Imagine that at work you heard mention of a new fashionable restaurant in the mountains, suddenly all your acquaintances talk about that place, the advertising on social networks and the publications in the stories of your friends arouse your curiosity, one night you fall in temptation and decide to go try. Your GPS navigator shows you a direct and fast route, however, during the march you realize that the road is only half asphalted, between rocks and potholes, without traffic signs, traffic lights or lights that allow you to see Where are you going, your car begins to suffer the consequences and at some point, along the way you change your mind, decide to go home to cook or go to another restaurant. The end does not always justify the means. But maybe there was a better way.
With this simple example we give you an introduction to the Customer Journey, its applications and benefits for your business.
What is it?
You can call it whatever you want, a series of steps, a path, a guide or a story. The important thing is to understand that the Customer Journey is a decision process through which all people who wish to purchase a product or service must go through, from the moment they realize its existence, until they buy it. So be it the typical bath soap that you just remembered you needed when you saw it in the supermarket, or a dinner that you have been planning for months. That is why it is important that buying is not difficult or annoying, think about it a bit, if you have a bad experience on the way, surely next time you will look for another place where you can find the solution to your need without having a bad time.
It should be noted that, although they are related, the Customer Journey should not be confused with the Customer Experience. The first has to do with what clients do at each stage of the decision process. The second refers to how they feel during and after it.
Related Articles: Customer Journey vs. User Journey: What’s the difference?
What are its stages?
Like any process, the Customer Journey is made up of a series of activities or stages through which the consumer, which for Inbound Marketing purposes we will call the Buyer Persona, must pass. Depending on the sources you can find several, however, the three most important are discovery, consideration and decision.
- Discovery: this is the beginning of the Customer Journey, here people find your business through advertisements, social networks, by their conversations with friends, among others. Right now, they are prospects who don't know anything about your product or service, they still need to be educated before being considered potential customers.
- Consideration: here a need or desire awakens in the prospect that prompts him to seek the purchase of something that solves a problem. You start to learn, compare options, contact businesses to clarify doubts, read recommendations and comments, prepare to take a decision.
- Decision: finally, the Buyer Persona reaches a list of suppliers, with their products or services, that will help them solve their problem, at this stage they simply reduce the list until they take a decision.
Related article: Content Ideas for each stage of the Customer Journey
What is it for?
Now that we know what it is, how can we use it?
A couple of decades ago, people went to points of sale to acquire information about a product or a service. Today, 70% of the buying process has been completed before starting the sale, as consumers have more tools at their disposal to inform themselves from anywhere and at any time.
Understanding the Customer Journey of a Buyer Persona helps to understand how it will behave during the process. If we understand your needs and concerns, we can generate content that is useful to you and, in turn, clarify your questions about how our product or service will help you solve your problem.
Visualizing the entire journey can reveal its weak points, which we need to reinforce. We can analyze it in this way, each stage of the Customer Journey will present obstacles that the Buyer Persona must overcome, knowing this, we can guide them to facilitate the process and provide a better experience.
When to use it?
At this point it is important to highlight that in a Customer Journey there are so-called touchpoints, which are ￼moments in which there is contact between the Buyer Person and our business. This can be through emails, by text messages (whatsapp), through a chatbox on the website, a direct visit or by a call.
Although carrying out the exercise of devising the Customer Journey by creating a Customer Journey Map should be a priority when building a strategy to understand and improve the customer experience (because it indicates a starting point and allows visualizing the entire process), it is true that it is not necessary to always elaborate it. In the example of the soap that you see when passing through the supermarket shelves, there is no touchpoint other than going to the place and making the purchase, the procedure is simple, and the Customer Journey is short.
However, if you are considering buying a home, you will probably first seek information, tips, and blogs to soak up your knowledge. Then you will look for more than one option, you will contact the owners or intermediaries, you will verify the information they give you, you will make visits to the locations, you may need the approval of a loan, you will call electricians and plumbers to make sure that everything is fine, and so on until you finally make the decision and make the purchase. I think the point is clear, here the Customer Journey is more complex, long and has many , so it would be extremely useful to diagram and understand the process in order to be able to control it and improve the experience of your customers. The same applies if you have a product that needs constant interaction with your business to be sold.
Statistics and benefits
Perhaps you are still not convinced of the potential that understanding the Customer Journey must improve the Customer Experience, that is why I bring you a series of statistics provided by HubSpot.
- 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs.
- Prioritizing the happiness of consumers provides a competitive advantage over other companies.
- Poor customer service causes annual losses of $ 1.6 billion.
- Consumers are willing to pay 17% more for a better experience.
- Companies that focus on consumers are 60% more profitable than those that do not.
And finally, here are some benefits that you will get if you can understand and apply it correctly.
- Helps focus decisions on consumers.
- Facilitates the process for potential Leads.
- Streamlines sales processes 18 times.
- Reduces service costs 10 times.
- Improve customer recommendations 5 times.
- Improves return on marketing investment (ROMI) by 54%
Consider that this does not end here. So far, we have given a brief overview of this tool, what it is, what it is for and when to use it. We have clarified the importance of it, and we have clarified a path in the world of Inbound Marketing that promises to boost our businesses. Focusing our efforts on the client is not as simple as wondering about a process, it is necessary to ask the right questions, investigate, observe and analyze a lot. The Customer Journey is a tool to guide this procedure, so we invite you to continue investigating it and find out how to make them simple and customizable.