To understand your customer experience, the customer journey is crucial for any business. But how do you describe it? And more importantly: how do you adjust it afterwards? From start to implementation, we go through it with you.
The customer journey, a convenient method
Customer journey mapping is a method for interpreting and visualising the insights gathered about customers or users. This model is a powerful tool for understanding the total experience people have when they purchase your product or service, and the underlying needs and issues that play a role in this.
The start of your customer journey
The image below shows the customer journey. It consists of five major phases, the customer journey steps, which can take place both online and offline. This journey can vary according to the type of company.
The customer journey visualises the various contacts that a consumer has with your organisation. We call these interactions touchpoints and they are both online and offline. An online touchpoint is, for instance, an advertisement on social media, an offline touchpoint can be a conversation with a call centre employee. These touchpoints are not always obvious. For example, a container that is overfilled in your parking lot is quickly a touchpoint, a negative one at that.
We place all these points on our journey. From experiencing the need to the purchase and the effective use; we map everything out. To do this, we have to measure what people are looking for and where they drop out. We tailor our business to this knowledge. We want to create a sales funnel. We want to create a business that turns prospects into loyal customers. You do that by offering them positive experiences every time they go through your journey. A customer can go through this journey in 10 seconds to buy a can of coke. Or it may take him days or even weeks to buy, say, a new car.
The customer journey in real life
We will show you what the first three steps entail with a practical example:
- Awareness: the buyer comes to the conclusion that he has a problem or a wish.
- Consideration: gathering information about the problem or wish. He starts looking for different solutions.
- Purchase: the buyer is prepared to make a purchase decision and chooses a seller.
Let’s talk about Adam. His journey will eventually lead to the purchase of a folding bicycle.
Adam is a freelance software developer living in the heart of Antwerp. He has several projects spread over Antwerp and Brussels. Moving between projects as quickly as possible is his goal.
|Awareness||Make adam aware that he can save valuable time if he travels quickly and efficiently with a combination of train and bicycle|
|Consideration||Give Adam plenty of positive arguments, such as a link between cycling and having more focus on the next project: mobile working on the train. Be sure to offer him a different solution here: car, shared scooter, folding bike|
|Purchase||Help Adam realise the added value of a folding bike over the other solutions and convince him to choose our folding bike|
It is therefore very important to know who your potential target audience is. To do this, you set up buyer personas. Adam would quickly place you in the persona of a freelancer aged 20-30.
Creating and retaining customers
In the first steps, we focused on convincing a customer. Now we will focus on creating the optimal experience with your service or product. Key words here are: service and loyalty.
It is much more than answering the phone in a friendly manner. It is about meeting all the needs and wishes of the consumer. Many things are obvious, such as keeping promises, politeness, personalisation, efficiency, solving problems… Yet, in practice, this is often still a problem.
A nice example of an optimal service experience are tickets for Tomorrowland. People even post pictures of the arrival of their tickets. How crazy can you get?
It is at this stage that marketing automation can play a useful role, for we already know who our consumer is! A quick check on his experience, a little something for his birthday… The applications of marketing automation are endless.
When the consumer has gone through the whole process and has experienced it as positive, the step to make him loyal is a home run. Of course we want him to buy our product again. Returning to the example of Adam, perhaps he needs a new tyre, brake or reflector soon? Then we are there for him. If he can link a positive feeling top of mind to our brand, the choice will quickly be made.
Starting the customer journey yourself
We map out the most complete journey possible by going through all the departments in a company. Each department has its own metrics and goals, but the common goal is to satisfy the consumer. Collecting and mapping out all these different goals requires the necessary coordination, but is necessary to get an overall picture.
Need to fill in a template quickly?
No, it does not work like that. A template is the perfect instrument for mapping large data streams. However, the danger lurks that you will use data that are almost prehistoric and no longer relevant at all. Real-time mining of data by data or search marketers is therefore a requirement in order to optimise and individualise the journey in real time on the basis of the most relevant information. What can also contribute: surveys, interviews, reviews.
Finally, a golden tip: distance yourself from your organisation and look at your processes through the eyes of a consumer. Everything can be better, everything can be different.