With the rapidly changing expectations that customers hold, it’s important to stay abreast of the needs of your consumers. Making a conscious effort to build an effective and engaging customer journey is vital and can result in significant long-term advantages.
So, in this article, I’ll explain what a customer journey is and look into the benefits of customer journey mapping to show how they can boost your business.
What is a Customer Journey?
Before exploring how building a customer journey can benefit your business, let’s cover the basics.
Simply put, a customer journey is a phrase used to describe the interactions a customer has with a brand while purchasing a product or service. It covers the entire exchange from brand discovery through to purchasing and beyond.
A customer journey aims to allow businesses to monitor and respond to consumer desires and behaviour. This allows them both to measure and evaluate how your customer’s needs are being fulfilled while also using the information to enhance the experience and further build their brand.
Often, a customer journey is made up of six stages:
The very first step in the customer journey, this begins with the consumer making an online or in-person decision to search for a product or service.
2. Brand promotion
This involves spreading information regarding your products or services to target audiences. Throughout this stage, consumers looking for solutions may encounter multiple brands and products, so a strong first impression is vital.
During this phase, the consumer begins to hone in on their decision, isolating a handful of options to provide the product or service they’re looking for. This might include comparing past purchases or reading online reviews to ensure the quality and cost-effectiveness of the purchase.
Here we reach the point at which the customer takes action. Once potential consumers are satisfied with researching and comparing the alternatives, they will decide to purchase the product or service on offer.
Perhaps the most vital step for ongoing benefits, usage revolves around the customer using the product and or service and, ideally, being satisfied with it. Providing excellent onward support to customers is also a crucial part of this step.
While most businesses accept that word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing, few commit to a plan to increase customer advocacy. Yet, this step often encourages customers to share their experience with their peer group to raise awareness, bringing us back, in a cycle, to step one.
The Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
To help visualise this process, many companies formulate a customer journey map, explaining what their strategies might be at each step. This better enables businesses to carry out research by gathering qualitative and quantitative data from interviews, surveys and product experience tools.
So, let’s look at how customer journey mapping can benefit your business and your customers.
1. Creates personalised experiences
Over the last few years, customers have become increasingly expectant of personalised experiences. With consumers prioritising personalised content and services, the understanding gained from building and analysing a customer journey is invaluable.
Mapping out the consumer experience allows you to dig deeper into user intent and interactions, giving you the tools to build a hyper-personal experience across all platforms. Initiatives like creating targeted landing pages, prioritising relevant social media ads and customising the onboarding experience to allow consumers to adapt your product or service to their exact needs are all areas that benefit from customer journey mapping.
2. Streamlines multi-platform journeys
Most consumers use several channels to research and interact with brands. This can create overwhelmingly complicated journeys around multiple platforms, including social media, search engines and company websites. These can, in turn, vary depending on the demographic, with different genders, generations and social backgrounds prioritising other platforms.
One of the benefits of customer journey mapping is that it visualises all of these disparate engagements in one place, giving you a concise insight into exactly what customers are thinking, feeling and doing at each stage. This allows you to provide accurate and timely information through the appropriate channel, enhancing the customer experience.
3. Helps identify unmet needs
Customer service gurus Zendesk estimate that 80% of consumers will switch to a competitor after more than one negative experience, meaning that sealing any cracks in the user experience is a must.
The strong understanding offered by mapping your customer journey allows you to identify costly gaps in the consumer experience by enhancing your awareness of customer needs through data-driven research. For example, if you notice a customer encountering a problem with a specific area, a helpful pop-up or tooltip could make a difference and vastly improve customer retention.
4. Enhances inter-departmental cohesion
A less obvious example of how customer journey mapping can benefit your business is the clarity and cohesion it promotes between the various stakeholders in your company. By utilising the data from mapping your customer journey, you can bring the multiple teams in your organisation together behind a clear, cohesive plan aimed at enhancing the customer experiencing and benefiting the company as a whole.
This can include the prominent areas such as marketing, sales and customer service, as well as the ‘behind the scenes’ departments like shipping, management and product design, which can streamline their efforts with the knowledge afforded by customer journey research.
Marketing Expertise to Help You Build a Customer Journey
With over 25 years of marketing experience across varied sectors, I have the comprehensive knowledge to know exactly how to make the most out of your customer journey.
To find out more about my services, click here and make sure to read the posts below for more marketing and industry tips. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch for a more detailed discussion about how I can help map your customer journey.
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