We hear so much about ‘customer journeys’, but many people don’t really understand what that means. That doesn’t mean that people don’t have a defined customer journey for their clients and customers; it just means that they don’t necessarily have a name for it!
Quite simply, the customer journey refers to the process that your customers go through, from first hearing about your business to the aftercare they receive following purchasing/booking with you. Every single interaction you have with them along the way enhances (hopefully) their customer journey. It encompasses all the touchpoints a customer has with a company, whether it be through advertising, customer service, or the product/service itself. A great journey can have those customers coming back time after time and referring you to their friends and family.
So now you can see why an exceptional customer journey is so key to the success and growth of your business, let’s dive deeper into this and break a typical journey down into steps.
The very first step of a customer journey is your customers becoming aware of you, your brand, and your services/products. This can happen through various marketing channels such as online advertising, word-of-mouth, or social media. It is really important that your messaging is in line with your service and speaks to the people that you ideally want to be working with. If you’re speaking directly to your ideal people and their pain points, then you’ve got more chance of your ideal people contacting you! In other words, this helps to weed out your not-so-ideal clients.
Once they have become aware of your business and your products/services, the customer then moves on to the consideration phase. At this stage they will gather information about your competition and evaluate all their options. During this phase, a customer may visit your website, read customer reviews, stalk you on social media, sign up for your newsletter or speak with friends and family to gather more information. It is really important that your messaging and branding aligns across all these different channels. Significant differences can result in the potential customer feeling confused, which can in turn lead to them losing trust in you.
When the customer has considered all their options and decided to take action, they enter the conversion phase when they commit to purchasing from you. This could be as simple as making a purchase online, or be slightly more involved, such as scheduling a service appointment with you. There are so many things to consider when reviewing this part of your customer journey. So many, in fact, I should probably write a separate blog post about it!
To begin with, is your booking system simple to follow and joined up with your existing systems? Do you have automations in place with ‘thank you for booking’ emails being sent out automatically? What is your payment process? You don’t want a confusing and clunky payment page losing you sales at the last minute, so do some dry runs to make sure that everything is seamless. If they are purchasing an actual product (physical or digital), is the delivery method quick and efficient? In today’s instant world, no one wants to wait for something they’ve already spent money on.
After your customer has parted with their hard-earned money and they have had their product or service, they enter the post-purchase phase. This is when they evaluate the product or service, and decide whether to purchase or book with you again. During this phase, the customer may leave a review, contact you with questions or concerns, or (ideally!) recommend you to other people in their network. People who have already purchased from you have already learned to know, like, and trust you, so they are the perfect advocates for your business. We need to nurture and show them that we still care for them, even though they have already parted with their money.
Of course, in order to effectively assess your customer journey, as well as reviewing it yourself, you really need some customer feedback. If you’re wondering how you can get that, there are lots of different tools and techniques which can help you, such as surveys, focus groups, user testing, and analytics. By gathering data generally and at each stage of the journey, you can gain crucial insights into your ideal customers’ behaviour and preferences and use this information to make improvements and developments to your customer journey, products, and services. You can also refine the overall customer experience and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
It is worth noting that the customer journey can differ depending on the industry and the type of product or service being offered. For example, a customer’s journey for a B2B service will probably be different from a customer journey for a B2C product. Additionally, the journey may differ depending on the type of purchase, such as an online purchase vs an in-store purchase.
In conclusion, the customer journey is the series of experiences that a customer goes through when interacting with your business, including the initial awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase evaluation. By understanding the customer journey, companies can create better marketing strategies, improve customer service, and design products and services that meet customer needs.
I really hope that you have found this blog to be enlightening and useful to reviewing and improving your own customer journeys – and I wish you the best of luck with them! If you would like more tips on improving your customer experience and communications, please sign up to my email list to receive my newsletter packed with useful tips and updates.
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