The customer journey is the holistic sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your business and brand. It includes how your customer becomes aware of your brand and their interactions with your company before, during and after purchasing from you. By picturing yourself as the customer, you are able to discover potential pain points as well as opportunities for your company to nurture the customer experience.
Positive experiences along this customer journey can include assistance from a knowledgeable and helpful staff member and engagement on social media, both which can endear your customer to your brand and encourage loyalty. However, be warned that frustrating experiences, such as lack of assistance or a difficult-to-navigate online site, will also contribute to the overall associations your customer will have to your brand and may prompt them to seek out a competitor instead. They may also even use word of mouth to spread negative feedback about your company, as customers are more likely to talk about a negative experience than if they had a positive one.
Considering the customer's experience is a crucial step in ensuring both your product or service and how it is delivered is perfectly catered to the needs and wants of your audience.
Here is a customer journey checklist to ensure you have considered all possible obstacles/opportunities along the customer experience journey so that you can smooth out any lump or bumps and take advantage of any strengths your business may have:
1. Create a customer journey map that outlines when, where, how and why your customer comes into contact with your brand and the associated implications of these interactions (what are they doing when they come into contact with you and why) to ensure a positive experience each time
2. Consider possible motivations or turn offs for moving into the next stage of interaction with your brand, and determine ways to maximise the positive and minimise/eliminate the negative, e.g. if your website is difficult to navigate, consider streamlining your sections and clearly signposting different departments.
3. Consider the pain points of your customers -what problems are they looking to solve with your product or service, and how can you make their experience more pleasant or less complicated? Could you preemptively address common questions your customer has with an FAQ page?
4. Consider the obstacles that may cause your customer to give up and abandon cart or leave without making a purchase. Could it be the pricing? What would happen if you offered a 10% discount for a first-time purchaser or a special offer if they refer a friend?
5. Ensure an omni channel presence: Make sure you know which platforms your customer is active on and be present there! There may be multiple and even one or two lesser known or more niche platforms, but this could potentially be where your most loyal customers will be.