Improving the customer journey helps businesses have better conversions and ultimately boost sales.
Unfortunately, most businesses focus too much on their products and services that they forget about delivering a great customer experience. Focusing only on what you’re selling isn’t all bad, but it’s not just the only element to achieve business success.
A study showed that customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This just means that now is the time for you to give more attention to your customer journey.
This article will talk about the customer journey, how important it is, and how your business can enjoy the different benefits.
What Is The Customer Journey?
Customer journey represents the entire path that a person goes through to become a customer of your business. It shows their experience from when they first engaged with your brand, got interested in what you’re selling, and became a paying customer.
A modern example would be seeing a social media post with a product you’re interested in. You then head to the website of the business to know more about the product they’re advertising.
After reading the product description, you search for product reviews to see if it’s a legitimate item. Once you’re convinced, you proceed to buy the product and head to the checkout page.
This simplified process is a modern customer journey that most consumers go through in this digital era.
Although this is just one example out of a thousand customer journey scenarios, understanding your own could bring your business a ton of benefits.
How To Improve Your Business’ Customer Journey
If you haven’t been paying attention to your customer journey, this is the perfect time to review it. Below are the different strategies you can do to improve your customer journey.
1. Envision Your Ideal Customer Journey
As a business owner, there are things you envision for your business. You have a vision for its five-year growth, a vision about the revenue in that time frame, and many more.
But one aspect you might have forgotten would be the vision for your processes and customer journey that you want your customers to go through.
Do you want a seamless customer journey? An automated one? Or a journey that’s mixed with a personalized touch?
Remember, every business has a different customer journey. It will ultimately depend on the people behind the business on what the customer journey would look like.
Envisioning your ideal customer journey is the first step because all improvements will be geared towards achieving that vision.
2. Set Up A Feedback Form
Having a feedback form doesn’t mean you’re only going to get negative comments from your customers. A feedback form invites positive, negative, and neutral comments from your buyers.
Having such a feature in your business allows you to improve your customer journey in several ways. It gives you honest insight from people who experienced your business firsthand.
Reading feedback might give you ideas that you might have overlooked before to make for a better customer experience. It can tell you what you need to retain or what needs replacement.
Many software allows you to create a feedback form and integrate it with the platform you’re using. Popular ones could be Hubspot CRM, Google Forms, and Typeform.
3. Act On The Feedback Form
The reason why your business implements a feedback form is to improve on serving your customers. A feedback form isn’t as effective if the business won’t act on the suggestions or improve the negative comments.
Acting on the feedback form can create wonders for your business. It only shows that you care about what your customers think, and their experience is a priority of yours.
This act alone can be the sole determinant for customers to choose you over your competitors. Sometimes, the customer experience differentiates businesses from one another, especially if they are selling almost the same products and services.
4. Understand Who Your Customers Are
If you want to improve your business’s customer journey, you need to understand the importance of user experience research. Through this research, you understand what their problems are in the journey and how you can make things easier for them.
The top companies in the world have already mastered this element. They have a clear picture of who their customers are. They know their interests, what gets their attention, and their common pain points.
Because of their deep understanding of their market, they can scale their business and provide an experience that their customers want.
If you don’t know who your customers are, that’s perfectly fine. You can still do something about it. One way to know most of them would be to simply ask them your questions.
Look at how Gili Sports uses a quiz on its homepage to know more about its customers and their preference. You can do something like this through a survey or a poll.
Another way to understand customers better would be by creating buyer personas or customer profiles.
Buyer personas are detailed descriptions of someone who represents the different customers you have. This buyer persona is not a real person, but a fictional one with the characteristics of the people buying from you.
This fictional person will have a name, demographic detail, interests, and behavioral traits.
By knowing the information and details, you and your team would have a better picture of who your customers are. Through buyer personas, you will be able to create a customer journey that they like going through.
For example, if your customers are in the senior citizen bracket, do you think they’ll appreciate having to do a lot of stuff before they can purchase something from you?
Most probably, they won’t. Since most people in this age bracket aren’t really tech-savvy, you can make your customer journey as straightforward as possible.
By making your customer processes simple and easy, you might just turn your customers into loyal advocates of your business.
5. Add Personalization In The Process
Personalization just improves everything it touches. Great brand designers and marketers know the wonders of what personalization can do for a business. It helps with marketing campaigns, SEO strategies, and better client relationships.
Businesses use personalization to engage more customers by addressing pain points, using customer interest, and their likes.
Customer journey mixed with a personalized touch is a recipe for high conversion and business scalability.
Personalization is the counter to the one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. Rather than going for a broad marketing message, most businesses segment their market and have different campaigns for each group.
This type of strategy tends to be engaged and received better since the content is tailored to each market segment.
This works best for businesses that have a lot of products to sell. Let’s take Coca Cola for example. Not everyone in their market likes to drink the original version of Coke, so they created Coke Zero with no sugar or less.
The same thing with Amazon. The eCommerce giant knows that its customers are not alike – some are willing to wait weeks for their package while some want to receive it immediately.
To address this customer pain point, the company created Amazon Prime, which offers a one-day or two-day delivery. It even has a same-day delivery option for its subscribers.
If you find yourself in the same scenario with customers with different pain points, you can use personalization to improve your customer journey and increase your conversion.
A great example of addressing pain points to improve customer journey would be this eCommerce store that sells Baja hoodies.
Look at how specific they are when it comes to their product description. They even mentioned the height and weight of their models to avoid any confusion from their customers.
Their personalization strategy is to mention every detail about the clothing and the model they used. They didn’t want their shoppers to get the wrong size and be disappointed when the package arrived, which is a common problem when buying clothes online.
6. Automate Certain Processes
The innovation of automating certain processes has helped various companies throughout the years, whether small or big. It has helped businesses with inventory management, reporting, gathering data, and so much more.
A lot of departments in many companies have benefited from automation software like community and productivity tools. Marketing teams have leveraged automation in various facets of their work; sales teams used CRM and predictive dialers; even accounting teams have been getting help from automation.
It’s been proven that automated software saves a lot of time and effort for people. But more importantly, it has efficiently done certain processes better than manual work.
Here are a few processes that you can automate to give out a better customer journey:
6. a Chatbots
One of the main reasons your customers are on your website is because they want to know more about your company. They want to read up on what you have to offer and what your other products are.
At this stage in their journey, they have questions that need to be answered. Sometimes, the answer isn’t present on your website.
What most businesses do is have a chatbot that can answer additional questions. Chatbots can quickly supply answers in a fast yet helpful way. They can answer the most asked questions or give out certain information that your customers usually look for.
6. b Emails
Email is still one of the best distribution channels that businesses can use. CMI reported that 9 out of every 10 marketers still use email marketing to distribute their content. This just proves how effective email is and how it is still widely used by marketers globally.
A great thing about email is that it can be automated. Automating emails has saved businesses a ton of time when focusing on this aspect.
From welcome emails to promotional ones, and to re-engagement efforts, sending out emails has never been easier, thanks to automation.
Take a look at this automated cart abandonment email. Rather than manually emailing each customer who abandons their cart, CartStack uses automation to save effort and time.
6. c Lead generation
The process of lead generation can now be automated thanks to certain companies. Business owners and marketers can now automate this whole process without worrying about it failing.
The customer can now go through the whole lead generation process from start to finish without the supervision of business owners.
All of this can be done and repeated easily from the time the customer is aware of the campaign to being hooked by the lead magnet to providing necessary information. Not only does it saves time for marketers, but it also provides a seamless experience for customers.
7. Tracking Key Metrics
One way to improve a marketing funnel or campaign is to look at its numbers or observe the key metrics.
In a customer journey, a lot of engagements happen between a customer and a business. And those engagements can be reflected through metrics.
Common business metrics include sales revenue, website traffic, retention rate, and customer acquisition costs.
You can take note of certain metrics of every stage that are present in your customer’s journey. Ideally, there are four stages that they go through, namely, awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty.
To start observing the metrics, you can check the number of engagements your content has.
This content can be the post that makes your customers aware of your business.
It can be your real estate Facebook ad, your eCommerce “how to” blog, or your LinkedIn guide post. Whatever it is, the metric measured here could be the number of likes, shares, retweets, responses, or reposts.
For the consideration stage, the metric observed here could be the traffic coming from the said post. This metric was unavailable for many before but using today’s applications, this report can be given automatically.
As for the conversion stage, the metric here is simply the number of customers you’ve converted or the number of people who bought your product or service.
And lastly, for the loyalty stage, you can check how many reengaged with your other customer-nurturing campaigns. The metric could also be the number of repurchases or renewals of contracts.
Generally, you want to see the metrics on these stages go up. You want the before and after numbers to have a high difference to really see that there was an improvement.
8. Train Your Frontline Workers
Your frontline workers are the first people who interact with your customers. They are essential to improving your customer journey. So it is only fit that you invest in some training programs for them.
A way to train your frontline staff would be to educate them on what kind of service you expect them to do. You can’t achieve your vision of an incredible customer journey if you don’t communicate it to your staff.
You should have a standard for your customer interaction and service. This makes every frontline worker of yours have a benchmark when it comes to their performance.
A strategy that you can do is to conduct regular training programs that help your frontline workers deliver a consistent and flawless service to your customers.
The training conducted could leverage two elements:
8. a Product knowledge
For your staff to provide excellent service, they need to have great knowledge of the product they’re selling.
The last thing you want to have is a staff who can’t answer customer questions because of their lack of knowledge. This will leave a negative impression on your business.
8. b Soft skills
Soft skills refer to the behavior and communication skills of your staff. You want them to be respectful and professional at all times.
Train them with proper customer service etiquette so they can provide the highest quality service possible.
9. Create A Customer-Centric Environment
A way to create an excellent customer journey would be by placing your customers at the center of every business process. When you transition to this type of framework, you’ll drive repeat customers and increase customer loyalty.
Deloitte and Touche reported that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that focus somewhere else.
Here are some ways to make you a customer-centric organization:
- Monitor customer interactions
- Engage with customers
- Listen to your customers
- Accept criticisms and improve
- Get to know more of your customers
- Make your customers part of the solution
- Anticipate customer needs
- Look beyond the purchase
10. Bring Value To Your Customers
Bringing value is a no-brainer when it comes to companies. Businesses shouldn’t be only focused on selling products and services.
Providing value comes in many forms. It can be businesses sharing how they scaled, what marketing works best for their industries, what Instagram picture settings they use, or the top tip they give to new entrepreneurs.
If your business can bring value to your customers, you should take advantage of it and display your expertise.
Look at how Transparent Labs brought value to its customer when the person asked a question regarding their post-workout and protein supplement:
You might question how bringing value improves the customer journey. Bringing value to your customers increases their confidence in your business. And a confident customer means that they are trusting your products or services to deliver on their promises.
This trust improves the customer journey because it removes any doubts they have in their head. It eliminates any skepticism, which makes for a better customer experience.
Why You Need To Understand Your Customer’s Journey
It is only through understanding your customers that you will be able to serve them exceptionally and provide them with a seamless experience. In other words, the only way to convert more customers is to understand them better.
And what way to fully understand them is to look at their customer journey.
By thoroughly researching each stage of the journey, you will be able to optimize these stages. You can tailor each stage to their interests and hobbies which can make them more engaged and excited.
Once you’ve applied the strategies listed above, you can convert more customers and eventually scale your business further.
Although these strategies may take some time to see results, it’s important to remember that nothing big happens overnight. Significant changes need time to play out.
What’s great about improving customer journey is it works for every business out there. It works for small, medium, and large businesses. Applying the strategies above, you’re setting your business to achieve top-line performance, excellent service, and a satisfied customer network.