What is a customer journey?
The customer journey describes the "journey" that prospects and customers undertake until they decide in favor of a product. The customer journey starts with the first contact, the interest, and ends at the destination - namely the decision for or against the product. All touchpoints and interactions that customers have with the product, brand, or company (e.g., advertising of all kinds, online reviews, recommendations from friends, other content, etc.) are considered. The customer journey is also an important means of visualizing the touchpoints for all phases of the journey, for example in the form of a touchpoint map or customer journey map.
What are the customer journey phases?
The phases of a customer journey vary from industry to industry and from company to company. Basically, however, it can be divided into these 6 phases:
Becoming aware of a need.
In this phase of the customer journey, a person's first contact with the product or brand usually takes place (off- or online, e.g., via an offer). The customer recognizes that he or she needs something. For example, because there is a problem that can be solved by a new product.
Consider making the purchase.
At this stage, customers have already gotten to know your product. They consider whether it can satisfy their need or solve their problem. They consider every piece of information, weigh up the price-performance ratio and make comparisons with products from other manufacturers.
Making a decision to buy.
At this point, the customer has already decided to purchase the product and makes the purchase.
This phase is often underestimated, but it is very important, especially in the case of long delivery times. With targeted communication, companies can help to avoid frustration among customers and ensure that the shopping experience remains a good memory.
Rate the shopping experience and the product.
The customers have received your product and are using it. In doing so, they judge whether the purchase was worthwhile and how the shopping experience was. Service plays an important role at this point.
Recommend the product/brand to others.
Satisfied customers are happy to recommend their purchased products to friends, work colleagues or family. This is a stroke of luck for the companies. And not only because it is free advertising for them. We believe recommendations from a person we know and like more than the marketing promises of the companies themselves.
What is a touchpoint or customer journey map?
The touchpoint or customer journey map is the place where all the touchpoints the customer has with a product or brand are visualized. And at every stage of his or her journey. Touchpoints can thus be better analyzed by companies, including the communication channels through which contact occurs (e.g., display, social media, POS). Weaknesses in the customer experience can be identified via the customer journey map. Based on the map, conclusions can be drawn about which touchpoints are most important for customers and at which point optimization of communication measures is appropriate.
An important point as a basis for optimization is to record the behavior of users at the touchpoints and channels involved. Optimization of the journey should always be based on measurable data.
Why is it worth optimizing the customer journey phases?
A company that knows where the customer's shoe pinches has a clear advantage over its competitors. It knows when the right time (or the right phase) is to provide its customers with the right messages at the right touchpoint. Its marketing decisions are based on facts and are not made on gut instinct.
What is the goal in optimizing the customer journey phases?
The goal in optimizing a customer journey is to put customers at the center of your own marketing activities. Only those who understand their journey can design shopping experiences that they will remember with pleasure - and to which they will gladly return. This is how companies retain their customers. And new customers are also attracted by a positive shopping experience. An optimized customer journey thus increases a company's sales performance and lays the foundation for profitable growth.
10 good reasons to optimize your customer journey phases
More transparency about your target group
Awareness of problems concerning your target group
Content that suits your customers
Increasing customer satisfaction
Strengthening the brand and customer loyalty
Differentiate your brand from the competition
Overview of performance of channels & touchpoints
More efficient use of the marketing budget
Reaching potential customers
Basis for corporate growth
What is the best way to optimize the customer journey and its phases?
We'll show you how to implement step-by-step optimization of your Customer Journey.
Here are 5 points on how to reach your goal:
Learn more about customer centricity now
Analyze the status quo and define your goal
Existing data can serve as a basis for the status quo analysis. It's best to get help from a service provider who is familiar with customer journey optimization. They will be able to help you determine where action is needed. Together, you will define a goal and determine how you will proceed.
Find out who your target audience is
First of all, you need to figure out who your target audience is in the first place. Where are the touchpoints, what exactly is their journey like, what are the stages? To do this, you analyze the behavior of your customers on the basis of user data. To get a better idea of your target group, you work with your customer journey optimization (buyer) consultant to develop persona profiles. In other words, profiles of your typical customers. To find out even more about their needs, you can use various methods, such as interviews. In addition, it is also important to look at their current interactions at the touchpoint. The more you know, the better you can target your marketing.
Map out your customers' journey in a touchpoint map or customer journey map
Once you know who your target group is, the next step is to take a closer look at their journey. The best way to do this is to visualize the relevant touchpoints of your customers phase by phase in a customer journey map. To start with, you can do this in a workshop or create your customer journey map on a digital board. In the long run, however, customer journey management tools will help you keep track of all relevant touchpoints.
Identify your customers' pain points
Make clear which of the touchpoints are the important points of interaction and which metrics are meaningful - analog and digital. The map will help you here. It will give you a good overview of where your customers' pain points are. By the way: Have you ever heard of the "moment of truth"? This is the moment when the customer comes into contact with a brand or a company AND forms an opinion. This is where he or she decides whether to recommend or do business with a company. These moments of truth take place at the most important contact points in the journey.
Optimize your customer journey based on the findings
If you have hired a consultant to help you optimize your customer journey, he or she will make recommendations for action. Maybe he thinks you need to communicate different content or create different touchpoints for your customers. Or he may recommend MarTech tools or new processes for collaboration in your company. Either way, the next step is to use the metrics to optimize your customer journey. It's best to create a long-term strategy for aligning your marketing with the needs, desires, and expectations of your customers.
Stay on the ball
Because expectations about the experience of buying a product change quickly, it pays to keep an eye on what customers want on an ongoing basis. Instead of just working towards a goal, you should keep making adjustments. You can do this by tracking their journey using appropriate tools. The data collected in this way forms the best basis for optimizing your customer journey.
Optimizing your customer journey helps your company to always align marketing and sales with the needs of your customers. You make your company more profitable by acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. You use your budgets in a targeted manner. High-quality data - and the competence to interpret it - are the basis for optimizing the customer journey of your customers. Optimization is a process that takes time. Tools like journey mapping and persona creation help you better understand the journey your customer is on. The individual phases of customer journey optimization - such as collecting and analyzing the necessary data - can be very complex. Our experts help you find solutions and support you in optimizing your journey.