A customer journey is a visual roadmap of every touchpoint your customer goes through, as they interact with your brand, product or service.
It helps companies visualise the experience that a user has as they move through different processes.
All the way from the initial stage of awareness — right through to the post-sale stage, loyalty.
Check out this example of a customer journey map from Bright Vessel:
The graphic gives an example of a customer wanting to buy a pair of shoes, and then all the subsequent thought process to get there.
This is a great example because it breaks down the whole process.
Across the top of the image we have the 5 stages of the customer journey:
Below this, we have the steps that a customer makes as they move through the process.
Following this is the customer touchpoints.
These include social media, ads, product catalogues, and events — any marketing channel that prompts an interaction from your customer, is a touchpoint.
And then finally we have some examples of the different departments within a company and how the touchpoints relate to them.
These steps and the mindset that the customer has as they move through each of the stages can be applied to any product or service.
Why each stage is equally important
Now we have the stages of the customer journey mapped out. Let’s talk about each one in more detail.
This refers to the point at which a customer becomes aware of your brand.
Depending on the industry this can happen in several ways but in the context of digital marketing, awareness usually comes about due to:
- Ads also known as PPC marketing
- Social Media
- Blogs, Newsletters or Lead Magnets
So this stage is all about the customer realising they have a need for something and starting their quest to find it.
This refers to the experience that a customer has with your brand.
Again, there are a few ways this happens but primarily we’re talking about things like:
It’s here that customers will form their opinions on whether they want to do business with you or not, pretty much.
This is where the different aspects of the customer experience really come into play.
- Do they like the visual elements, like branding and UI?
- Is the copy, tone and messaging correct?
- Does the experience of interacting with it, feel great?
This is when a customer actually purchases something and the experience that follows.
For example, after the purchase has been made the following things happen:
- Receives email acknowledgement (this could be the start of a welcome series)
- Whilst waiting for the product to arrive they receive updates via email or text.
- Product arrives
- Packaging, quality and usability are assessed by the customer.
- Customer is either satisfied or dissatisfied based on the entire process.
This experience is for a physical product like clothes or electronics but you might be offering a non-physical product like software.
In this case, the steps between purchasing and receiving the goods might be different but they still present opportunities to impress or disappoint.
This refers to how a complaint or issue is resolved by the company.
The level of service.
Pissed-off customers can still become fans purely down to how their dispute is handled.
Things to think about here are:
- Responding quickly to emails or phone calls
- Making the process clear and simple to understand
- Resolving the complaint quickly and with personality
The final stage refers to how a company keeps in touch with their customer and how they get them to return for more.
Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing.
Go above and beyond to let customers know they’ve made the right choice in choosing your brand.
Here are a few tips for promoting loyalty and gaining referrals:
- Ask for testimonials
- Google reviews
- Offer discounts for future purchases
- Referral schemes for friends and family
- Membership/ loyalty programmes
Its been a journey
And there we have it! A brief overview of what the customer journey looks like and some of the ways you can affect it.
Remember to keep customer experience top of mind in everything that you do, and always look to provide an exemplary and enjoyable experience all the way through the journey.
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