Updated: Oct 26, 2020
You have a business up and running? That’s great. That’s one step done but a hundred steps yet to come. While running your business, even though the final goal you want to achieve is driving sales and building your brand, you should stop every few seconds thinking like an entrepreneur and start thinking like a consumer.
Why? Because at the end of the day, your services or products serve your customers, not you. After all, your business is driven by your consumers’ interest and purchase. If you keep them out of your mind while doing business, well, it won’t be good for you in the long run.
Let’s get into the customer journey, shall we?
What is a customer journey?
Simply put, a customer journey is a complete experience a customer has with a brand, from getting to know the brand for the very first time – to – taking up their trial offers, doing a review (online and offline), purchasing the products and taking up their after customer services.
There are 4 main stages in the customer journey, which is also called a “Sales Funnel”, “Purchase Funnel” or “Customer Life Cycle”.
Why is the customer journey important?
Building your business’ customer journey to analyze user behavior helps your business understand how their (potential) customers go through the entire sales process and how they feel during it.
There’re two main benefits of this approach.
For business: it allows decision-makers to stay focus on their goals and target customers.
For potential leads: it helps their experience on your website easier.
You can have the best marketing strategy with the best marketing team, but it won’t go anywhere if your customers aren’t satisfied with the experience.
Now, let’s think about it. How can you know at which part can we put our resources and effort in to connect with the customers?
We need to remember that the customer journey involves every interaction with your company, from products to services. You could have great products, devoted customer service or speedy website, but if there’s any weak link – which can turn out to be a super long chain – it could send your potential customers away.
How do you improve this process?
Think simply like this: as a customer yourself, you’ll go through a process of hearing about a brand from your friends, to seeing the advertisement, then returning for repeat business. As a marketer, you can create and control these touchpoints. What’s left is to identify them to smooth out the process.
What are customer touchpoints?
Basically, whenever a customer interacts with your brands, it creates a touchpoint, including before, during and after the purchase. Your goal is to ensure that your customer is happy at any part of the chain.
How to recognize these touchpoints?
The most effective way to find these touchpoints is to think like a customer who is totally new to your brand. They’re also going through the whole process of doing business with you.
Let’s divide it into 3 parts:
Before doing business: this is where the customer is getting to know about you. In this case, they can find out more about your brand through various marketing efforts, from ads, online testimonials or social media. They can also read through reviews on different sites, or through word-of-mouth – one of the most powerful and effective way to promote your brand. Find out which one is best suited to your brand’s goals, visions, image and finance to put some of them, or all of them, into use.
During doing business: this is where the purchase happens. It could be a physical store, a website, or a catalog. The customers will contact the sales team, staff or call center.
After doing business: this is where the customer will get support from your company, including customer service, billing, questions and return. The customer may receive feedback survey requests, newsletters, or thank you cards.
After identifying each touchpoint and find out which tools should be right for which stage, take a deep breath, step back and look at it closely. Is there anything out of ordinary? Are there any weak links that need to be improved? Will the customers face any obstacle along the way? Is it easy for customers to resolve the issues during the whole process?
To end this here…
Doing business is all trial and error. Take careful steps forward, but don’t forget to look back every step of the way to ensure that you’re on the right track. If you fail, no worries. You just have to investigate the process again to know why and how you can fix it.
Remember that you’re creating an experience for the customers, not just yourself, in order to sell your products. Always keep in mind who you do your services to.