What Is Customer Journey?
The customer journey is a process that companies use to describe the path that each customer takes when deciding to make a purchase. Generally speaking, customers don’t immediately purchase products after finding out about them. Instead, they consider the brand or product multiple times before completing the purchase.
Each time the customer looks at the brand or product online, they do so via digital touchpoints. Touchpoints guide the customer journey and can be added to a customer journey map, which visually represents a shopper’s process before they finalize a purchase with a company.
Digital marketing makes it relatively easy to track relevant touchpoints. As a result, companies can precisely identify and track contact points across multiple communication channels.
This information allows B2C and B2B businesses to understand what motivates their customers to make a purchase, where the journey needs improvement, and how their customer service departments can incentivize customers to buy.
How Does Customer Journey Impact Customer Service?
Customer service departments play a crucial role in optimizing the customer journey and improving customer experience.
Roughly 70% of shoppers switch to a competitor following a negative customer service experience. Companies can craft a customer-centric support strategy that leverages their representatives’ skills, education, and empathy by identifying potential human touchpoints and chances for personalized interaction.
When a company prioritizes extraordinary customer support, it ensures that its agents have the training to provide a cohesive experience. Further, companies that excel at this ensure that their customer service agents are on the same page and that their departments have the necessary tools to engage and follow up with customers through email, phone calls, website chats, and other communication channels.
Finally, companies can leverage both live representatives and automated response tools to meet customer demand, decrease response times, and boost customer satisfaction rates, resulting in increased brand loyalty, a streamlined customer journey, and more returning customers.
The 5 Stages of the Customer Journey
A customer’s buying journey involves five steps:
During the awareness phase, customers become aware of a need or desire in their lives. At the same time, they discover a company through various sources, such as:
Social media posts.
The awareness stage is considered the first touchpoint along the customer’s journey and is also known as the top of the sales funnel.
When deliberating, customers research, review, track, and compare one or more companies, products, or services. They may do so through product reviews, online testimonials, FAQs, sales pages, or other forms of research.
Every company wants potential customers to reach the acquisition phase. There, the consumer finalizes a purchase. However, the acquisition stage extends beyond clicking “Buy Now.” Companies must then keep their brand, services, or products on buyers’ minds through advertising and engagement.
A study conducted by Adobe noted that repeat customers generate 40% of company revenue. The same study also found that marketing departments have to bring in as many as seven new customers to match the revenue made from a single existing customer.
During the retention phase, businesses work to build and maintain a relationship with their existing customers. This could come in the form of customer service follow-ups, exclusive discounts for previous buyers, free shipping, or other benefits. When companies do this correctly, they can transform one-time buyers into loyal advocates during the retention phase.
Finally, repeat shoppers become advocates when they share their positive experiences with friends, family, and social media followers. In many cases, companies acquire multiple new customers following a positive testimonial, according to a study that found that 71% of shoppers were more likely to make a purchase after reading a recommendation on social media.
Streamlining the Customer Journey through Customer Service
An optimized customer journey can have a significant impact on the overall customer experience. Businesses, especially retailers, need to evaluate several touchpoints to ensure that potential buyers can easily move through the five stages.
A highly trained, well-equipped customer service department can help guide an individual throughout the entire customer journey through omnichannel communication strategies, convenient touchpoints, and a customer-centric support strategy.