Have you ever thought about the path that someone takes to become a customer? From the moment someone comes into contact with your brand – whether it's through a banner ad or a Twitter post – they're starting a journey. Once a potential customer is aware of your company, the hope is that they will seek out more information via things like your website, social channels, or online reviews.
But ask yourself this: What does their experience look like? One of the best ways to figure this out is to understand and map your customers' potential paths of engagement with your company, otherwise known as their customer journeys.
What Is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey is the set of experiences – from start to finish – that customers encounter when interacting with your brand. It's their full experience of being a customer.
Understanding customer journeys helps boost sales and keeps customers coming back. How? By knowing the potential paths people take to become a customer, you can look at each touchpoint along the way, make sure they align with one another, identify pain points, and fix them so that people continue to use your services or purchase your products.
How Do I Map My Customers' Journeys?
Sit down and list every single possible touchpoint that people have with your brand, such as:
- Advertisements: print, online, TV, radio, or out of home
- Email marketing
- Landing pages
- Your website: navigating, searching, shopping, checking out
- Social media
- Search engine results
- Online reviews (think Yelp and Google)
- Signing up for information/newsletters
- Thank you correspondence
As you can see, customer journeys can be quite involved and can depend on how robust your marketing efforts are. It might seem daunting to think about every touchpoint imaginable, but it will really pay off in the end.
After you've identified your touchpoints, you can start to build a visual representation of a potential customer journey. Here are some customer journey map examples to help you get started.
How Do I Improve Customer Journeys?
To get a truly holistic view, you'll want to combine as much intel as you can. Two common sources of data include analytics (from your ads, social channels, and website) and anecdotal research, such as social media comments and online reviews.
From your analytics, you should be able to glean a number of things: ad click-through and conversion rates, visitor sources, time on each page, bounce rate, exit pages, and much more. From this data, you can learn a lot about your customers' behavior and start to fix pain points. For example, if people are starting the check-out process but then abandoning the page, what could that mean? Maybe the page isn't loading fast enough or your shipping costs are too high. Whatever the reason, try and get to the bottom of it and eliminate that barrier to a sale.
Another great way to really know what your customers are thinking is to deploy a user experience survey on your website or via email. You can ask questions such as:
- How did you first hear about the company?
- What first motivated you to visit the website/social media channel?
- Have you visited the website with the intention of making a purchase, but didn't follow through? If so, why didn't you?
- How easy is it to navigate the website, on a scale of 1 to 10?
- How was your experience with our staff?
- How can we make your experience better?
Remember that just because someone completed a purchase doesn't mean their journey is over. Make sure to optimize things like post-transaction pages, emails confirming their purchase, thank you emails, and online reviews (being responsive to comments is helpful).
As you improve your customer journeys, you should see increased sales and retention rates. And the better experiences people have with your company, the more they will not only keep coming back but spread the word that you're a great option in your industry.
In the words of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, "Life's a journey, not a destination." So go out there and make those journeys the best they can be.