The 8 Stages of The Customer Journey Your Business Needs In 2021.
New marketing trends are forcing marketers to put customers at the heart of their concerns. The customer journey, therefore, becomes a very important issue to control the relationship with prospects, to make this relationship richer and more valuable.
But what is a customer journey?
Depending on its context of use, this concept can have different meanings. This dossier attempts to shed more light on the subject.
Definition of the Customer Journey
On the one hand, we can define the customer journey as the journey that a customer follows in his various interactions with your company.
This meaning is generally used in the field of services such as bancassurance services. The relationship between the customer and your business is often long and evolving. In this case, it is better to use the term “customer lifecycle” instead.
In general, the customer journey refers to all the different stages through which the customer goes and the actions he takes throughout his relationship with your brand.
It is from the moment he is aware of his need until the post-purchase phase, including the purchase itself.
The Customer Value Journey.
When we talk about the customer journey, we also have to talk about the “buyer persona”.
The Buying Persona.
This concept allows you to know exactly the target to which you are going to address, that is to say, your ideal type of customer.
The buyer persona is built in a semi-fictitious way, thanks to your customer knowledge and the testimonials that you collect directly from your current and potential customers.
This concept is important because it allows you to collect valuable data on which you can base your communication strategy and your digital marketing strategy in general.
Difference Between a Sales Funnel and The Customer Journey
You’ve probably heard of funnel sales. This is normal, because this term has been used by marketers for over 100 years, and it remains a fundamental concept for the development of your business.
But do you know what it means?
Some new to the field tend to think of it as the same as the customer journey. However, these two terms are not interchangeable.
Definition Of A Funnel
The funnel or sales funnel – also known as the conversion funnel. It is a model of your marketing process from a business perspective. It’s a pathway to intentionally lead potential customers through your marketing system from stranger to raving fan.
Using A Sales Funnel.
Prospects arrive at the top of the funnel.
At this point, they have shown an interest in your offer and know your business exists.
However, they do not yet have a purchase plan even if they want to obtain additional information.
As they engage with your brand and get closer to the buying stage, they move down to the bottom of the funnel.
When customers arrive in the middle of the sales funnel, they, therefore, enter into a phase of thinking about the strengths and usefulness of your offer.
Finally, when they are at the bottom of the funnel, they have already done their research and are ready to buy.
Prioritize Clients According To Their Degree of Maturity
As you would have guessed, not all business contacts who are interested in your brand or business end up buying something. Most of them will either leave you or need more marketing action to move forward in your sales funnel.
The main purpose of the funnel is to categorize prospects according to their degree of maturity. This is a linear route, unlike the concept of the customer journey, which can be both winding and tortuous. The idea is above all to be concerned with the interest of your customers for each point of contact they encounter.
Focus on the customer experience at every point of contactDigital Marketer
In terms of the customer journey, the latter can therefore go back to a previous point of contact. For example, prospects revisiting your website to evaluate your product or service, that is to say, that the customer journey often returns in a loop by itself instead of progressing linearly.
Typically, a prospect can meet up to eight points of contact before they decide to proceed with purchasing your product.
That being said, it is, therefore, more difficult and delicate to follow the customer journey. You will need to have a lot of information if you want to know exactly what your prospects are doing before adopting your offer.
Can we script the customer journey?
Scripting the customer journey is an excellent tool for managing your company’s interactions with your customers in a personalized way. You still have to know how to proceed.
It is possible to propose scripting of different routes for a product that has a specific sales process. If you sell magazines, for example, you can rely on the open-ended subscription information and fixed-term subscriptions of your customers.
Let us take a more concrete example. A customer reads one of your magazines and is interested in your product. Then, he will search the internet for additional information about him, and then test a similar product at another competitor store.
After comparing the purchase prices of the two products, he buys yours and submits his opinion (experience) via social networks. With this information, you will be able to carry out a satisfaction survey of this customer.
The customer journey and digitalization have therefore enabled you to attract this prospect, transform him into a customer, and retain him.
The 4 Phases Of The Customer Journey
Thanks to the scripting of the customer journey, it is, therefore, possible to divide the end-to-end journey of your consumers into four distinct phases:
Phase 1: Enter / discover
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that the first step in the customer journey to your website begins long before they visit your website.
Before that, he can do some research on Google – or other search engines – and try to find the specific product he wants to buy.
If you have properly indexed your online store or product based on specified search terms, then your consumers will be able to find them more easily on the first pages of Google.
Phase 2: Consider the various solutions
At this point, the prospect is already aware of their problem.
He knows your product and the other alternatives available to him. He, therefore, compares your product with that of other brands and intends to study them in-depth to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of your offering. It is therefore in your interest to provide much more precise content, perfectly meeting its concerns and needs.
Phase 3: Shop / buy
The third phase of the customer journey is usually the creation of a shopping cart and the payment process.
In this case, make sure that the payment methods you offer are easily accessible to consumers and that they offer additional insurance, for example, against identity theft, price increases, etc.
Step 4: Evaluate / Recommend
This phase has now become important. It allows you to understand the degree of consumer satisfaction or dissatisfaction after the purchase.
Thanks to technological developments, especially social networks and surveys, the latter can be considered a consumer actor. They can provide online reviews, recommend your product, or post negative comments about your business.
Beyond the act of buying, you should therefore have feedback, by monitoring what is being said about your brand.
The Customer Journey and Digitization
If you have a physical business with a storefront, you will have no difficulty in visualizing how your customers move around your store on any given day. Your employees will therefore be able to easily meet their needs and resolve their problems quickly.
But how can you tell if a customer is frustrated when they visit your online store? Unless he leaves a comment to express his frustration or satisfaction, you won’t easily know his needs.
Fortunately, new communication technologies have enabled marketing professionals to develop new possibilities for interactions with customers before, during, and after the act of purchase.
The digitalization of the customer journey is therefore a fundamental solution to optimize the customer relationship.
To digitize the customer journey, it is necessary to establish a mapping of contacts. This map represents “ touchpoints ”, that is to say, all the possible points of contact that the customer has at his disposal for each step.
Touchpoints allow the customer to have experienced (positive or negative) every time they “touch” a part of your product, service, or brand through different channels.
The customer journey can vary depending on your industry and the channel the customer chooses at each stage of their journey.
If you don’t focus on the customer journey, you not only risk having unhappy customers but also losing many sales opportunities.
On the other hand, if you manage to associate the customer journey with digitalization and new communication technologies, then you will be able to optimize your marketing investments while putting your customers at the center of your strategy.