The customer journey, the collection of experiences and various touchpoints consumers have with your business, has been an important focal point in communications, receiving significant attention for a number of years. Even so, a vast number of companies have not changed the way they transact and operate to evolve their customer journey, continuing in the same vain as they have for years. Old habits can die hard, even if the mindset is generally open to embracing innovation.
Forrester defines the customer journey as, “a variety of touchpoints by which the customer moves from awareness to engagement and purchase. Successful brands focus on developing a seamless experience that ensures each touchpoint interconnects and contributes to the overall journey.”1
Consumption of communications has changed; we have a convoluted landscape to navigate. Expectations have changed. The benchmark of delivering customer value is pushed again and again. But not everyone is ready to embrace this evolution.
This is why looking at what your customers’ journey is throughout your marketing and business operations is so important.
Mapping the customer journey follows the tried and tested AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action). Before you have a customer, you have a prospect. They may not even know they need you yet. Creating awareness through a strategic, integrated approach is key. Developing and investing time into attracting their attention is how you achieve that all-important cut through.
Once you have their attention, you now have to get their interest. This is often the most critical time in the customer journey – is the customer interested enough in your message? Does it have relevance? Does it provide them with enough reason to care? Are you listening to them? Do you meet their needs? Do you demonstrate an understanding of their pain points? Can you help them with a solution that not just meets a need, but makes them happy and improves their quality of life? These questions are key, and if you don’t deliver a message that provides enough value, then you’ve lost them and no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to get them back. They will have already disregarded you, and winning their interest back at this point is a considerable challenge.
However, if you have answered these questions, and the prospect is warming to you, they will continue to show intrigue and begin to engage. Recognise these signs. Keep positive, continue to provide relevant messaging and start to create expectations. You must live up to these expectations, don’t let it be a pitfall.
This warming is the start of desire. This is when engagement starts to peak. This is when you can really offer your value, and demonstrate a strategic, results-oriented solution.
Ensure you have the resources to deliver what you promise. Then deliver it! Here is the action phase. We all know that actions speak louder than words, so go for gold! Validate your message, show your value is more than just lip service.
Ultimately, it will be the sum of your actions that measure success. This is the point of impact in a customer’s engagement decision. Do they want to start their journey with you, or will they seek someone else? If you have invested and worked hard, then don’t waste all that energy in preparation to do it all again. Think about where the journey can continue and offer more. If you have created positive, memorable experiences you now share a connection, so develop that!
Every customer is unique, really! No one wants to feel lip service, or that they are being treated like a statistic. Understand, reciprocate, solve, and develop. This is the start of a beautiful journey… Go forth and prosper, together. Let’s change the customer journey, and let the evolution of a partnership begin.