The customer’s journey is the path a customer takes during the buying process. There are five stages in the customer’s journey from their first interaction with your brand to becoming a loyal customer. The five stages your will learn about are discovery, consideration, convert, retention, and loyalty & advocacy.
The discovery phase is the first step in the customer’s journey. This stage is all about bringing awareness of your brand to the consumer. At this stage the customer either (1) knows they have a problem and are looking for solutions or (2) are unaware they have a problem. You do not want to attempt to make a sale at this point. (Let’s leave cold selling for telemarketing and our alma maters, right?) During this phase, your potential customer has questions and is using search engines and social media to research these questions.
Action Item: Think about the questions your potential customers are searching. Make sure you identify a really clear picture of who your audience is and what they need.
In the second stage, you want to strengthen the association of the customer’s needs need with your brand. The potential customer has done their research and they are aware of potential solutions. There is value your business offers to them and they see how you can help them. You’ve caught their eye and now they are weighing the potential solutions. If the potential customer doesn’t have a good experience in this phase, you will likely lose their interest.
Action Item: Being clear is better than being clever. Clearly outline how you can help them and focus on the experience they have during this phase. How do they inquire about your services? Is there clear information about your offers or products? Is your website optimized for mobile users? Make sure the customer has a path to get answers and the information is digestible.
At the convert stage, the customer will make a decision. They have all of the information and are ready to commit. This is your opportunity to answer any questions and solidify why you are the best choice. You will want to show them what you offer is actually what you offer. You want to make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Action Item: Weave your social proof throughout various places in your website and social content. This includes sharing customer testimonials, offering trial, having discovery or sales calls. The social proof can be shown in a few ways, but one of my favorite informal ways is a screenshot of a text or email from a customer’s response or review.
Wait.. the journey isn’t over yet? Nope!
Congratulations! You’ve got a new customer! This is the retention phase. You want to focus on strengthening your relationship with your customer and make sure they get the most value from your product or service. You have their trust, and now you need to maintain it. Repeat customers are 50% more likely to refer someone to your business than a one-time customer and account for over half of small business revenue comes from repeat customers. In addition, repeat customer cost less to obtain compared to new customer acquisition.
Action Item: Follow-up with your customer to gain feedback and learn about their experience with your brand. If they have a problem think about what solutions you can offer them to improve their experience. Use this opportunity to find out if they can provide insight to help you improve your customer journey.
In the final phase, your customer’s are wanting to sing your praises and share why they love your business. This is the ultimate stage you want all of your customer’s to achieve. You have provided such a good customer experience, nurtured your audience, and have provided an incredible product or service.
Action Item: Create a rewards program and a way to keep your loyal customers in the know with exclusive oppourtunities.
Stay tuned for future posts on each phase! I’ll be breaking down each phase in upcoming posts and discuss more about the customer’s actions, your goals and responsibilities, key performance indicators, touchpoints, and opportunities.
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