The Customer Journey: To improve sales and build your brand, think more like a customer.

The Customer Journey: To improve sales and build your brand, think more like a customer.

Keep your customer in mind every step of the way.

In order to improve sales and build your brand, think more like a consumer. Keep your customer in mind every step of the way.

The customer journey is the term for all the interactions a potential customer has with your company, product, or service along the path to making a purchase. The purchase transaction is the endpoint of all the engagements leading up to the purchasing decision and including the follow on.

Any weak link in this chain could result in an abandoned shopping cart or a customer lost to a competitor.

Conceptualizing customer engagement as a journey helps you to focus on the entire experience of doing business with your company. It starts with becoming aware of your product, to comparing it to alternatives and substitutes, to making an initial purchase, to returning for repeat business.

The goal of marketing is to smooth out the process by identifying, creating and controlling these customer touchpoints.

A customer touchpoint is any time a customer comes in contact with your brand. This is your sales funnel and includes interactions before, during, and after the purchase. Your goal is to ensure your customers are satisfied every step along the way.

The best way to identify these touchpoints is by thinking like a potential customer. You want to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never heard of your brand and is moving through the process of analyzing your offering and considering purchasing all the way through purchase and delivery, set up and use and support.

Touchpoints along the journey include:

Before the transaction:

This includes marketing efforts like ads, testimonials or social media activity. Customer impressions are also formed through product reviews and word of mouth. Monitor social media channels and listen to what is being said about your brand. Set up Google Alerts to be notified when your brand is mentioned.

During the transaction:

Your point of sale environment could be a physical store, a website or a printed catalog. You might sell physical items, digital downloads or SaaS. Your customers will interact with your paywall, sales team or call center.

It was reported to Jeff Bezos in a meeting that Amazon’s average wait time on the phone was very low. Bezos put the phone on speaker and called. As the minutes painfully passed with hold music and “your call is important to us”, Jeff became furious. Don’t be that guy.

After the transaction:

This includes product support, answering questions and addressing returns. Customer feedback surveys can provide valuable product and customer journey information to help refine your offering and touchpoints.

Touchpoints create the experience.

After detailing the sequence of the customer journey, take some time to analyze how all the touchpoints flow and fit together.

· Seek to remove any obstacles the customer might experience.

· Add any missing or underserved touchpoints.

· Make sure it’s easy for customers to resolve any issues in the transaction.

Continuously monitor and evaluate your customer journey map and seek to make improvements.

Remember, the customer’s needs always come first. The goal is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Permission Marketing

Permission marketing is a concept first articulated by Seth Godin. Seth has written a bunch of great books that are well worth reading and he has a very popular blog that you should subscribe to.

This is from Seth Godin:

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”

You need permission to provide relevant content to potential customers. One of your most valuable marketing assets is your email list. Members of your email community need to opt in and if you don’t provide relevant interesting useful information to them, they will opt out.

The content you provide is how you build trust along the customer journey.

Here is another post that may interest you on the AIDA marketing framework. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Its another way to view the customer journey.

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