Journey, journey - Stranger to promoter: the path of a customer
Putting on customer glasses can help to personalize offers, improve experiences, convince and inspire with better placed marketing content.
Seeing the world through different eyes. Seeing things from a different perspective. Changing one's perspective can help people in their relationship with others and, if necessary, prevent conflicts. But it can also be a method in business: Seeing the world through the eyes of a potential customer, taking the customers perspective. Putting on customer glasses can help to personalize offers, improve experiences, convince and inspire with better placed marketing content. If you wear these glasses consistently, you'll find that there are different phases - indeed, an entire process - that a person goes through until they become a customer. This "journey" and its visualized form is called Customer Journey. We will take a closer look at this now.
The term customer journey comes from marketing and refers to the path taken by a customer from the first point of contact (touchpoint) with a company or brand to a conversion or the desired action (e.g., a purchase) and subsequent customer loyalty. This itinerary can be used, for example, to understand, track, and improve a customer's satisfaction during the various stages. Tracking a customer's individual touchpoints, for example in brick-and-mortar retail, is much more difficult than in the digital world. In online marketing, this journey can be tracked through tracking tools (e.g. Google Analytics) and through concrete insights into user behavior, brands and companies can improve and develop further.
The customer experience (CX for short) describes how a customer perceives a brand or a company and refers to the overall experience. CX relates to all touchpoints with a brand or a company along the customer journey. The impression a customer forms begins with the very first contact, when a potential customer becomes aware of a company. The customer experience is a decisive factor for the sustainable growth of a company - and thus also for its economic success. Such an experience is thus not bound to one channel or one touchpoint; every contact opportunity can generate an experience and this should ideally be the same at every touchpoint.
Why is a customer journey important?
In short, if the journey of a (potential) customer is known, marketing activities can be more targeted and therefore more effective. A customer's journey can be accompanied and a company can serve as a signpost. Being the signpost or, in other words, achieving company goals can be done more easily with the help of targeted marketing activities along the customer journey. The goals do not always have to be a purchase, registering for a webinar or liking the page in a social network are also processes that can be organized along a Customer Journey. The process of a customer journey can take minutes - or months. And during the entire time, all activities can be fully exploited. If a company relies primarily on content marketing, for example, the prepared content with added value can be offered and presented at various touchpoints along the customer journey.
The Customer Journey Map
When developing a company's own customer journey map, visualization is an important step. The graphical representation not only makes the customer journey more comprehensible, but also easier to describe. One can develop a large map that depicts the journey for an entire company or for different brands, products, assortments, customer groups or even destinations. Depending on the scope and objectives, the respective touchpoints are identified and assigned to the individual phases of the model. The touchpoints can be both on- and offline.
Touchpoints are all points of interaction with the brand or a company along the customer journey. The customer touchpoints have a major influence on how a product or service is perceived. In this context, the first touchpoint is usually decisive for whether the journey is continued or not.
In the offline sector, such touchpoints are, for example:
In the online sector, touchpoints are for example:
There are many touchpoints, just as there are many channels for addressing a customer.
Probably the most famous model of a Customer Journey has the same name as a cruise ship: AIDA. This acronym stands for the phases
Awareness → in phase 1, attention must be generated
Interest → in phase 2, interest must be aroused
Desire → In phase 3, the interest is transformed into a concrete desire
Action → In phase 4, the desired action of a person, who is now a customer, takes place.
This model is still correct in its basic features, but has been further developed by the new possibilities at touchpoints (social networks, etc.).
Customer Journey "2.0"
A widely used model for a customer's journey includes the following phases:
Awareness → the generation of attention
Consideration → the weighing of a purchasing decision
Purchase → the action or purchase
Retention → the gathering of experience with e.g. a product
Advocacy → the sharing of positive experiences with others.
This model is ideal-typical and does not describe what happens between the different phases. In contrast to AIDA, however, the model is extended to include the phase after a purchase has been concluded, which is very important for companies in terms of customer loyalty. This is because the after-sales service determines whether experiences (both positive and negative) are shared or not.
The Sales Funnel is sometimes described as the basic model of the Consumer Journey, which we will describe in the next step. The sales funnel is divided into 6 phases:
Awareness → the generation of attention
Interest → the arousal of interest
Consideration → the comparison of offers
Intent → strengthening the intention
Evaluation → the consideration before the purchase
Purchase → the completion of the buying process
The difference to the Customer Journey or AIDA here is in some aspects: the attention arises, but does not yet have to have a purchase intention; the interest is aroused, but the process can end again quickly here; the comparison leads to the best offer for the searcher; the purchase intention is strengthened in the Intent phase, but depends strongly on the experience in e.g. a store; the Evaluation phase is also only completed if the experience has met the customer's expectations and there were no difficulties.
The Customer Journey shows the journey that a person goes through on his way until he slips into the role of a customer. Visualizing it can bring some benefits and also helps in improving the interaction between brand or company and a potential customer. This journey - however long it may take - can be used and shaped by companies in marketing in a targeted way to positively shape the overall perception by a potential customer. A helpful instrument, in other words. It is important that this instrument includes and plays on all channels and touchpoints. Because only in this way can the customer experience (CX) also be shaped sustainably.
More to discover here - in the Flanke 7 blog.