What is a Customer Journey, and How Is It Used?
Over the past couple of weeks, we have discussed digital ecosystems and customer personas on our marketing blog. If you haven’t already done so, go check those blog posts out. I’ve linked them above. If you’ve previously read them, you are already aware of how beneficial the digital ecosystem and customer personas are to marketers. Today, I’ve decided to continue along this voyage and talk a little bit about the customer journey as a whole.
What is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey is an entire experience a customer has with an organization from start to finish. It encompasses every interaction a customer has across all channels, devices, and touchpoints throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle – from the beginning stage of awareness to the final stage of loyalty.
In order to understand the journey of our customers, marketers must step into their shoes and experience what they are experiencing. It is essential to experience their journey starting at the awareness stage and through the consideration, purchase, and usage stages until you finalize the exercise at the loyalty stage.
Beginning at the awareness stage, you can seek to view your sign or storefront and determine what about it is attractive from a consumer standpoint? What makes you want to walk into a store? Is it the window display or the building murals?
While this exercise may seem superficial, it is essential to remember that it is as rewarding as you make it. Focus on the consumer’s experience and make a note of the little things that made you want to walk into the store. How do you feel at this stage of the journey?
After you or have stepped foot into the store, we enter the consideration phase. The consideration phase is the phase in which the consumer evaluates and identifies their options in an effort to determine if your company is the company they want to purchase from. Envision your customers shopping around your store, inspecting your products, and mentally comparing them to other similar products they’ve seen. Are they good quality? Are they better than other products they’ve purchased? Do they need them? If so, should they purchase them right here and right now in your store?
If they decide to purchase, we move forward in the customer journey into the purchase phase. The purchase phase is the phase in which a consumer has made a conscious decision to not only purchase a product but to do so from your brand. The brand has now developed its target audience into a paying customer. But how will the customer feel when they use the product?
Moving into the usage phase – a consumer has just purchased a product from your store and has taken it home to use it. This is the phase in which the consumer decides if this was a good or bad purchase. If the consumer sees this as a good purchase, they will likely post on social media and tell their friends about it. This leads us to the next phase, loyalty.
The final stage of the customer journey is the loyalty phase. At this phase, a consumer has already become aware of your brand and decided to visit your website or walk into your store. Considered your products and compared them to your competitors. Decided to purchase the product from your store or website and have used the product and decided to post on social media. Now, its time for your consumer to determine if they will return to your store or website to make another purchase.
After experiencing the customer journey from your customer’s point of view, you should have a better understanding of the challenges they are faced with throughout the journey and the many attributes that convinced them to continue along the journey to reach this phase. So, now what? How is the customer journey used?
How is the customer journey used?
A customer journey is an entire experience a consumer has with a brand from start to finish. As we all know, each consumer embarks on a journey towards the purchasing of a product. The customer journey is made up of five phases, and each phase represents its only challenges. As marketers, it is our job to lead the customer through the journey while nurturing them and encouraging them to purchase.
Throughout the journey, these challenges can be anything from a terrible store layout to a glitching website or a rude employee. Understanding the customer journey and experiencing the journey from a customer’s shoes helps the marketer to create solutions to these challenges or allows us to provide ways to prevent these challenges from occurring. Further, visualizing how a customer interacts with a business helps us understand how to structure touchpoints and content to our customers to provide the most efficient and compelling journey. This experience offers in-depth insights into the brand and assists in the refocusing process to meet the needs of consumers and increase transactions and customer retention rates. So how do we turn this fun little exercise into actual transactions? Tune in next week to find out how to create a customer journey map and implement the insights you’ve gained from participating in this exercise.