Usually it lasts only a brief moment - the moment of truthwhen vague interest turns into a purchase or other targeted action by the customer or prospect. But this moment is only a short episode in a rather long story. There were a number of chapters before it, and there will be a number of chapters after it. Reading them is critical to keeping customers coming back and buying more, and to securing your competitive advantage along the way. One of the most effective ways to do this is to accurately evaluate the customer journey.
The Customer Journey, i.e., the customer journey, describes the totality of all phases that the customer completes from the very first contact with the company. The points of contact with the product or the brand - the the touchpoints - represent the individual stations on the itinerary.
Within the customer journey, in addition to the immediate touchpoints such as Social Media MarketingIn addition to information from the media, such as advertisements or sales staff, the company also uses indirect contacts, such as press releases, posts in discussion forums or blogs, or customer reviews. The evaluation of all these sources of information helps to sharpen and elaborate the company's own competitive advantage.
The Customer Journey encompasses all stages of the customer's social and psychological development process with regard to the intended conversion - starting with the creation of demand through to the successful action and beyond.
The Customer Journey and its beneficial applications
One of the most important aspects of the customer journey is to develop maximum understanding of the prospect or customer, correctly interpret their behavior, and locate their priorities. This information is fundamental to aligning one's activities precisely with the customer's needs.
The competitive advantage of this strategy is based on the localization of all Touchpoints of the customer journey. This leads not only to a deep understanding of the customer's behaviors, but also to the perception of the actual motives.
This is what matters in the customer journey
The Customer journey of the customer does not stand in a vacuum. A particular challenge arises from the activities of competitors, many of whom also evaluate the customer journey. This circumstance makes it necessary to intensify the creation of demand for one's own product in a targeted manner until it reaches the point of Conversion comes.
A real-world example illustrates the role of touchpoints during a typical customer journey.
Customer Journey: The new flat screen
- Phase: Awareness
An online advertising campaign draws Günter Walling's attention to a new model in the 49-inch class among flat-screen TVs from a well-known company.
- Phase: Attraction
Induced by the producer's actions in search engine optimization, Günter arrives at the company's website.
- Phase: Deliberation
The attractive and motivating presentation of the device increases Günter's interest. The conversion - in this case the purchase - is already within the realm of the conceivable. Günter uses the appropriate Facebook pages and rating portals to find information about other customers' product experiences with the TV.
- Phase: Purchase intention
The positive reactions of other customers with the TV set consequently generate a concrete desire to buy in Günter.
- Phase: Conversion
Günter is convinced. He visits the company's online store and places the order.
- Phase: Loyalty
Günter enjoys using his new Feners very much and frequently. Since he is convinced of the quality of the provider, he also orders new speakers to complete his home theater.
Günter has gone through a customer journey that includes several touchpoints. All of them together ultimately brought about the purchase decision and thus activated the company's competitive advantage.
Three steps to the customer journey map
A customer journey can be created by product, customer group or for the entire company and displayed on a map. This helps with an overview of the touchpoints and the localization of any weak points. These process steps should be gone through in the process:
- Development of the target group
- Localization of touchpoints
- Chronology development
Step one: Developing the target group
The target group can be developed in different ways. One proven means is the development the Customer Personawho stands for this group. The fictitious, but nevertheless detailed personality represents all the typical characteristics of the target group.
After defining the persona, the motivational analysis begins. Why might they be interested in the offer? What motives drive their purchasing decisions? These considerations then give rise to a concrete picture of the target group that has emerged and what they have in common.
Step two: Localization of touchpoints
At this point the size of the Customer Journey Map out, depending on the details of the customer journey. The more touchpoints included, the larger the map - and the more insightful.
Especially about the Online tracking based on statistics from support and newsletters, web analytics and social media monitoring, a solid database can be generated in an effective and economical way. This provides answers to these questions:
- How does the customer or prospect get in touch with the company?
- Through which channels does the contact arise?
- Which touchpoints are of particular importance?
Step three: Development of the chronology
In this phase, the aim is to bring the identified touchpoints into a functional relationship with each other and to define the chronological sequence. This sequence ultimately represents the actual customer journey. It begins with the first contact, continues through conversion, and ends with the measures for Customer loyalty.
The customer journey is the central component for building a lasting and stable customer relationship and the resulting competitive advantage. The aim is to evaluate and optimize all the stages that the customer passes through from the first contact to conversion. However, sustainable customer retention also requires a post-conversion phase and should therefore be an integral part of the customer journey.