maps and analytics to give more customer information to frontline team members, allowing them to see the interaction that likely prompted a service call.
  • Anticipating customer needs. A deep customer understanding allows companies to proactively reach out to customers when they might need service.
  • Prioritizing customer experience investments. Evaluating episodes’ end-to-end performance may help companies invest more in the ones that matter most.

Key considerations with episode maps and analytics

Companies that want to implement world-class episode analytics should:

  • Assign episode authority and accountability. Companies must first understand how these tools will fit into the broader management model. In an episode-led operating model, the episode becomes the unit of work for the organization. Episode owners have the authority to make critical decisions and necessary changes.
  • Decide on an episode mapping approach. Leaders must choose an approach, from guided brainstorming to detailed ethnographic studies, that supports the company’s capabilities, customer needs and the competitive landscape.
  • Assess technological requirements. Tracking customer interactions in an omnichannel environment requires sophisticated technology.
  • Assemble the toolkit. Companies might use both qualitative and quantitative tools to evaluate episode prioritization, redesign and reinvention. Design thinking and ethnography studies can help in customer episode reinvention, while customer experience dashboards and episode instrumentation provide real-time operational control.
  • Form the right partnerships. Companies often hire outside vendors to process huge amounts of customer data and gather insights. Clearly defined requirements are essential to finding the right partner, and smaller pilot efforts help companies test their approaches.
  • Customer experience performance
  • Episode management
  • Journey mapping

Net Promoter®, Net Promoter System®, Net Promoter Score® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.


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