As both a service provider and a customer (and not always a happy one), I will try to explain both sides of the coin known as the Customer Journey.
The customer journey is each point of contact between us, the service or product provider, and the potential customers – from the time when they first meet our brand up until the point when they choose to tie themselves to our brand – usually via a purchase.
The customer journey can begin as an internet seach for a service or product, following an advert that caught their eye, or by contacting a customer service center.
Each point of contact along this journey is a potential trigger for leading the customer to the next point along the journey. Therefore, if we can identify these points along the journey, while learning about the customer’s habits and desires, we can improve them in our favor.
A customer who is about to embark on the journey will usually begin by trying to find information about the desired product or service.
Take for example a dream vacation on the Seychelles islands.
Stage 1: Learning about the destination, when is a good time of year to visit, what budget is needed, how long the flight is, looking for recommendations, reading about local attractions, etc.
Stage 2: Conducting further research on the web, checking with a number of travel agents or airlines, comparing prices, talking to sales reps, choosing dates…
Stage 3: Making a decision, choosing the package that offers the best value for money or is the most impressive, and booking the vacation.
Stage 4: Looking forward to the vacation
Of course this process is usually more complex, as websites and special offers try to attract target audiences, create curiosity, build trust, convince customers to book with them, and so forth.
If we can identify exactly where each customer is situated on the point-of-contact continuum, we will be able to make the sales process more efficient, eliminate obstructions, improve the service, and at the end of the day – increase our sales.
Many companies beileve that once a deal is sealed, their work is done. This is, of course, a mistake. We have to be there for our customers as long as they are enjoying our product or service. We must therefore think about all the points-of-contact the customer has with us during the vacation itself (in this specific example) – and try to constantly improve them.
By mapping the customer journey, from start to finish, we can build numerous possible scenarios for a wide variety of customers – thereby ensuring the best possible service and customer experience.