The Journey

In this part, we are going to examine the journey a person takes to become a customer. Do you measure this journey? If not, you should. How else can you gauge your customer experience?

If you don’t have as many customers as you’d like, the reason could be that your potential customers are having a bad experience along the way to becoming your customer.

There are a variety of ways to track your customer journey: a sales and marketing funnel, experience mapping and examining your buying process. These three methods all have the same goal, yet they all go about it achieving it in different ways. Read on to find out about each of these methods.

Sales and Marketing Funnel

The reason this model is described as a funnel is that there are more people at the top. Along the way, people get filtered out as they decide not to buy from you.

As your potential customers move through the funnel, you will lose some. This is referred to as having a ‘hole’ in your funnel. This can happen up until the point when the sale occurs.

The first stage of the funnel is awareness. As the name suggests, this is when the customer becomes aware of your business.
Next, we have discovery. This is when a potential customer realises what your business has to offer.

Third we have consideration, here is where you provide information to the prospect through email campaigns, case studies, trials and FAQ’s.

Next is intent. During this stage you must focus on your unique selling point. Let the customer demo the product and talk with them about what they need and how your offer suits their needs.

Finally, we have purchase. This is the point where a customer is born, when the person clicks “buy now” and fills out their details, or swipes their card in store.

Funnels are important because they are a simple, effective way to measure how many people make it through each stage of the journey and end up becoming a customer.

If people consistently lose interest at a particular point, then something is wrong. Without a sales and marketing funnel, you won’t be able to tell where the problem is — or fix it.

Experience Mapping

Like the sales and marketing funnel, experience mapping reveals the steps a person goes through to become a customer. However, it also indicates their emotional experience throughout the process.

The way you gather this extra information is by talking to customers in order to get a clear picture of their experience. This is extremely valuable, qualitative data. It allows you to understand why people might be compelled to leave at a certain point in the journey.

With the data gathered from experience mapping, you can focus your website towards the user and their needs. This is called a user-centred design, meaning it gives the person using it a lot of satisfaction through its ease-of-use and utility. There are some key points to experience mapping:

  • Touchpoints — In other words, every interaction a customer has with your company. You must know at which points they touch and which ones they avoid, and how they feel at each interaction.
  • Comparison — This is where potential customers compare your customer journey to that of your competitors. They may see that you are not the cheapest but choose you based on emotions.
  • Empathy — Include a story — a true story, that is — that creates empathy in the consumer. This can include stories about how the business started, the life of the owner or anything consumers might find interesting. Let your customers connect with the business on an emotional level.

“The point of all this is to help your business increase its steady flow of customers. The people considering your product or service are all potential customers – you might think of them as fruit that’s yet to ripen. With a bit of careful cultivation, you can reap more rewards. With that in mind, could you spend some time applying these measurement methods to your business? With thought and consideration, you can make your business more effective in acquiring customers.”

Once you’ve gone to the effort of mapping your customer experience, make sure you use the data you have gathered to your advantage. Integrate what you have learned into the business and keep on mapping! This will make your customer experience more satisfying and increase the likelihood of leads turning into customers.

Buying Process

When a customer comes into contact with you in person or over the phone, there is one thing they do not want — to be prospected or closed. This kind of contact doesn’t add any value for the customer. They are talking to you because they want additional information.

The buyer’s process is similar to the customer journey but is a more general view. It shows what the customer goes through to become aware of the business and evaluate what it has to offer them.

The buying process has three stages: awareness, consideration and decision.

  1. Awareness is the point where a consumer identifies an issue they have and realises that they need or want a product or service to solve the problem.
  2. Consideration is when the consumer looks for options to solve the problem. They begin researching different competitors to see who can fulfil their needs the best.
  3. Decision is the final stage, when the customer chooses the perfect solution, identifies which business suits their needs the best and purchases from them.

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