What’s a customer journey and why’s it a big deal?
Have you ever had a gut feeling that you’ve got more customers out there but just don’t know where they’re hiding? Or maybe you’ve been noticing that customers who have stopped by your shop or called or emailed you haven’t come back to make an actual purchase?
If you’ve ever wondered how to find customers and keep them, then it’s time to do a deep dive into your business’ customer journey.
In the marketing world, the customer journey is everything. It sets your business up to provide a seamless experience for your customers from the very first moment they learn about you to becoming your advocate after they’ve purchased from you.
Why the customer journey is a really big deal
The customer journey is a really big deal because at the heart of it, it’s about relationships. It’s creating positive experiences that build trust and well-being between you and your customer from the very beginning.
And when you get the customer journey right,
- You get that 5-star Google or Facebook review.
- You get new, engaged followers on social media.
- You get someone who will be excited to tell other people about their experience with your business.
- You can get a customer for life.
What knowing the customer journey will tell you
Since it’s such a big deal, we’re going to do a series on the customer journey and each of its steps. By the end, it’s our goal that you’ll have a strategy in place to know:
- How and where to advertise
- What you want to blog about
- What sort of content you’d like to include on your website
- Email campaigns you could run
- Physical content like how your package might be unboxed
- What gifts you might want to give to your best customers at the holidays.
The key to the customer journey
So how do you get the customer journey right?? Empathy. A whole lotta empathy. You need to be able to see your business and product as your customer sees it. And you need to understand clearly who your business is serving. But don’t worry, if that’s not your strong suit, I’ve got some assignments below that will help you experience things from your customer’s perspective.
Ready to get into the minds of your customers? Here we go!
The 5 basic steps of a customer’s journey
If you google “customer journey” you’ll learn in a quick hurry that there are no hard and fast rules as to the exact steps that customers take — each business and industry is different, each customer demographic is different.
Just to give you an idea, here’s a screenshot of my search results:
So many beautiful graphs! However, despite their differences, there are 5 top-level stages a potential customer goes through before they become your BFF:
- Awareness – This is when a potential customer sees you for the first time. Whether through an ad or through someone else telling them about you, you’re now on their radar.
- Interest – During this stage, they might start researching you or your product. Perhaps they’ll ask other people they know if they’ve ever used your product. This is where trust is built.
- Purchase – Congrats! They’ve chosen you!
- Retention – Their experience with you was good enough that they’ve opted in to get your emails and news updates.
- Advocacy – They love you, they love your products, and they’re telling the world about it.
Depending on your industry, you may have to customize your customer’s journey by additional steps that suit your customer’s process better. For example, if you have a lot of known competitors or you offer information-heavy products (like insurance, for example), your customer may have an additional step you could call “research/consideration” after “interest”.
Your customer journey assignments
Let’s figure out what steps your customers are taking. To do that, I’m going to give you your first assignment:
1. For a moment, suspend your reality — don’t think about you at all, set aside your business and its needs, your product and how awesome it is, and pretend you’re someone who has never heard of your product but probably needs it. And (this is the hard part) pretend you know nothing about your industry and especially rid yourself of the “but this is how the industry does it” mentality. You want to be a blank slate as much as possible.
Then ask yourself:
- If I was buying my product, what details would I want to know?
- Would I need a lot of communication? Would it be best to talk to a person or would emails be enough?
- Would I want to read product reviews or testimonials?
- Where would I go to find this information about my product?
- Who would I go to for advice before buying my product?
- What would finally convince me to buy my product?
- What things would convince me to sign up for a newsletter or emails from my business?
- Would I want to buy from my business twice?
- Why would I recommend my product to a friend?
I’d also do some real-life online searching to try to find your product and all relevant information a customer might want. Write down any observations, any frustrations you encountered, any gaps in information, any competitors who are doing a great job with the customer journey.
Now that you’re armed with loads of information and experience about how your customer might choose you, here’s your second assignment:
2. Map out the steps of your customer’s journey. Use the 5 stages as a guideline, but customize it to fit your path. Then, at each stage, sketch out the specific ways that your customers are behaving at that step. For example, if you’re a restaurant at the “interest” stage, perhaps your customers are spending time reading reviews on Yelp.
And finally, here’s your last assignment:
3. Click the link below so you don’t miss a single step of the customer journey! We’ll send you an email for each installment and set you up for the best possible customer journey success 😀.