Few people talk about it and it’s probably due to not many people knowing what it is…the customer journey.
And despite many businesses having the best intentions when it comes to their buying process, generally, the customer journey is not customer-friendly.
As a Business, ask yourself the following questions;
- Do you know where your customer is coming from?
- What leads them to purchase?
- What stops them from purchasing?
- Is your conversion rate low?
- Where is the bulk of your traffic coming from?
This will help you to understand the ins and outs of the customer’s journey.
If you don’t, you’re doing a disservice to your business and most importantly, your customers.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why you need to know your customer’s journey, how you can improve your customer’s journey and what it entails exactly.
What Does The Customer Journey Entail?
First of all, let’s start with the definition from surveymonkey.com:
“The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.”
From the moment your potential customer becomes aware of your brand, they’ve started a journey with your brand.
Whether that journey lasts long is down to the customer experience you have in place.
The journey of each customer will vary but if you have automation and funnels in place, you can control the journey from start to finish.
An example of a typical customer journey:
- Customer learns about your brand through a friend
- Customer types in your brand on Google
- Looks through your website and leaves without purchasing
- You run a Facebook campaign targeting website visitors in the last 30 days
- The customer sees your ad promoting your brand again
- They return to the website and views a pair of shoes they like
- They put the shoes in their basket and proceed to purchase
- They are now a customer and they are added to your marketing list
- Over time, they continue to make purchases from you 1-2 times a month
This journey may seem extremely complex, but with today’s digital marketing playground, this is a simple daily activity for most businesses and their customers.
If anything, the above is over-simplified.
Your customer goes through a range of emotions when they interact with your brand and ultimately, buy from you.
Common emotions in the customer journey include curiosity, trust, disappointment and maybe (hopefully), pure joy!
Of course, you would want to avoid all the negative emotions as much as you can and keep the journey as smooth and silky as possible without interrupting the journey of your customer.
One bad slip and you’ll pay the price with either a lost customer, an unsatisfied customer and something that can be detrimental for any business nowadays – a bad review.
Why You Need To Know Your Customer’s Journey
There are a number of reasons why you want to know your customer’s journey.
Here are a few to mention:
- Getting a bird’s eye view of your sales process
- Gaining knowledge about how your customers interact with your business
- Determining whether you have designed the customer journey in a logical order
- Differences between the desired customer experience and the actual customer journey
- Ability to put your focus on a customer’s particular needs at different stages of the funnel
Too many businesses get into the mindset and perspective of viewing the business from their own perspective rather than putting themselves in the shoes of what the customer is actually experiencing.
The move from businesses focusing on purely on profits without any regard for the customer has been flipped on its head with the introduction of the internet and social media.
Look at some of the most successful businesses today and you’ll see a pattern of businesses that are now customer-centric.
Just look at Amazon for example, they’ve paved the way for how business should be done and how they’ve raised the bar for what is expected by customers in today’s market.
How Can You Improve The Customer Journey
When thinking about the customer journey, businesses will tend to focus on the typical funnel of:
This is not even half of what the funnel you should be focusing on because there are many more stages a customer goes through in their journey with you.
If we were to go more in depth, we’d find the funnel may look more like this:
Despite the customer journey involving all departments of the business, we are going to focus predominantly on the marketing aspect of the customer’s journey.
Stage 1 – Awareness
Example 1: a potential customer finds out about your business through a family member who had a great experience buying from your business.
Improvement: this actually starts with the family member becoming aware of your brand, but ultimately, it comes down to you creating a great customer journey.
Example 2: Customer sees your Business from Google advertising.
Improvement: Create some intrigue and make your offering clear in your copy, headline and image.
Stage 2 & 3 – Interest + Consideration/Evaluation
At stages 2 & 3 you need to keep nurturing your customer by adding more value and keeping them engaged.
- Educate your customer about the product/service + overall business
- Showing how your solution can relieve their problem
- Show the customer how the value you provide justifies the price of your product/service
An informative blog that provides actionable advice is perfect for this stage and can help get customers to trust you and see you as a brand that knows more than anyone about the industry.
Stage 4 – Conversion/Purchase
Stage 4 is where all the work you’ve done pays off and the customer pays you for your product/service.
You can improve this part of the process by:
- Making it easy for the customer to buy from you. This is especially relevant for ecommerce stores – reduce the friction in the buying process
- A clear buy button – make it obvious for the customer where they have to click to buy. Such a simple improvement that not many businesses do.
Stage 5 – Repeat
At stage 5 you are looking to repeat stage 4 and get your customers to buy from you again.
- Upsell and cross-sell at the checkout stage or via email
- Run seasonal promotions that are directly related to the product the customer has purchased from you in the past
Make sure that if you do implement a up-sell or cross-sell that it is relevant so that you don’t annoy your customer and make them regret buying from you in the first place.
Stage 6 & 7 – Loyalty + Advocacy
At stage 6 & 7, you are now in a position where (hopefully) you have created an incredible customer experience that your customer is now telling everyone about you.
- Invite your customer to a loyalty program that offer discounts
- Sending a personalised email to thank the customer for their business
Website Improvements To Improve Your Customer Journey
Most of the customer journey is online and happens on your website.
Ask yourself the following questions to make sure your doing everything you can to improve the customer journey on your website:
- Is your main page attractive?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Does it have a strong CTA?
- Do you have a blog that provides informative information?
- What is the bounce rate on your website?
- Do you have a fast website loading speed?
Take the time today to go through your customer journey by yourself or with your team and work through the various stages, from the awareness stage to the advocacy stage.
It’s important you include all departments with this stage because they all play a part in the overall customer experience.
At the end of the day, it’s all about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and looking at your business from their viewpoint. Do this and you will gain a greater understanding of how to improve your customer journey.