Understanding the Customer Journey

A lot of things in marketing are simple. Getting customers is one of them.

Ok, it’s not quite true. But you can definitely make it easier for your business.

The secret, if that’s the right word, is knowing your audience.

Understanding what makes your audience and the people that don’t, but might, use your service tick is key. It’s the difference between success and failure.

The better you understand them, the more likely you’ll be in the right place at the right time they need your service.

Understanding the customer journey is part of this.

Why Understand the Customer Journey?

Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of your customers journey, from first seeing your brand right the way through to purchase, or other goal you’ve set.

Understanding this is a strategic approach to seeing how your prospects and customers interact with your business. It helps you manage their expectations and improve customer experience, both crucial to increasing your sales and having customers come back.

And it’s just as important to smaller businesses as it is to the larger ones.

The Basics on Mapping Your Customer Journey

To start you must know where your customers interact with your brand. That could be online or offline and would include things like newspaper adverts, telephone consultations, social media channels and websites.

Then you can follow that journey from start to finish.

As you map out the journey you should detail what the customer experiences at each touchpoint. Doing this will allow you to make tweaks.

So, for example, a person gets in contact through social media and this is followed up by a telephone call. The call leads to email correspondence which then results in the goal being hit (that could be an online purchase or signing up for a service).

In practise you might do this for each buyer type or persona for your brand.

But the crucial point is looking at how these customers behave at each touchpoint. In the example above if half ‘fall off’ after getting the email correspondence you could use that information to decide on a better strategy.

For example, if the email correspondence isn’t working you could:

  • Review what’s being sent to see if it’s relevant or could be improved
  • Follow up with another call instead

What are the Benefits?

As well as delivering a better service, there are a number of other benefits that can be had by better understanding your customer journey:

  • Making your marketing more efficient benefits your business and your customers won’t be frustrated by getting irrelevant and generalised campaigns.
  • Seeing what your customers want, or don’t want, could lead to an improved product or service offering.
  • You can improve customer service at every stage, leading to better service and more customer retention.
  • You might uncover a new persona or customer base.
  • You’ll identify your customer pain points.

The Forgotten Ones

It’s something that happens all the time. You buy from a business, you pay for a service and.

The above ending was deliberate. Because for many customers their experience with a company ends as abruptly as that sentence.

Once the sale is made and the money is in the bank so many companies forget to nurture these customers. And nurturing isn’t sending them an email with the latest offers that you think will benefit them.

The point? Don’t forget your most important customers… the ones that have already bought from you.

Give them advice, educate them, make them laugh. But if your customers are dropping off after purchase, it could be a simple fix. Creating affinity with your brand as part of an updated customer journey strategy could bring countless benefits to your sales.

Final Thoughts

The only way to really understand what your customers want from your business or product, or what they need, is to dig into their behaviour. They sought you out for a reason, but did you meet their expectations?

Understanding your customer journey can be involved and time consuming, and it may be wise to get the help of a digital marketing agency. But without understanding what they are doing on your site and how they interact with your business, every change you make will be a guess. It may be successful, but this type of trial and error will be more expensive and more time consuming in the long run.

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