Customer journey definition? Understanding your customer journey is essential for winning customers and beating the competition. This is because by understanding your customer journey, you can make a more persuasive message that leads visitors to your products.
What is customer journey definition? Customer journey (aka customer journey analysis, and customer journey mapping) is the process of marking out touch points from when a customer first hears about your business to making a purchase. It is the route people take, and the mental process they go through.
One of my dear friends is a sales expert and he tells me that the most persuasive messages, have as little detail as possible. This is because you want to get customers out of their head, as once potential customers are in their head they will need more time to think. More so, when people are thinking they are not purchasing. I understand as a business you want to tell people how awesome your products are. But, the irony is the more information you give them, the deeper in their head they go.
In this article, I will discuss how you can become more persuasive and increase your sales by understanding your customers journey. Ensuring that you only provide the information that your customers require at the time they need it. So you can avoid overwhelming your customers at the most crucial times.
1. What is Customer Journey (more detailed description)?
As people and human beings we are going through a constant journey. More specifically, this journey refers as the path we take to reach our desires. Our desires can refer to a promotion in your job, a new car or house, and a holiday.
Coupled with these desires, we have questions that need answering. Due to the many choices in the market, we might ask which car we want to purchase? But, also what features this car should have?
Above all, if you have a business and you want to win, then you need to give answers to the types of questions your customers might have, in the order they have them. Luckily, by conducting a customer journey analysis we can assess this by following a simple framework.
In addition, if this is not complicated enough, it is important to point out that customers go through both a mental and physical journey, leading up to a purchase. Which all needs to be accounted for in our customer journey analysis.
By conducting a customer journey analysis you will understand where you access your customers, and what their thought process is once you access them. All in all, you will be able to give direct answers to your customers when these questions arise in their minds. To more successfully lead people towards your products as you do it.
2. Why is Customer Journey Analysis Important?
Since the internet, we have more variation of products that are available in the market, as well as more convenient purchasing methods.
For this reason, it has led and continues to lead to a complicated series of decisions people make leading up to a purchase.
The internet has introduced so many touch points, channels, and purchasing methods that make our life a lot more convenient as buyers, but also a lot more complex on the competitive landscape for doing business.
A customer journey analysis allows us to position our business message more accurately, making it easier for your customers to decide to purchase from your business.
By understanding where to physically get access to the types of people that will consider your products, and know what their emotional state is once you access them, will make your approach more relevant.
Less Is More
When someone first hears about your business it is normal to want to tell them how great you are. However, this can be a lot of information at one time. When someone gets to much information at once can make them feel overwhelmed. If a person is overwhelmed then it will make them confused. This will result in them leaving the store, and looking elsewhere.
By mapping out the customer journey will reduce the amount of information you give out at one time. This will in turn get your customers out of their head and into purchasing mode. Luckily, by being able to answer those underlying questions, at the right time and in the right sequence makes you more relevant, creates trust and overall gives you the competitive edge.
3. Mapping Customers Journey Using the AIDA Sales Funnel
In this section, I will show you from how you can use the most basic sales funnels to map out your customers journey.
3.1 AIDA Model
3.2 Awareness Stage
At the top of the AIDA funnel you will notice the awareness Stage, also known as brand awareness. At this stage you want people to know what you are selling and the benefits you offer.
The under lying question here is: “Who are you, and what do you sell?”
Most businesses will leverage their brand to achieve this. This is done through establishing brand recognition in the mind of your customers, which is best described by the association between your business and the products you sell.
For example, because of heavy marketing involvement everyone knows that Apple sell phones and rarely associate ‘apple’ with fruit anymore.
Online you can easily measure awareness by impressions, with the aim to assess the potential market. You can then use click through rate, to see if people are responding with what you are offering. This is usually, down to how relevant your business is portrayed in the eyes of the customer.
More traditionally, during the customer’s journey, awareness stage is counting how many customers enter your shop, or your website, at which point they are now potential leads.
Overall, the awareness stage of the customer journey is setting out to define what the potential reach of your business is in the market.
3.3 Interest Stage
At this stage, brand awareness has done its job and customers know who you are.
At the Interest Stage, the question changes as potential customers are looking for different answers.
Now, they are wanting to understand: “How can you help me, and why is your product worth buying over competitors?”
In the interest stage potential customer are in a rational state of mind, and want productive answers!
Moreover, customers are evaluating your business based on the rational factors listed below. According to Ken Orwig (marketer and author) Rational factors include:
- Efficiency – this refers to the performance and the speed of the output which will be delivered
- Excellence – this refers to the quality of the output
- Aesthetics – this will include the design and appeal. does it match the persons taste?
- Ethical implications – this is assessing what is at stake… for example, if it destroys the environment, you might think to look for something else.
So, overall in the interest stage you need to understand how your product helps your target audience based on rational factors (Efficiency, Excellence, Aesthetics and Ethical implications).
How do we measure this? To demonstrate interest there has to be some sort of interaction. This would involve customers interacting with your website (downloading a PDF, whitepaper or subscribing to your newsletter) or speaking to a sales person in a shop.
To conclude, this stage is about outlining performance and the problems that you aim to resolve. However, we want to skip this stage as quickly as possible, as this is the stage people are in their heads. The magic begins in the Desire Stage.
3.4 Desire Stage
The aim of the desire stage is the tap into a psyche, and find out what your customers are truly excited about. This is all about finding what your audience want and is familiar with – (you can read more about wants and needs by clicking here…).
But, rather this is done by relating your product to something a customer is familiar with.
This can be associated with colour, style and specific functionality. But, the main thing to concentrate on at this phase is building an opinion through brand image.
The idea is that you provide a life style that leaves a customers feeling excited. This is effective because it stops people thinking rationally, whereby, 95% of purchases are made through emotional decision making.
More so to leverage your customers desire we harness emotional aspects which are described by Ken Orwig. Emotional aspects include:
- Esteem – this refers to the respect and worth of something
- Play – this is the sense of enjoyment you have interacting with it
- Status – does it make you feel cool and does it give people the wow factor?
- Spirituality – the path you define to reach the greater good
I measure the desire stage by giving a person a score, and it measures how many times a person interacts (how many PDFs have they downloaded). Usually, if they have downloaded more than 1, then they are probably have built some sense of desire.
This is by far the hardest manage, but usually when a person has reached the desire stage, they start to interact and engage uncontrollably, becoming obsessed.
3.5 Action Stage
The action stage is is followed by the desire stage that arouses a person to purchase. The action is following a behaviour that generates revenue.
This means there must be a call to action and a way to access your product.
Remove any barrier that may stand between your customer and their intent to purchase.
This is as simple as having a PayPal link, or shopping cart function or your website, and measuring how many people went from downloading a PDF to the amount of sales you have made (then get the conversion rate) .
You measure this by simply counting how many sales you have made that month.
This includes having different options to purchase, such as monthly payment for those more expensive products.
4. The Physical Journey Customers Go Through
In this section, I am going to show you more specifically the physical journey customers go through. This includes the channels you use such as, store, social media, website etc..).
Mapping the physical journey is assessing all the channels your customer uses when go through your funnel. Please see an example below…
4.1 Physical Customer Journey Map – Example
You can create something like this for your business. But, it will require you doing some research and speaking to your customers, and going through your competitors process leading up to purchase for greater insight.
Step 1 – You want to assess the list of channels customers use leading up to a purchase. These are more formally known as the touch points.
Step 2 – You can then assess which channels your customers use when they go through your sales funnel, as demonstrated in the image above.
4.2 Awareness Stage
Within the awareness stage of the AIDA model above, we create our map on the physical channels we use when introducing people to your business for the first time.
This can include using PR, word of mouth and paid advertising methods such as radio.
The thought process here is leveraging those channels people use when they first hear about your business. This means these are the channels we use to teach people about our business (brand knowledge).
4.3 Consideration Stage
In the above example demonstrates that the rational and emotion journey is coupled within the consideration stage. In the AIDA sales funnel the consideration stage is described as two separate stages (interest and desire). You might want to do this different depending on your market positioning and target customer.
Anyway, this could be a person entering your website or writing to you directly.
The thought process here is making sure those channels are accessible to your target audience. If you are missing a website, it is essential as part of your customer journey. You can view the Enterprise Website Kit, whereby I offer a great deal to get start-ups and small businesses off the ground. Click here to find out more…
4.4 Purchase Stage
Which channels are people using to purchase your products?
More, importantly which channels are people using to purchase your competitors products?
The specific assessment we want to do here is called ‘Reverse engineering‘.
This is a concept I use as I find it easier to decipher the competitors purchasing funnel, and all it means is that you map out the competitors journey starting from the purchase all the way back to the awareness stage.
We can investigate how our competition goes through the customer journey process to improve our own customer journey, and for deeper insights you can talk to your customers personally.
4.5 Service Stage
This will not apply to everyone, unless you decide to offer a service with your product. But, it is a good way to nurture your customers and get customer to spend more.
Just like the previous examples you will need to decide what is most appropriate way of offering a service, and think of the process customers will go through.
For example, offing online webinars might not be appropriate to the older generation as they may generally struggle with technology.
4.6 Loyalty Stage
Loyalty can be built in a thousand of ways, but the most common way is having having a personal dialog with customers, either through online chat or instant messaging.
Another way can be over delivering. This is something I like to do as a small business, to build a solid reputation with my customers. Overall, I cannot advise what your business should be doing here (as all businesses are different). This will be situated within your strategic positioning. But, using the illustration above, it is clear how it all fits together in the customer journey.
If you do have questions about this, then please leave a message in the comments section.
5. The Psychological Journey Customers Go Through
In this section, we are looking at the psychological aspects leading up to a purchase. This makes it important to understand the customer’s decision-making process which is broken down into rational and emotional questioning.
In this section, I lay out the typical questions people have going through the whole customer journey.
5.1 Rational Journey
Map out all the questions listed in the above image and make points of how you can best answer these questions, then map these against the physical journey.
Again, you may be required to conduct some basic market research, if the journey is more complex across different target customers. Overall, the more specific the message the more competitive the result.
5.2 Emotional Journey
The emotional journey is less about factual considerations (such as, features and performance). But, based more on a opinion someone may have. As we all know opinions are subjective and so learning to build these opinions that your customers value is essential.
As marketers we aim to give the right information, at the right place, at the right time.
The process of understanding how to do this is mapping out the customers touch points both physical and psychological.
In the end, you will end up with two lists, one of which is the physical and the other being the psychological. Whereby, you need to assess how these can coexist.
This seems simple however, it can be extremely complicated because the more you learn about different target segments and their interaction, the messages may contradict themselves.
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Rawal, P. (2013). AIDA Marketing Communication Model: Stimulating a purchase decision in the minds of the consumers through a linear progression of steps. International Journal of Multidisciplinary research in social & management sciences, 1(1), 37-44.