Understanding the customer journey is one of the most crucial elements in the business journey. The foremost reason to consider your customers in the process is the constant changes in the needs and preferences of the customers.
No two customers are alike!
Therefore, it is highly recommended for businesses to ensure that all of the customers connecting with them have the best experience from the start of the journey to making their final purchase, using the product or service and then, seeking customer feedback at the end.
One of the best methods to understand the customer's journey is by actually stepping into the shoes of the customer mindset. The process discusses the details to know how a customer becomes aware of the brand, their interactions with the brand, and the connections they feel with the association. This is what sums up the entire customer journey.
In this article, we will understand the patterns of customer behavior and the journey that can result in customer retention and discover critical insights to make the best decisions for your business.
The article covers the following:
• What is customer journey?
• Why is understanding the customer journey important?
• What are the four elements of customer journey?
• What is the mapping of customer journey?
• What are the benefits of creating a customer journey map?
• The seven crucial steps of a customer journey process
• Customer journey examples
What is Customer Journey?
The customer journey is the complete package of experiences that customers go through while interacting with the brand.
In other words, a customer journey describes a story about understanding the users and mapping their behavior scenarios associated with the brand.
The customer journey highlights the pattern of constant changes witnessed in the market and technologies and knows the possible reason for customers' response over the same.
Understanding the customer journey is crucial to anticipate customers' actions at each step to align with your goals and expectations. If the business puts itself directly into the mind of customers from the start of operations, the more likely they will get a chance to know the consumer, figure out the missing mark, what you are doing right, what all improvements you can make across the customer life cycle.
Keeping the note of experiences and interaction of customers towards your brand has a lot of ground to cover. It may sound intimidating at first, but it won't be that much tricky as soon as you get organized, you will get a better understanding of the customer journey.
Why is Understanding the Customer Journey Important?
Understanding customer journey is not just limited to experiences but also covers the identification of stages that lead to the final purchase. It takes into consideration the customer feelings and motivation as well.
Following are a few of the reasons to make you understand the importance of the customer journey:
- Enhances understanding of customer
- Creates better customer experience
- Identify possible opportunities
- Act on shortcomings instantly
- Reduces unnecessary costs
1. Enhances understanding of customer
At the early stages of the customer journey, the businesses can get relevant insights into the target audience's mind. It not only helps you to know the customer well but also provide answers for the most critical questions like
- What are their goals?
- What is the most crucial aspect that they like about your brand
- What are the feelings when they reach out to specific touch-points in the campaign
- What are their pain points
By considering these questions in mind and tweaking your marketing strategy, you can give your customers a positive experience that will ultimately benefit your brand.
2. Creates better customer experience
With the help of recording your customer experiences, you get a chance to speak for the points of improvement and ultimately create a better customer experience.
By developing a genuine understanding of your customer, the brand will communicate with more empathy with the customers, ultimately building their trust in your brand.
3. Identify possible opportunities
By keeping your customers in the process, you are already filling the unattended gaps by our competitors. It will help you discover and explore opportunities and bring you unique nuances in customer experiences that help you set yourself apart from the rest.
4. Act on shortcomings instantly
Every business process and product can have a bit of a shortcoming. But, all of the shortcomings can be turned into possible opportunities with the help of effective strategy and ways to improve in the future.
As soon as you start connecting with customers, you will identify their perspectives and act on the points for improvement. This is regarded as one of the most crucial points to analyze in the customer journey process.
5. Reduces unnecessary costs
Building a marketing strategy and campaign around the customer journey can assist you with the increase in the effectiveness of a campaign and empower you to create a meaningful brand experience.
It helps you reduce costs and helps to make the most out of your budget and reach more comprehensive people across the globe without spending too much on expenses and costs.
No doubt understanding the customer journey can make a massive difference in helping you to reach your objectives.
"The more you empathize, the more you share the connection."
What are the Four Elements of the Customer Journey?
When you address the customer journey, it is vital to consider the customer experience by knowing them first, engaging with them, and then getting the pathway towards building their journey.
Following are the four elements that explain the crucial elements of the customer journey:
- Audience engagement
- Leads converting into customers
- Nurture the customers
- Fulfill the customer expectations
1. Audience engagement
By understanding the audience's demographics, like age, birthday, gender, location, and browsing habits, you can engage with your audience by giving them a personalized experience.
The brands can visit the customer's profile often and change personalization strategies based on their data. It will help your audience in catering the experience effortlessly and within their terms.
2. Leads converting into customers
As a brand, you can give your customers easy access to chatbots and source ways to enhance their experiences across various channels. You can effortlessly use them by pushing the customers at their terms for the relevant action.
3. Nurture the customers
As your customers constitute a significant part of your business, engaging with new and existing customers is vital. You can engage with them through content via social media, sponsored emails, videos, content, personalized gifts, vouchers, and campaigns based on their purchases.
It will not only enhance the best customer experience but also help in brand interaction.
4. Fulfill the customer expectations
Since there is a vast demand in the marketplace, the customer will expect something different and promising from the brand. It is imperative to fulfill those expectations to advocate for the brand in the future and share in their network places.
Happy customers will do the best for you and can act as a cheerleader shouting your praises. So for that, living up to their expectations is of utmost priority.
While considering these four elements, you will be in a position to build a complete view of your customer, their interaction and complete customer journey. It will not only help you to empower the entire business but also help to deliver exceptional customer services in the long run, ultimately scaling up revenue of your business.
What is the Mapping of the Customer Journey?
The mapping of the customer journey means creating a visual storyline of every customer's engagement with your brand, product, or service. In simple words, it is the documentation of the customer journey while mapping out the different behavior scenarios using those insights.
The journey map layout the touch points and crucial factors that your customer may have with your brand, for example,
- From where did the first hear about your brand,
- What's the best product or service that they like to look after,
- The interactions with the other products or services
- Contact with the team and
- The overall actions a customer takes to complete a particular objective across a specific period.
With the help of creating a customer journey map, you can outline the current process that can help you visualize the customer experiences in real-time and unveil the pain points that need your attention.
You will be able to understand the customer journey in a broader context, and we'll help you empathize with the customer's feelings and build many meaningful customer experiences through improved strategies.
Thus, analyzing the customer behavior and documenting it in the form of a map can help you travel through the entire process and strike the right goal at the right time.
What are the Benefits of creating a Customer Journey Map?
It is well evident with the above paragraph that by creating a customer journey map, you step into the customer's shoes by understanding their mindset and feelings during the process.
A customer journey map can serve a lot of benefits to the brand, resulting in the good experiences of your customers throughout the sales life cycle.
Let's take a look at the key benefits of a customer journey map and understand how long this map can take you along:
- Customer journey maps allow the decision-makers to stay focused on customers and take decisions relevant to customer interests.
- With the help of a map, you can train your team members on the standards and practices suiting your brand.
- Customer journey maps can help you to assess and improve the onboarding flows based on insights.
- The customer journey map can be shared with the customer service team to strategize to reduce the hurdles coming from the customer life cycle.
- The customer journey map also helps to make each stage of the buying experience easier for the potential leads, such that they can convert into customers in the future.
- The customer journey mapping process can improve customer retention and satisfaction in the long run.
- The customer journey mapping process also helps to identify the pain points and questions that a customer might experience.
- The customer journey map helps you scale your efforts and create a positive customer experience with interest to the brand and customer.
A visual mapping of your customer journey speaks volumes about your brand. It will help you showcase and tell your brand story from customers' words and set a standard for exceptional customer care in the long run.
The Seven Crucial Steps of the Customer Journey Process
With the increase in the competitive digital space, many things have changed, particularly with the customers. From being a passive receiver of information to now empowering the decisions, the customer's journey has transformed tremendously.
The amount of knowledge and insights they consume from different channels have made them aware of the products and services to choose from and the brands that they wish to support.
This is why at every stage, figuring out the customer and understanding their needs is of utmost priority.
To gather these critical insights about the customer journey, you need to identify and experience the crucial steps to use at your best advantage.
It may include creating better customer experiences, discovering new opportunities, and identifying the areas that can enhance your brand.
Following are the seven significant steps that build the customer journey:
- Set your target audience
- Create buyer personas
- Identify the pain points
- Consider the most of the buyer's journey
- Maximize the identified touch points
- Capture customer's Moment
- Revise & Repeat the process
1. Set your target audience
Identifying and then setting your target audience is the first step towards the customer journey. It becomes much easier to navigate when you know the destination where you are heading towards.
Before starting the process, it is essential to set the targets and have a clear picture of what you aim and wish to achieve.
There is no rush in identifying your target audience at an instant.
Even if you go at a slow pace, it will help you narrow down the most efficient ways of hitting your targets and completing your task to stay on track.
While doing the first step, you need to consider answering the following questions and then map the customer journey accordingly.
- Who is the target audience?
- When are they most active?
- What are their preferences?
- What are their perspectives concerning the brand?
- What experiences are you looking forward to?
2. Create buyer personas
When you want to step into the customer's shoes, you need to create a character that can represent a specific customer segment for your brand. This method is known as a buyer persona, the second significant step towards building the customer journey.
While creating a buyer persona, it is vital to consider the correct characteristics like lifestyle, personality, demographics, and shopping preferences to use and gain data with the help of research.
Here, you imagine yourself as a fictional character but for real to understand insights on customers' behavior and motivation.
With the help of the buyer's persona, you can map the customer behavior accurately and will be in a better position to understand the situation of customers at that time.
3. Identify the pain points
The third step is complementary with the above step explaining the buyer's persona. A customer is the first user of your product or service. So by identifying their patterns and pain points, you can highlight and cover them in the later stages of learning.
The step feels like you are conversing with the customers and helping them overcome their pain points with the right set of actions and strategies. You can also check for any feedback and suggestions that they might have or be ready with the answers to the question that they might have in their mind.
4. Consider the most of the buyer's journey
The buyer's journey counts to the fourth and mid-step that provides more personalized experiences for your customers.
The brand must note the different stages of the buyer's journey and understand the pattern that leads them towards making the final decision.
The stages can be divided into three parts that are
- Consideration and
- The awareness stage counts to the stage where the buyers can identify the challenges they are facing. Here, the buyers can consider the points like their point of view, priorities, and consequences related to the particular brand, product, or service.
- The consideration stage counts to where the buyers are actively looking for ways to deal with the challenges. Here, the buyers can consider the available options, search for the information, and the pros and cons of the options available.
- The decision stage is the ultimate stage where the buyer comes to the final decision to deal with the challenges by searching for the most suitable product or service. Here, buyers can consider the points like stakeholders involved in the decision, pros and cons of brand versus competitors, criteria to determine the product and service, factors affecting prices, and suitability.
Since this step includes stages, understanding, and mapping, the buyer's journey is essential.
5. Maximize the identified touch points
Touch points are referred to as channels through which the customer connects with the brand. For example, the customer can encounter the brand with the help of social media, emails, word of mouth, or any other.
These touchpoints are considered important because you never know where the opportunities are knocking at your door. This is why the brands need to make the correct impressions on the customer with that point of contact.
Here you need to learn and experience to make the most out of those touchpoints and maximize it to the potential. By keeping it as a part of your strategy, you can feel what your customer knows about your brand and help you connect with them in a better and responsive way.
6. Capture customer's Moment
From setting your targets to maximizing the touchpoints, the next step is to capture the customer's opinion about your brand. With the proceeding stages, you will realize that every effort is equipped to build your brand's trust. By capturing the customer's Moment, you can get to know the exact feeling that a customer forms for a brand from their experiences.
Businesses need to realize that customer interaction is not enough to retain customers. They need to stand out and earn their trust by delivering value and authentic conversations with their customers. They need to process and create genuine and memorable experiences for every touchpoint they have with the customer. With the help of this step, the business can witness an increase in customer success metrics and of overall growth rate.
All of these points are carried over through this step, which is why this step is also known as the ultimate step towards building the customer journey.
7. Revise & Repeat the process
Coming back to the final step, the customer journey process is filled with many learnings and experiences. You may have a good experience or maybe worse; you may also get things right or may be wrong, but all of these are a part of the process, and that's fine to witness it.
You can start and continue with the same process or modify it according to the situation and demand. Since understanding the customer journey is not a one-time thing, the business needs to change and adapt as per the market trends.
Identify what things went wrong or the crucial factors that helped you reach your target; revise and refine the process until you get it right.
This was the ultimate step guide of developing and understanding the customer's journey. By following this process entirely, you can earn customer loyalty for your brand and increase customer satisfaction levels.
Customer Journey Examples
Understanding the customer journey can be practically explained with the help of examples. We can get to know the customer's perspective before making the final buying decision.
Let's take a look at the three customer journeys for different types of products and services. It will be easy for the brand to consider and apply them accordingly:
Imagine yourself as the buyer:
Example 1: Buying a Portable Cooler Unit
The summer is about to reach, and you are already searching for a portable cooler for your room. You search on the web and find several coolers like desert air coolers, air coolers, and window air coolers. You know that window air coolers won't work well, so you will avoid going through the hassle and expense of installing the window air coolers. This is the reason why you chose a portable cooling unit.
Now, when you search for the options, you can get a wide variety of choices available. It can make it difficult for you to come to a final selection. As a result, you will consider looking at the reviews for features of different companies selling portable air coolers.
Once you are at this stage of narrowing down your selections, you head to the respective retailer websites, let's say two. As you selected the first retailer, you found a website that was terrible without any specifications. You don't get an option to install or enquire with their team.
On the other hand, your search for a 2nd retailer with a responsive website offers delivery services and installation. As a result, you will be going forward with the second retailer because of the desired option that you need.
Highlights and Learning
This is one of the finest examples of understanding the buyer's behavior and the experience they frame after visiting your website. Here, the first website was incompetent enough to understand the customer's pain points, which is why the customer left in between.
The second website considered the buyer's behavior and the type of pain points they might encounter by delivering quality services.
Example 2: Finding a Car Mechanic
You are all set to go to the grocery store with your car, and as soon as you start with the engine and accelerate towards moving forward, the car is unwilling to proceed. You check the engine and find nothing wrong with the wires; maybe it's a different problem. You find out the possible reasons and head online to look for a car mechanic that can help you fix your car, see what's wrong with the vehicle, and repair it.
You search on the search engine and narrow down the selection based on your location and mechanics services available in your area. You selected two suitable mechanics with good reviews and testimonials. You contact the given number, address your problems with them and ask to come over to examine the vehicle.
The first mechanic didn't pick up your phone at first. He calls you back and tells you that he is unavailable for the upcoming days, so it's better to contact the other one. You check up on the second one, and he gets ready to examine the vehicle and tell you the problem. He comes over to your place, diagnoses the car, shares the addressing point, and fixes it for you.
Highlights and Learning
This is also one of the finest examples to understand the customer's journey. Here, the first mechanic could have understood the customer's pain point and shared an alternate number to help the customer, but he didn't. On the other hand, the second mechanic duly understood the customer's pain point, examined deeply, and fixed the problem instantly.
Example 3: The situation of Failed Check Out
Imagine yourself as the brand:
Suppose a customer got to know about your brand through social media and is excited to purchase a product from your website. Your brand already holds a recognizable value, which is why the customer is interested in buying the product. From selecting the product to adding it to the cart, the experience is smooth but now the problem area occurred at the checkout page.
You have many options: debit card, credit card, net banking, UPI and Pay on Delivery.
The customer is trying to select the pay on delivery option, but he is landed on the online payment modes. He tried again and repeated the same process, but still, your website is showing the same field.
Even if your website is running seamlessly, if the customer faces a problem at the checkout, there are chances of losing the customer instantly.
Highlights and learnings
As a result, customers drop the idea of ordering from a website in the near future only because you did not understand the customer's perspective of choosing the payment of delivery option; even if the customer did, you were landing into the online mode of payment.
Imagine, if the brand were repeatedly using the same functions in the algorithm, it would have increased the abandonment rates only because you did not understand the customer's pain point.
Now, after taking these three examples, as a brand, you can start to think in detail about the stages of the customer's journey and how they go forward with a particular product or service that runs through the same.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Whether you are a sales manager or running your own business, there are tons of duties and responsibilities that you have to fulfill. Using the Deskera CRM system, you can manage your contacts, leads and sales deals. You can use the CRM system to manage all customer data and manage your leads, sales negotiations and deals.
Doing so will help you to save the time taken in transferring customer data between the different systems. Having a good CRM system will help you manage your financial and sales reports and be prepared to kick-off your meetings.
Deskera can also assist you with real-time updates about your business like cash flow status, customer satisfaction, inventory management, sales, purchases, purchase orders, customer tickets, customer satisfaction, managing leads, revenues, profit, and loss statements, and balance sheets.
Moreover, it would also help in integrating sales methodology across different platforms onto one system so that you have a consolidated list for email campaigns, leads management, and sales pipeline to mention a few.
It will also help you to sync between your orders, payments, taxes, refunds, product variants, sending out invoices and reminders, facilitating invoice management, and even undertaking follow-ups and advertisement campaigns.
Such a consolidated platform will help you to improve your sales through building effective sales compensation plans and also facilitate faster and well-informed decision-making. It will help you in strengthening your opportunities and being braced for the threats.
Hence, understanding and building the customer journey is crucial from the start wherein the type about the brand over the search engine, until the final selection of the product or service. Further, customer journeys can also help you find ways to improve your products and services, see what customers want or don't want, identify the goals, and work towards improving constantly.
Customers might have problems, but it's the brand's job to be aware and be proactive on the matters and effective strategies wherever needed.
Customer journey is the never ending process of a brand!
This article covered everything from start to end that can help the brand understand the crucial elements of the customer journey and the significant steps towards developing the same. Keeping in mind the customer's journey, every customer is different; it is the brand's responsibility to create as many scenarios as possible, talk to the customers, learn about the journey and make it interactive through human communications.
The brand needs to invest time into understanding the customer journey and go with documentation every time the customer encounters the brand.
Let's take a look at the key takeaways of the article:
- Customer journey is the complete package of experiences that customers go through while interacting with the brand.
- Understanding the customer journey is crucial to anticipate the customer's actions at every step to align with the goals of the business.
- The understanding of the customer journey is critical because it considers the customer's feelings and motivation.
- Five reasons support the importance of the customer journey.
- These include understanding customers, creating a customer experience, identifying possible opportunities, shortcomings, and reducing unnecessary costs.
- There are four crucial elements of the customer journey to understand the overall experience customers feel about the brand.
- The elements of customer journey includes audience engagement, lead conversions, nurturing the customers, and fulfilling the customer's expectations.
- Customer journey mapping means creating a visual story line of every customer's engagement with a brand product or service.
- The customer journey map includes the layout of the touch points and crucial factors that a customer might have concerning your brand.
- The benefits of creating a customer journey map serve the purpose of the brand and result in promising experiences for the customers throughout the sales life cycle.
- There are eight significant benefits of customer journey maps: assessing and improving the on-boarding flows, defining the pain points, and improving customer retention.
- Figuring out the customer and understanding their needs are of utmost priority required at every stage.
- Seven significant steps build the customer journey, gathering the critical insights and using them at the best advantage.
- The seven steps are as follows:
- Set your target audience
- Create buyer personas
- Identify the pain points
- Consider the most of the buyer's journey
- Maximize the identified touch points
- Capture customer's Moment
- Revise & Repeat the process
- Understanding of customer journey with the help of three examples to get to know the perspective of the customer before the take the final decision
- Example 1 was related to buying a portable cooler unit, Example 2 was associated with finding a car mechanic, and Example 3 was described as failed check out.
- The three examples explained the stages of a buyer's journey and shared how a brand can create a better customer experience.