Growing a successful business requires a strong understanding of your target audience. Beyond knowing the basic demographic information of the ideal customer, marketers also need to be familiar with their needs, interests, and decision-making process.
After all, earning loyal customers doesn’t just mean getting your brand in front of a specific group of people. It requires showing that group how your product or service can help them. Once they’re convinced and on board, you need to illustrate the ongoing value of having a relationship with your brand.
And that’s not exactly easy.
Getting into the minds of your customers can be challenging. Often you can be left wondering why a customer spends so long browsing your selection and adding products to their cart just to close the tab, and move on. Or maybe it’s taking your customers several steps to get from point A to point B when it should only take one. Then, once you think you’ve got their every want and need accounted for, new technology, preferences, and buying trends emerge.
Whatever the confusion may be, the problem often flags how hard it can be to clearly grasp the customer’s journey to purchasing your product or service.
The customer journey is the process by which a customer interacts with a company in order to achieve a goal. This is not always a standard journey, because consumers interact with brands in different ways. From gaining awareness via social media, to receiving a “thank you for your purchase” email after a successful transaction, there are usually many and varied steps in between.
This isn’t something you can assume or predict based on your internal perspective. A customer journey is very specific to the physical experiences your customers have.
Thus, the best way to understand a customer journey is to map it.
Make customer journey mapping part of business strategy
A customer journey map outlines all of the interactions between a customer and your business, including any pain points found along the way. This resource not only helps you identify friction within your customer experience but also how to remove it and replace it with delight.
As mentioned above, customers can come in contact with you in more than one way, so there will be different starting points such as social media, customer service enquiries, marketing referrals, and more.
Without a doubt, you want this experience to be as good as possible for a customer in order to turn their experience into a long-term relationship with your business. This is important to make sure that no interactions slip through the cracks, which is why you can benefit from customer mapping journeys.
A customer journey map can help you to:
- Understand how customers interact with your business
- Identify whether a journey follows a logical order
- Highlight development priorities
- Gain an outsider’s perspective on your customer experience
- Focus on different needs throughout the buying process
To make your map as beneficial as possible, you need to make sure that you include every entry point where a customer enters their buyer’s journey. You can add any quantitative information from your web analytics, your CRM software, and more. You can even see, as an example, how efficient your live chat support and your call center assistance is when it comes to customer service.
A customer journey map can also show you just how well your experience matches up with your brand promise. As an example, if you label your customer experience as being fast and easy, but customers have to stand in long queues or hold on for long periods of time on the phone to get hold of someone, the experience won’t match up. You need to understand where there are mismatches and fix them.
Planning Your Business’ Future
With more customers shifting from offline to online buying, it’s important to use a variety of digital tools to help them with their purchasing decisions. This also means that businesses need to use more sophisticated processes and tools that will also very likely increase in the future.
To determine if your customer journey is the right one, you need to map out that journey before anything else. By not doing this, you risk having unhappy customers and losing out on possible opportunities to increase revenue. By continuously optimising your business’ customer experiences along the way, you’ll be building long-term, solid relationships with your customers.
Breaking down the customer journey phase by phase, aligning each step with a goal, and restructuring your touch-points accordingly are essential steps towards maximising customer success. After all, everything you do should be about solving customer problems and helping them achieve long-term success with your product or service.