The customer journey is the full-cycle relationship between a business and its customers. It encompasses every touchpoint with customers, from brand awareness to sales. Post-sale, the customer journey continues to retention and advocacy.
Without mapping and analyzing your customer journey, you won’t be able to understand your customers’ behaviors and how they engage with your business. Mapping the customer journey helps you gain insights into how people become aware of your brand, what leads to conversions or sales, and why they leave or return.
In most customer journeys, the path to purchase is not an immediate one. There are several stages that lead to the purchase, and during each stage, you want to know how customers feel about your business, product, or service. Most customer journey models involve awareness, consideration, conversion, retention, and advocacy.
1. Awareness or Discovery
Awareness or discovery is the stage when someone discovers your products or services. For this stage, you want to make sure you have a strong brand presence.
The consideration phase is when the customer is considering which product or service will meet their needs and typically involves research and product comparison. Customer reviews, free samples, free trials, product documentation and frequently asked questions (FAQ) are helpful to influence users’ decision-making process during the consideration phase.
3. Conversion or Acquisition
In the conversion or acquisition stage, potential customers have turned into actual customers, having purchased your products or services. Focus on strong customer service to ensure a good first impression with your brand.
The retention phase is focused on maintaining a consistent and ongoing relationship with customers. Ask for customers’ feedback and reviews, offer them discounts on new products, and share ways they can best use the newly purchased product.
In the advocacy stage, customers become an advocate for your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing from advocates can be encouraged by asking for reviews, starting a referral program, or asking customers to share their experiences with your products on social media.
There are many benefits to customer journey mapping. First, organizations can optimize and improve each stage in the journey based on customer needs. This can lead to an increase in conversions and sales. Understanding customer interactions at each stage of the journey helps you get into the minds of customers, which lets you better serve their needs. You can also identify where you fall short and resolve any stumbling blocks customers come across in their journeys.
Not everyone on the customer journey will get to that point of purchase or become a long-term customer or advocate. That’s the value of understanding the journey. By identifying pitfalls and areas of improvement, you can reach the users that abandon their carts or lose interest in your brand. Find ways to re-engage with these users to convince them that your products and services are the right choice after all.