Customer journey is a tool used by companies to better understand the steps that the customer goes through to reach a goal with the service or product offered. Its benefits are huge for the marketing of any business. Its creation is strategic and cannot be neglected by any manager.
Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is undoubtedly a good practice for businesses that want to attract more customers, grow and be even more of a reference in the segment in which they operate.
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It is the initial way to create really efficient strategies to attract people interested in your company.
However, this can be a challenge – and a big one – even for large companies with years of experience in the market.
At a certain point, the way of prospecting and selling undergoes transformations and it is necessary to follow them side by side – and not just chase after them.
Also because technology impacts society intensely, on a daily basis. And literally overnight, what we had for conviction could change.
For this reason, understanding what the customer journey is, its importance and, above all, how to create it is important for any business.
These are the topics we will cover, from now on, in this content.
Stay with us.
Better understanding what the customer journey is
Customer journey is a concept that explains the path that a person takes from the first contact with a company to the completion of a purchase.
This expression (which was originally called The Consumer Decision Journey) was registered in 2009 by McKinsey, an American consultancy.
But its origin takes us a little further into the past. The idea of a buyer’s journey was addressed as early as 1924.
The person responsible for the act was William W. Townsend. Although he did not coin the term, he was the first to shed light on this path taken by buyers.
He, at the time, published the book Bond Salesmanship. In it, awareness, opinion, consideration and preferences are highlighted as decisive factors for a person to choose or not to buy.
That said, the construction of this journey is based on several steps and the more detailed it is, the more precise your customer acquisition strategy will be.
That’s because, by knowing the concept, mapping the customer journey, and taking the strategies out of the paper, you’ll be in control of the situation and be able to move customers along your path.
And the more times you revisit, the more insights you’ll have to improve it. This, without a doubt, is a good management practice that your company needs.
The goals and objectives, of course, you already know what they are: sell more and better.
But this will only happen when the customers’ pains are attended to along the way. When you understand what he needs and deliver value to him, step by step.
For this, it is important to transform it into something simple, practical and also visual.
This means that you must focus on what is repeated, which is standard, and only later pay attention to details.
Don’t confuse what the customer journey is
While there are similarities, customer journey and sales funnel are not the same things.
In the pipeline, prospects are divided into 3 stages – which you probably know very well:
- Funnel top (Tofu);
- Funnel medium (MO Fu);
- Funnel bottom (Bo Fu).
Each of these steps obviously requires specific actions to take the person to the last stage: the purchase.
However, the funnel is a part of the customer journey – not the whole. OK?
Another confusion that can occur is with the company’s internal processes. The focus of this tool, the customer journey, is to understand the steps he takes with your company.
This, therefore, is different about how employees should act towards this consumer and good practices in customer service
While this needs to happen in this quest, it is not the quest itself. It’s part of the whole.
What is the ideal format for the buyer’s journey?
There is no closed, defined and ready form – like basically nothing that involves prospecting for customers or sales.
After all, each company has its quirks and the personas are generally not the same from company to company.
That said, journey mapping is focused on telling the consumer’s story. Therefore, this should include:
- your motivation to go after the product or service;
- the first contact with the product, service and/or its brand;
- the trial period of the solution sought;
- collecting feedback;
- The reasons that encourage you to continue using or paying for the solution.
It is common that, in order to be available to everyone – and also didactic – this journey is created and documented in the most visual way possible.
Infographics are good options.
So keep in mind that the customer journey should always be:
- Built by different sectors of the company;
- A history of the customer’s walk;
- Visual and simple;
- Consisting of up to 15 steps;
- Have a well-defined beginning, middle, and end.
It is important to have each stage of this relationship between company and customer well mapped and documented. It is undoubtedly a good practice in customer management.
Likewise, it is the most efficient way to understand their behavior, predict their actions and have a much more assertive lead generation strategy.
Why is it important to map the customer journey?
Perhaps you’re still not convinced of the importance of mapping the buyer’s journey, especially to your customer prospecting strategies.
The fact is, by doing this, you put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Understand your pains and motivations to go after a solution to remedy this.
This makes you position yourself in front of him correctly, waving as the ideal option for the problem he is facing.
You know you have something good on hand to sell. But you need to make this clear to the customer, while awakening and gaining their trust.
And therein lies the key to success.
So the benefits of having created the customer journey are great. At first, it will be possible to identify aspects such as:
- Identify bottlenecks in your company’s existing processes;
- Have insights to be able to generate even more value for customers;
- Understand how the customer sees your brand today;
- Identify opportunities and have the buyer’s pain mapped, among others.
Once you’ve created your customer journey, your business will begin to notice improvements and understand how to delight your customer in a variety of ways.
Even so, this consumer path needs to be revisited a few times. Therefore, the benefits noted are:
- Understand how and where customers interact most with your company;
- Realize the distance between the expectation generated in the customer x the reality served;
- Have a broader view of the sales process and all its steps;
- Focus efforts on generating even more value for buyers in every contact;
- Focus on strategies to be consultative and generate trust in people more quickly;
- Reduce both the sales cycle and the cost of customer acquisition (CAC), etc.
What to take into account to map the customer journey?
Before putting your hands dirty to create the customer journey, it is important to understand and consider some points for this activity to occur in an assertive way.
It is important to say that this is work that, at the same time that it is necessary and brings important benefits, is very thorough.
Therefore, attention to detail is a key element. Don’t be in a hurry to define this.
Mistakes at this point can cause your business to lose a considerable amount of money. And nobody wants that.
Consider some important items before mapping out the buyer’s journey.
We separate some points of attention, such as:
Persona and ICP
You have a clear ideal customer profile (ICP) for your business. The starting point for building the journey correctly is knowing very well who he is.
Also define the buyer persona so you can get a more realistic sense of how your strategies might impact that person.
This will help in the development of communication, aimed at something more objective, clear and (obviously) consultative, that adds value.
Knowing these points well, you will have predictability of what lies ahead and will be preparing to make a positive impact.
Last but not least are the channels you use to get customers.
Can consumers learn about your solution and communicate with you where?
Email, social media, events, partners… have it all clear right now.
The mapping will necessarily need to cover the entire user story. As we said, it will need to have a well-defined beginning, middle and end.
And here, we speak no matter how long this time is, whether it is a short period or a longer one. There is no such distinction.
The journey ranges from the person looking for a place to have a coffee, to the person looking for software for their company, for example.
Another important factor: how does your customer usually interact with your brand?
There are two ways this can happen:
- by minor touchpoints – how to read an article on your blog like you are doing right now;
- By major touchpoints – such as the trial period of a service.
Either way, it’s important to understand all available touchpoints.
All are relevant to define which moments need greater proximity between consumer and brand.
First and last actions
Generally speaking, the first action is the reason that leads the customer to go after some product or service. It is, in this case, the pain he has.
Understand the whys – which can be varied. From dissatisfaction with the product or service you use today to new problems that have arisen and need to be fixed immediately.
The final step, the end of the customer journey, is defined by what your last act should actually be.
It is common to be recommending to new customers or renewing their subscriptions. This, of course, varies from business to business.
How to create customer journey? See 4 steps and get started!
By now you’ve understood the importance of mapping the customer journey and you’ve grasped the benefits for your business.
So, it’s time to get out of theory and into practice.
To make it easier, we have separated into 4 the steps necessary to carry out this activity in the best way possible, within the necessary rules and organization.
1 – Define the stages well
The starting point in creating the customer journey is aligning both stages and desired goals.
For this, some questions are important to provide a clear picture. Such as:
- Right now, what is the main challenge I have with my clients?
- What are the desired goals when mapping the consumer journey?
- What are the key points to be identified in this task?
Those are some important questions – but there could be more.
Think about questions about what needs to be mapped to find a pattern of behavior for your customer.
Having this behavioral predictability, you will have defined and clear actions to be able to generate the necessary value for it.
2 – Select the contact points
The second step is in selecting the touch points that your brand will make available to your potential consumers.
It’s simple, list all the environments in which your customers can reach you: website, social networks, email, partners… in short, list them all.
Ah, as for partners, name them. List all the ones you have and the ones that can bring you customers.
It’s time to get really detailed.
Also, use Google Analytics to your advantage to know the origin of visitors to your page.
This will help your inbound marketing strategies to produce relevant content that will attract even more people (the right ones!) to you.
3 – Time to actually map the journey
Now that all the rough edges have been trimmed, that you’ve gotten attention to detail and clarified key points, it’s time to finally create the customer journey.
It’s time to work together. It calls different sectors of the company: sales, marketing, development, support…
All those who somehow impact the customer need to be present to carry out this activity.
Brainstorm, write a lot, detail, and sketch and don’t run over the stages. Be patient.
You can organize the journey in the Kansan model to make it more visual and easier for everyone to understand.
Create columns and at each step add:
- point of contact with the customer;
- the expectations he has;
- what he receives from the company;
- The feeling curve.
At this stage, despite some doubts, it is important to follow up.
Follow up and align with the customer how he feels after each contact and look for a pattern that repeats itself.
Expectation and reality need to be close. If not, this needs to be improved – and only your customers’ feedback will point the way to change.
Your customers need to get exactly (or even more than) what they’re expecting. If not… do you think you will be delivering value to him?
Analyze your sales process and see, step by step, the points of interaction with your customer.
After that, customize this mapping in the way that makes the most sense.
We gave the idea of creating an infographic, as it is a visual way of seeing.
Create this document with a timeline of this consumer’s experience and make it available to everyone.
It can even be included in your company’s sales playbook, to ensure more insights for the sales team to work with.
4 – Seek constant improvement
No process will be completely ready once its terms are defined.
Mapping your customers’ journey is a constant activity and it is common not only to have doubts but also some problems along the way.
The Pareto Principle – or ABC curve, as it may also be called – can be an important tool in this task.
To carry out quality management in this mission, analyze the points that fall short of what is desired – this, of course, after collecting the customer’s feedback.
Put the improvements into practice:
- prioritize starting and finishing the smaller activities first;
- specify well who will be responsible for each point of improvement;
- set a deadline for the improvement to be implemented;
- Monitor the performance of the proposed new actions.
It is not because the purchase has been sealed that the customer journey is over. And much less that your relationship with him must end.
Stay alert and proactive to ensure consumer success with your brand. So this path will always be good for both sides.
So, how can we help you?
If you have any doubts in creating this customer journey, feel free to talk to a consultant whenever you want.
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you positively impact the consumer every day in your business.
The first talks about some tips on how to have excellent customer service, always.
The second covers 9 types of customers that are the most difficult to be served.