The Customer Value Journey Analysis.
In business today, customers expect businesses to know who they are and what they’re looking for. They expect us to remember it from the pre-purchase stage through the post-purchase stage and not have to worry about it. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have a clear understanding of the customer journey.
We also know that at the start of their customer journey, prospects are most of the time undecided about their purchase (type, price, etc.).
According to Google figures:
9 out of 10 shoppers are not completely sure what brand they want to buy when they start their search for information on mobile.
Their opinion is therefore not fixed, and the decision they will make can be influenced by many factors, including the quality of their customer journey and the customer satisfaction felt during the steps taken.
In this article, we will therefore define in detail what the customer journey is, its different models, and what are the issues associated with it for a company.
The Customer Journey: Definition and History
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey goes beyond the “buyer’s journey”, which focuses only on a specific stage. It also takes into account the pre-purchase and post-purchase dimensions, that is to say, phases that can be separated from the commercial activity itself.
The customer journey designates the path traveled and the actions were taken by the prospect/customer from the moment he notices his need and extends after the act of purchase.
The customer journey, therefore, takes into account the entire customer experience felt during this journey (emotions, negative or positive feelings).
It is based on the analysis of the behavior of the prospect/customer during the different phases of the act of purchase, but also the periods of reflection and research which precede it, of the discovery of the product/service, then the phases of use. and evaluation, up to the possible recommendation of the product/service to third parties.
The customer journey takes into account the perceived customer experience
The way customers interact with a brand or business through the various channels revolves around the “touchpoints” with the business or brand, which mark the customer journey.
These points of contact, which can be physical or digital, are for example the arrival of a customer on the website seeking information, communication to customer service, but also an online or in-store purchase.
It is these points of contact that are analyzed as a priority since they are a valuable source of information for evaluating the customer journey.
The evolution of the customer journey
Several marketing models have emerged to describe consumer behaviors throughout the customer journey. There are three main models to remember:
A first diagram of the customer journey according to the Nicosia model (1966)
It describes how the consumer processes information in 4 phases:
- Message processing
- Product/service evaluation
- Decision and act of purchase
- Purchase and consumption
The stages of the customer journey according to the model of Engel, Kollat , and Blackwell (1968)
It describes a decision-making process in 5 phases:
- Recognition of the problem
- Seeking information
- Assessment of possible solutions
- Choice (purchase)
- Result (consumption and evaluation)
Analysis of the customer journey according to the Howard and Sheth model (1969)
This model goes further by proposing three levels of behavioral responses: cognitive, affective, and conative, which influence the consumer’s purchasing decision.
Responses can be cognitive (interest in the brand), affective (attitude towards the product, service, brand), conative (purchase of the brand’s product/service and related purchasing behavior).
The challenges related to the customer journey
The customer journey is a concept used in inbound marketing, insofar as its analysis helps to better identify the needs of customers/prospects.
The different steps that the customer performs are then studied, to measure different parameters, prioritize areas for improving customer relations, streamline certain sales mechanisms, personalize the customer experience or even work on loyalty.
Several issues are therefore linked to the customer journey:
Better understand lived experiences
The customer journey is useful for identifying problems and opportunities for the customer. This customer data helps to better understand the pain points to rethink existing processes, create the conditions for the transformation towards good experiences and ultimately improve the customer experience.
The customer journey helps identify customer opportunities
Thanks to better targeting throughout the customer journey, interactions can be improved and refined.
This requires more personalized messages, as well as an optimization of the contact points on the various communication channels, based on specific interactions with each customer.
This personalization helps to build customer loyalty and make them feel their specificity within a community. The idea is to take into account the characteristics which are specific to it and to exploit this customer knowledge to take advantage of it.
Streamline the sales cycle
Customers may receive inconsistent information when interacting with a brand across the various existing touchpoints. With these inhibitors removed, customers can move forward smoothly through the sales cycle, receiving the right information at the right time, which helps them in their choices.
Prioritize its areas of development
Highlighting development priorities allows you to focus your efforts and expenses on what matters most, to maximize the efficiency of a service (such as customer service) for example.
Here, the stake for the company is to improve its assets and to work on qualitative development of the customer relationship. This turns out to be a preliminary step in any good digital transformation strategy for its activity.
Map your customer journey
Mapping the customer journey allows you to visually represent every user experience your customers have with you, from the initial engagement to a long-term relationship.
Interactions with the customer are not limited to the acts of purchase. The steps are more complex and come in many variations since the points of contact are multiple:
- customer service calls,
- written complaints,
- use of help boxes,
- visits to physical stores,
- use of social networks, etc.
To create a memorable experience and not to forget to optimize a touchpoint interaction, mapping can be very useful.
Representing each point of contact and each experience throughout the customer journey is even mandatory to take into account each element.
Thanks to a good mapping of the customer journey, it is easier to identify the stages and points of contact to better assess their importance, measure the quality of the responses provided to the various points of contact, and look into areas for improvement.
The rise of digital has enabled companies to offer new, more advanced experiences in terms of the customer journey, with a border between physical and digital even tending to blur.
Also, to meet the greater demands of customers and prospects, brands must now support them by creating tailored customer journeys and offering the best customer experience.
The customer journey is an essential element of the customer relationship and can help improve the quality of customer service when it is properly analyzed. A detailed mapping allows to have a global and omniscient vision of the different stages and to better adapt the customer journey to current trends (mobile-first, hyper-personalization, autonomy, omnichannel, etc.).
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