The Connection Between Customer Journey and Growth
Improving customer growth is a goal every business shares. The more customers you have, the more revenue will increase. While there are many different strategies you can employ to boost customer growth, one particular practice that every business should implement is to map the customer journey. Mapping the customer journey will help you to improve your customer experience, and you’ll be more likely to drive both customer and revenue growth.
What Is The Customer Journey?
The customer experience is key to not only closing sales but also to building loyalty among your existing customer base. A poor customer experience will diminish your chances of closing a sale and even if you’re able to do that, the chances that the customer will stick with your brand will be slim. The customer journey is the entirety of the customer experience, from when the customer is first introduced to your brand to after the customer has made a purchase.
However, it’s not as simple as it might appear to be. A consumer doesn’t just see a product and then make a purchase. Once introduced to the brand, a person may take some time performing their due diligence before deciding to make a purchase. Mapping the customer journey gives you a better understanding of what a customer does and how they interact with your brand from the moment they’re introduced to your brand to the moment that they make a purchase. This allows you to identify ways that you can help guide your customers through their journey more efficiently and to remove any roadblocks that might stall their journey or end it before they make a purchasing decision.
Mapping The Customer Journey
When mapping the customer journey, you’re in essence looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Some of the elements to address or keep in mind to successfully map the customer journey are listed below:
- Different customers have different journeys – Every customer journey is different. There is no direct path. Use your buyer personas to develop separate customer journey maps for each customer type. Think of the customer journey not as a series of stages that a customer goes through, but a series of actions that the customer takes.
- Make your customer journey maps actionable – Your customer journey maps need to be created with the point of view of your customers in mind. Identify both positive and negative emotions that your customers may have during their experience — and these should be put in the context of their behaviors, expectations, and goals.
- Focus on multiple touchpoints – Customers view every interaction that they have with a single brand as being connected. Yet many companies will focus their efforts on optimizing single touchpoints. Consider all the customer touchpoints so that you can better understand the customer journey the way they experience it. This will help you identify and address gaps between touchpoints to create a smoother, less obstructed customer experience.
- Use KPIs – Key performance indicators (KPIs) allow your journey maps to be actionable. Metrics that you can use to evaluate your customer journey maps include NPS (net promoter score) results, customer satisfaction measures, qualitative assessments of customer emotions, measures of importance of specific touchpoints, and more.
- Visualize your customer journeys – Visualizing your customer journey maps allows you to layer emotions, expectations, and opportunities along the customer journey that makes it easy to understand and to engage with stakeholders within your organization.
Improving The Gaps In The Customer Journey
Mapping out the customer journey and analyzing multiple touchpoints to determine whether they are helping to meet the needs of your users or preventing them from moving further will help you identify gaps in your customer journey. Eliminating any gaps in the customer journey will help to improve the customer experience. Many types of gaps can exist and they often require the work of your managers, website designers, user experience designers, and copywriting editors to address. Consider these examples of common gaps that exist in the customer journeys of many businesses:
Gaps Between Devices
A user’s customer journey rarely occurs over the course of a single session. They will do research into their problems, needs, and solutions before they even begin exploring different brands. They will also do all of this across multiple days using multiple devices.
For example, a person might look something up on their smartphone when they have some time during a break at work. They may discover your brand while doing this research. Once they do that, they may go home and check out your website further on their laptop. To ensure that there are no disruptions in their experience, make sure that there are no gaps between devices. If they sign up for an email newsletter while on their computer but can’t open it on their smartphone because the content isn’t mobile-friendly, it means there’s a large gap between devices.
Gaps Between Departments
Part of ensuring a good customer experience is making sure that their interactions with your brand will be relevant to them at all times. Gaps between your departments can make it difficult to address the current needs of your users.
0For example, an existing customer might have a quick question while they’re perusing your website and may use your chat feature. A customer service representative will engage with them, but because there’s a gap between sales and customer service, they won’t have the background information on that user even though they were a customer in the past. They may require the customer to repeat information to them that your company should already have in order to help them. As you can imagine, this type of time-consuming interaction can be quite frustrating for customers.
Gaps Between Channels
Customers use multiple channels in a non-linear fashion to move through the customer journey. One customer might find you on social media and make their way to your website from there. Another might stumble on your website through a Google search and will then check out your Facebook page after they read through your blog. Because of how non-linear the customer journey is, be sure that there are no gaps between channels. For example, if your Facebook page has no links to your website, then a gap exists. You don’t want to make customers do work to move from one channel to another — they should be able to do so effortlessly.
Enhanced Customer Experience
By improving the customer experience, you will have a better chance at increasing customer loyalty. When it comes to improving the customer experience, the goal is to drive three different types of customer loyalty, which include:
- Customer retention – The biggest mistake a company can make is to ignore a customer after they’ve become a customer. You’ve done all the hard work to turn a lead into a customer, keeping them shouldn’t be that much more difficult — and repeat customers are the ones that will help to increase revenue the most. If you don’t make an effort to keep your customers, they’ll be more likely to go over to a competitor. A good customer experience both before and after the sale will help improve your customer retention, which will not only help bring in more revenue but also help keep sales away from your competition.
- Customer enrichment – When customers become more informed about their problems and needs, they become more enriched. Continuing to provide content that is relevant to your customers even after they’ve made a purchase will help to make them more informed, which can help to drive their purchasing decisions.
- Customer advocacy – Finally, strive for customer advocacy. If your customer experience stands out, your customers won’t just be loyal to your brand, they’ll advocate for it on your behalf by recommending your products to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and more, whether in person or on social media. And nothing convinces one consumer to try out a product more than another consumer’s opinion of that product, especially if there is an existing relationship between those consumers.
The Path To Customer Growth
Building customer loyalty is incredibly important. Besides customer retention and customer enrichment helping to increase your sales, customer advocacy can help bring in new leads. In fact, customer advocates can help to build your brand reputation in general, which will make it a lot easier to not just attract new leads, but to build loyalty with new customers.
Customer Growth Drives Profitable Growth
As you continue to optimize your customer experience, you’ll find that you will continue to build customer loyalty. This customer loyalty will translate to sales as well as new leads (through advocacy). In turn, these new leads will be more likely to become customers not only because of prior customer advocacy, but because you’ve provided a smooth and enjoyable customer experience. By mapping your customer journeys to find ways to improve the customer experience, you will create a cycle of nurturing and increasing customer growth, all of which will drive profitable growth.
Your Customer Journey and Your Business Growth are Inextricably Linked
The success of your business depends on your customer experience. The ability to guide potential customers through their journey no matter what channel they’re using or what device they’re on will make a huge difference. However, to provide a good customer experience, you will first need to understand the customer journey.
Mapping the customer journey is an excellent way to identify gaps in your customer journey and to improve the customer experience wherever possible. This map can improve your ability to close sales as well as build customer loyalty, which can lead to repeat sales and customer advocacy. The more work you invest in optimizing your customer journey, the more it will drive the growth of your business.
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