Pack your bags: Everything you need to know about customer journeys

A study published over the past year found that businesses that invest in optimal customer journeys experience a 70% jump in profits within a three year period.

Where is everyone? On a journey, of course. Indeed, at present, you’d be hard pressed to find marketing managers that aren’t busy mapping out the perfect customer journey. In case you’ve been away during the past two years, this pair of words, that has gone from being a somewhat amorphous professional term to representing one of the marketing and digital worlds’ leading marketing strategies, describes each potential client’s decision making process at each of their touch points with our brand. Sounds trivial, no? Think again. A single small business can originate dozens of different customer journeys, where each one leads to a different destination: one journey for purchasing a specific product, a second journey relating to use of a digital customer service platform to free up human call-center staff, a third journey to address customers that had poor product experiences, etc. Now try and track each such journey.

The good news is that most of today’s popular customer journeys are fully automated. If you use the right automation system, you’re already halfway there. Now, all that’s left is to implement the building and mapping phase of the appropriate customer journey, and the system will start working for you. Unsurprisingly, you’ll soon begin to see results: A study published during the past year found that businesses that invest in optimizing customer journeys see a 70% hike in profits within 3 years. What makes this happen, in practice? Strong relationships with customers = less disappointed customers = less abandoned carts.

All we need to do is to understand what customer journeys bring to the table to appreciate just how important it is for each and every business to invest in customer journeys: Building a customer journey lets us provide a consistent and continuous experience across all marketing channels, builds additional goodwill towards our brand, and supplies personal access to each customer’s decision making process. In the past, when sales people still called (by phone) potential customers to try and gain their interest, we called this “follow-up”. Did you call? Did the customer ask for additional information? Let’s call again and gently try to find out from the customer whether they’ve reached a decision. Digital marketing did a good job of mapping out these stages, automating them, and increasing their sophistication. All that’s left is to plan the journey’s touch points and to guide customers towards the desired targets.

How to build a winning customer journey

Step 1, Defining Business Objective

The first step is absolutely vital to the process, and its purpose is to establish the path your new customer will take on their way to conversion. Want to increase sales of a particular product? Looking to launch a new supplementary service? Great! Make sure to define this ahead of time in as measurable a way as possible (e.g., increase sales by 20%). At this stage of the process, we’ll also determine the feasibility of the proposed target, the timing, and how much customers really need your product.

Step 2, Creating a Customer Profile

Who are your business’s target customers? Where are they located? What get’s them going? What are their pain points? What can you offer them? The answers to all these questions are part of specifying a precise customer profile, without which no customer journey is complete. A comprehensive and accurate description of your customer mix will let you match content, products, and the entire process in a highly personalized and experiential fashion.

Step 3, Publishing Feedback Surveys

A good study always does the job, and the digital realm is no different. Peppering your site with feedback surveys will help you better understand what customers think of your brand, how they score your products or services, and how engaged they are with the content you create. The data collected from these surveys will save you from steep learning curve costs and will speed up your customers’ journeys on their way to conversion.

ameliorer la delivrabilite emailing
Want to grow your sales? Set this objective ahead of time (photo: UNFLASH)

Step 4, Identifying Customer Touch Points

Where do your potential customers come in contact with your brand? Which digital channels do they prefer to communicate with you? Social media? YouTube? Email? Simply take care to be present wherever they are present and collect information about them so you can connect with them in the best and fastest way possible.

Step 5, Compose Your Customer Journey

Once you’ve researched, mapped, identified, and cleaned up, its time to start putting together your journey. Review each step and articulate the value proposition that it offers to customers. Did a customer signup for your newsletter? Reward them. A customer began a purchase but reneged? Try to understand their experience through a customer survey, and then incentivize them to continue on your other marketing channels. Remember: A customer journey is not written in stone, and it may shift from time to time. So, stay flexible and adapt your messages to the appropriate customers.


notifications sociales
Where are your customers? What do they like? (photo: UNFLASH)

What are the building blocks of a customer journey?

The job of constructing a customer journey doesn’t end with understanding the initial steps of preparation. To achieve your final objective, we also recommend understanding the decision making process customers go through on their way to making a purchase. The five steps described above, that are valid for the vast majority of journeys – Gaining familiarity, engagement, deliberation, conversion, and retention – are true and present, but a moment before implementing them in our marketing processes, we need to turn our attention to the expression “customer experience”.

Building a customer-centric strategy ready to respond to customers in real-time through use of dedicated, sophisticated tools, helps improve the engagement experience at each point of contact with the customer. Here’s an example: Let’s assume that one of your firm’s Facebook friends contacts you by adding a comment to a post that you posted to your page. They ask for details regarding your new product. If you have a CRM system, it will route the request to the right salesperson, at the right time. If the salesperson receives the inquiry in a timely fashion, they will call the customer and kick-off the sales process.

If not (i.e., there is a delay in notifying the salesperson), an automated process will be initiated of sending emails and SMS messages to the customer with relevant content. But what happens if the customer is already in your system after having inquired about your product in the past? And what if on the previous day, via a phone call, the customer was promised that someone would get back to them? All of these are touch points between your brand and the customer, and they should all provide the customer with a positive experience.