It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re bombarded by industry terms and jargon - especially when you just want to focus on your own business and day-to-day tasks. Worrying about managing a customer journey and what a customer journey is could make your plate feel like you’re being served seconds and thirds without a breather. Thankfully, today’s technology serves as a helpful tool that allows you to organize your brand into a strong and positive customer experience.
While the phrase “customer journey” may lead your mind towards customers perusing your wares or being guided through your company - the truth is a bit more complex.
As you continue to create and evolve your established brand - and preferred methods of communicating with the public - you begin to piece together your own unique journey.
A dedicated and well thought-out customer journey ensures your clients get the best possible customer service and ensure you stand out from your competition. The last thing you want is an outdated mission, goals, or ideals preventing a sale.
Customer journeys are designed to:
Nurture clients and keep them focused on your brand
Create an easy buying experience for the customer
Elaborate and expand your brand
Scale your business
The key to creating a smooth customer journey is to understand how your customers use your touchpoints and how you want them to use your touchpoints. By optimizing your brand experience through various customer touchpoints (social media, websites, staff, etc) you can figure out what your customer is thinking and how to use that information to your benefit, shaping and improving results over time. As you begin to cultivate this journey, the ultimate goal will be to control how your customers interact with your business every step of the way. From delivering a consistent brand message to delivering high levels of customer service at every step, your customer journey will help achieve your sales goals.
What is a Customer Journey?
If your brand is the exit, then your customer journey is the road your customer takes along the way. The customer journey is all the different ways your customers interact with your business from “hello” to “check out” and beyond.
A customer journey is the entire experience a client has when interacting with your company and brand. It does not focus on a specific event with an individual touchpoint but on the overall “journey” with your company as a whole.
A Customer’s Journey:
They first notice your brand/company via ad or word of mouth
They visit a touchpoint (store, website, social media)
They research a product/read reviews
They purchase a product
They leave a review, comment, or feedback
They return to purchase another product
They refer a friend, family member or colleague
As customers interact with your touchpoints, you want to ensure that every interaction is up to your company’s high standards each and every time. Consistent brand management will ensure your customers get the best possible version of your company every time they interact with you.
Why Do You Need to Consciously Develop Your Customer Journey?
Understanding the stages your customers take as they interact with your brand allows you to go deeper into creating the journey you want your guests to take. As customers first discover your brand, how do you want them to perceive you? Too many of us are guilty of a "winging it" kind of approach to managing their customers. This approach leaves too much to chance. It necessitates a higher degree of trust and delegation to support staff, and requires you to hire more skilled workers, which adds significantly to labor costs.
Instead, the entrepreneur who answers the questions below will have a more scalable and duplicatable business while saving on labor cost, and, in general, will have their business more organized and less stress inducing.
- How do you segment your audience into personas that can be targeted with messages relevant to them?
- What are the customer journey "entry points" for each persona?
- Once thrugh an entry point, what are the EXACT steps that each persona goes through leading to a sale, and ultimately a referral?
- What obstacles would cause a customer to forego the customer journey before the sales stage?
These questions can work as a starting point towards the journey you want to build for your customers.
Why Do You Need to Continuously Refine Your Customer Journey?
The truth is, you will never be able to guess what your customer is thinking 100% of the time. Through diligent tracking of various metrics like open rates, response rates, click thru rates and also a healthy dose of A-B testing, you’ll be able to see what worked and what didn’t. You’ll have a better understanding of your guest’s shopping patterns and how these patterns correlate to sales. Customer surveys, reviews, and feedback all let you understand the customer’s experience through their perspective. Through analysis of actual customer data, you’ll have the ability to pinpoint and target problem areas before they become catastrophic for business. Conversely, successful campaigns can be continuously tweaked into super high-performing campaigns.
Creating a positive customer journey, creates happy, brand-loyal customers. By understanding your customers and their journeys through your touchpoints, you can ensure profitable long-term growth. Creating and expanding your positive customer experience will put you ahead of your competition and keep you there.