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Customer Journey – How you accompany customers on their journey

Customer Journey Reise eines Kunden im Kaufprozess

Der Kunde durchläuft eine Reise bis er Dein Produkt oder Deine Dienstleistung kauft und darüber hinaus.

 
In the modern world of progressive technologies and digitization, customers are becoming more demanding. I even venture to say, that today customers' expectations are way higher than they used to be just a few years ago. The more interconnected we become, as private individuals and companies, the less patient we become towards faster and shorter development cycles of products and services.
Yet, not only is the client side getting more impatient. Enterprises, service providers, and self-employed professionals are striving to pick up potential clients even faster and convert them into fully-fledged customers.
Now, more than ever before, there is a need for understanding the so called Customer journey. A certain guideline can be provided by the points of contact, the so called touchpoints with individual positions or stakeholders.

Customer Journey – What in fact is it?

The definition originates from e-commerce. Customer Journey describes a process along the interaction points between a customer and a company, a product/service, or a brand. This process stretches from the first moment of the customer's perceiving of the product/service and till the actual purchase.

The interaction points of this journey, known as touchpoints, arise every time when potential customers come in contact with your company, notice your brand logo on a truck or a shop window, and get in touch with employees who work for your company, or use your product/service for the first time. These points of contact can be both direct and indirect; for instance, through a friend's advice to use your product after they were pleased with the experience. The same way you can detect possible Pain points, where your customer stumbles over some problems on his journey, and the reason for this problem has to be corrected or rectified as quickly as possible. Likewise, you should know about the magic Love points that you, on the contrary, should enhance, because they have a capacity to accelerate the customer journey on the way to the lucky purchase.

Why is it a good idea to understand the journey of your customer?

It seems to be a pretty logical issue. Yet, this topic is given little thought in the companies or among self-employed professionals. The main idea behind learning about your customer’s journey is that you have to know your customer’s perspective. You and your team make a sort of transition of the perspective from inside-out to outside-in. Better than any advice concerning what your customers perception might be is to conduct your own Customer Experience Research. Your Customer Experience Research should include:
- Persona: what is the current situation and what is the goal for the future?
- Results: what does your prospective client actually want to achieve?
- Journey: what activities should your customer perform to achieve the result they want?

On his way a potential customer collects experiences and impressions as a user or a consumer. Those impressions are collected in their heads, summarized into conclusions forming a general picture of whether you, as a vendor, contribute some value to their life or not.

Customer Journey Mapping – what is it and how does it work?

One of the most tested and proven means to level the customer perspective with your business processes is to draw a customer journey map. The analytical part is also called Customer Journey Analysis. With this map your customers experiences on their way to a purchase become easy to pinpoint and you can keep track of them in the most efficient way possible.
You cover one step at a time, each step you approach individually, and augment them with subjective, qualitative and measurable insights.

Often some obvious touch points have already been monitored and improved by that moment. This mostly includes websites, sales conversations, orders and deliveries. The goal of mapping is to reveal those less obvious touchpoints and customer experiences associated with these touch points, document them and work on them.

This enables you to build most compelling, warm and trustworthy relationships with your customers. Below you’ll find an illustrative example of a customer journey map.

 
 

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Customer Journey Mapping – manual

In case you haven’t grasped at the graphic image of a customer journey yet, the following steps are here to help you do it.

1. Verify your goals

First what you can begin with is to set clearly the goals for your product, service or brand, and verify them. Make sure they are feasible and viable.

2. Define your target audience and personae

Pick a target group definition and your personas; elaborate on them, if needed at this stage.

3. Bring research findings together

Gather all of the already available data about your customers from the sales talks, interviews, feedbacks, error reports, competitors analysis, social media and so on.

4. Recognize and document all touchpoints

Record all the touchpoints for your target group that arise before, during and after a purchase. Here we are talking about those less conspicuous and easily overlooked contact points.

5. Varify / work on your Customer Empathy Map

Take your Customer Empathy Map (s) and go through all the findings and insights and recheck. If you can’t start on it yet, no problem, - peek into this article, "What do Customers want" an.

6. Nail down your chance to emotionally differentiate yourself

Evaluate and prioritize the recorded touchpoints in order to highlight the most meaningful moments from the customers point of view. In the process make sure to detect painpoints, which can only signify of a soonest failure or, on the other hand, can turn out to be the „moments of truth“. These special moments the effect on your customer is the longest lasting and you simply have to deliver what they want.

7. Involve the actors that affect your customers satisfaction

Who are your potential customers’ contacts, where the delays occur or where you get stuck in the bottleneck? You really should identify these places and these people and, while dealing with your customers, work on their continuous improvement.

8. Evaluate the experiences of your customers

Whenever possible fall back on the customer facts, questionnaire replies, customer reviews, etc.. In some places you could try conducting your own interviews with customers or involved actors from your side. Use a standardized scale, for instance a scale from 1 to 5, where from 1 would mean that the customer expectations were totally failed and where 5 where expectations were definitely excelled, and evaluate each touch point in this way.

9. Draw Customer Journeys

Along with templates and available tools it makes sense to draw the journey of your potential customer that would include all the gathered information and evaluations/reviews.

10. Investigate the insights and outline the course of action

Well, taking a look at the whole customer journey map, in a team or with an unbiased team member, you can now have a deeper and more detailed analysis of the insights. In the outcome you are supposed to lay out a set of measures aimed at the improvement of very particular touchpoints or determining of these very touchpoints.

Here you can find an illustrative video. The UX Mastery method towards the Map is a little bit different but equally expedient.

 
 
Now, as you have drawn the Customer Journey we can see that it can consist of the following stations:

  • research (online)
  • screening
  • contacting
  • consultation by telephone
  • receipt of an offer
  • conclusion of a contract
  • receipt of invoice
  • payment
  • receipt of a product
  • using the product
  • (Reclamation)
  • (a new purchase)
  • (further recommendations)
  • (customer leaves you)


Get going

Okay, enough about theory. Set to work and outline that unique path of your customer and you will start understanding your customer behavior and choices better. The soonest result: inspired clients that recommend your company to friends, relatives and colleagues.

In case you’d like to use our PowerPoint Template for Customer Journey Mapping, just head to Download.

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André Wehr
André Wehr
As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience every day how important Traction and Customer Centricity is. It makes the difference between a nice idea and a viable business.

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