I want to use the beginning of the new year to go on a journey with you – and your customers! Like any journey, the customer journey needs to be well planned to ensure that your customers say « goodbye » at the end, satisfied, with positive experiences and full pockets. And mean it.
The term « customer journey » describes the experiences customers have between their first contact with a product (or brand or service), through their final purchase decision, and beyond. Basically, sales psychology assumes (and we know from our own experience) that customers rarely decide spontaneously but encounter a product at different points of the journey, the so-called touchpoints. By optimising these touchpoints, you can positively influence the customer experience and the purchase decision.
Marketing experts work with different models that map and analyse the customer journey. For example, a widely known model used in sales psychology is called « AIDA », which defines four steps for the Customer Journey: Attention – Interest – Desire – Action. Other models include five stages similar to the above but beyond purchase: Awareness – Consideration – Conversion (purchase decision and purchase) – Retention (experience) – Advocacy (experience shared).
The models provide valuable starting points. Ultimately, however, it is about knowing your customers’ customer journey. This can be different for every company, every brand, every product, every service, and every process. That’s why it’s worth taking a close look.
The Customer Journey Map puts you in your customers’ shoes
A visual Customer Journey Map indicates customers’ interactions with your products or brand at each touchpoint. This exercise helps you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and change your perspective.
First, all touchpoints with the customers are documented. This can be, for example, the shop (consultation/dressing room/checkout), the website, a flyer, the social media channels, or the service hotline. Also, consider the customers’ feelings and experiences. This process will help you gain insights into common customer issues, allowing you to optimise and personalise the customer experience.
Every touchpoint along the customer journey can be analysed and usually improved. Attention can be generated by advertising a product, for example. In contrast, interest can be caused by in-depth product information on the product itself, in the shop, on the website, or in the online shop. The actual purchase can be pushed through a simple, fast, and secure payment process (both offline and online). If you notice that customers often abandon during the ordering or payment process, there is obviously a need for optimisation at this touchpoint. Find out why this is the case: Hidden additional costs, complicated navigation, or not the desired payment option? Transferred to local retail: Are there too few sales staff available, or is the queue at the checkout too long? The same applies to other touchpoints, such as online advertisements that do not lead to clicks or an unfulfilled need for information from potential customers.
Another advantage of a thorough customer journey analysis is that you can take advantage of positive spillover effects. For example, at what point in the decision-making process are customers willing to give out their email addresses, create a customer account, or subscribe to a newsletter? When do they expect personalised service? Which promotional activities are practical?
While you can control your online marketing activities quite well at all touchpoints, such as websites, online shops, or social media channels, others are beyond your direct influence. A critical media report or a negative experience shared with others can severely disrupt the customer journey. Be aware that there is a risk of customers leaving at any time. Only in this way can you succeed in supporting them optimally throughout the entire customer journey to turn them into satisfied regular customers who will recommend your offers to others.