A customer journey is the experience that a customer has with a company or brand over time, from their perspective. It involves analyzing the interactions, touchpoints, and stages that a customer goes through when engaging with a company, in order to identify areas for improvement and opportunities to optimize the customer experience.
The customer journey is typically divided into stages, which can include elements such as awareness, discovery, purchase, experience, and participation. These stages represent the different phases that a customer goes through when interacting with a company or brand, and can include touchpoints such as visiting a website, interacting with customer service, or using a product or service.
By analyzing the customer journey, organizations can identify gaps, problems, and areas that are working well, and use this information to optimize their customer experience and drive business growth. This can involve identifying opportunities to streamline processes, improve communication, or enhance the overall value that a company or brand provides to its customers.
Awareness is the initial process of a customer becoming familiar with your brand and what you sell. This can involve elements such as recognition of your brand name, understanding of your product offerings, or a relationship with a salesperson. Awareness is crucial for marketing and sales, as customers are often hesitant to purchase from brands or products that they are not familiar with. On the other hand, customers may be more likely to make a purchase if they have a preexisting relationship with a salesperson.
Seeing a visual symbol such as a brand logo.
Hearing or seeing a brand name. For example, attending an event sponsored by a brand where a brand name is mentioned several times.
Stepping into a physical environment such as a shop or a digital environment such as a website. At this stage the visit is curiosity driven because the customer knows little about you. For example, a customer who clicks on an ad to arrive at the web page of a brand that is new to them.
A customer sees someone with the product. For example, a fashion enthusiast sees a woman wearing interesting boots and wonders where she bought them.
Word of Mouth
Hearing about a brand, product or person from friends.
Media mentions or coverage of a brand, product or service. This can include negative coverage.
Promotions such as viewing an advertisement or a product placement in a film.
Encountering the brand or product in a search. At the awareness stage, customers aren’t searching for the brand directly. For example, searching for “camping gear” on an website.
Networking such as talking to an employee or salesperson from a firm at an industry event.
The discovery stage of the customer journey occurs when a customer becomes actively interested in your brand or products, either out of curiosity or as part of the research process for making a purchase.
Visiting a digital or physical location such as a web site, shop, showroom or booth at an event. At the discovery stage, visits aren’t random but purpose driven.
Reading product reviews. This can include reviews perceived as positive, negative or fake.
Reading community posted content about the brand and product. This includes the possibility of interacting such as asking a question on a forum or product review site.
Viewing media related to your brand such as promotional videos for a product.
Reading information such as product specifications.
Looking at the Product
Viewing visuals of the product such as a look book on a fashion site.
Touching the Product
A moment of truth when the customer actually gets your product in their hands. For example, a customer who sits in your vehicle for the the first time in a showroom.
Contacting your firm to make an inquiry.
Taking some positive action as the result of a marketing effort. For example, filling out a form to receive a free trial.
Meetings with sales and other representatives of your firm.
Asking questions about the product to your staff or others such as friends.
Statement of Need
Providing sales with information about your needs. For example, a customer who gives a salesperson of home heating, ventilation and cooling systems information about their home.
The process of making a purchase can involve a customer repeatedly buying from you, indicating loyalty, or it can involve a more in-depth process of comparison with competitors before making a decision to buy.
The experience of finding information too complex. For example, being overloaded with the technical terms, features and diverse opinions found in product reviews.
Things the customer would like to know but doesn’t. Some customers will avoid ambiguity and will purchase a product that provides answers such as detailed specifications. For example, a customer who rules out a sleeping bag because the product information doesn’t state if it is for cold or warm weather.
A state of tiredness from spending too much effort thinking about a decision. A customer in this state may make poor decisions or buy a product that makes things simple for them. For example, a customer who wants to try a new shampoo but after reading a few confusing labels goes back to his regular shampoo.
The process of building relationships with salespeople and other employees. For example, a customer who avoids one shop because staff were unfriendly to her once and often goes to a shop where staff know her face and are nice.
Samples & Trials
Obtaining a free sample or a trial subscription.
Comparing prices between different products and options.
Customizing the product. For example, a bicycle that is customized whereby customers begin their shopping experience by selecting a color. This may make the customer feel committed and interested.
Comparing the quality between two products or options. Quality is anything the customer perceives as quality.
Features & Functions
Comparing the features and functions of different products and options.
Asking for a price quote when the price is negotiable.
Negotiation of price and terms. This can involve hundreds of complex interactions such as a customer who uses a bogey as a negotiation tacit.
Looking for discounts and coupons or waiting for a sale.
The process the customer goes through to make the purchase decision.
Identifying reasons that the purchase is smart. For example, a customer who buys an overpriced organic coffee because 5% of proceeds are donated to a charity that sounds worthy.
Selecting the product that you want to buy. For example, finding the size and color combination you require.
Interactions with a shopping cart such as adding items, removing items, applying discounts, viewing shipping charges and tax.
Saying yes to a salesperson to close a deal.
Making a purchase that doesn’t involve negotiation such as a digital purchase.
The process of receiving a purchase confirmation and reviewing it.
Regretting a purchase. This can happen almost immediately for a variety of reasons. For example, a customer who orders a Christmas cake but then remembers they didn’t check if the ingredients on the label were healthy.
An automatic or effortless repurchase of something you have purchased many times such as a consumer who purchases the same coffee supplies every week.
A reevaluation of a product you regularly rebuy. For example, a customer who wants to make a change to organic coffee but isn’t sure.
The end-to-end customer experience encompasses all aspects of using your products and services, including interactions with the product itself (which can be influenced by factors such as design, quality, and usability) and interactions with services, people, and environments. The customer experience may also be affected by the brand culture that develops around your offerings, which may be beyond your control.
Interactions related to your fulfillment of a service. For example, an ecommerce company that delivers packages on time.
The experience of receiving and unboxing the product. For example, electronics in a cardboard box that can be opened effortlessly as opposed to encased in hard plastic that is impossible to open without heavy duty scissors.
How easy the product or service is to learn. For example, a mobile device that feels intuitive from the start.
How much things change such as a mobile device that automatically updates its software and adds new apps you don’t want.
How pleasing and productive a user interface is to use. For example, a touch screen that often doesn’t recognize inputs versus one that does.
The performance of a product or service such as fast software or a slow bus.
Safety related experience such as a lawnmower that doesn’t spit rocks at you.
Look & Feel
The look and feel of products and services. For example, a dessert with a refined look such that it is almost a shame to eat it.
The experience of physical and digital environments such as a hotel lobby or a game world.
Experiences related to the senses such as vision, taste, smell, sound, touch and sensation. For example, a dessert that feels tingly on the tongue.
Service interactions with your staff. A single poor experience in this area can completely turn a customer against your brand.
Products and services that are easy. For example, a customer steps into a grocery store to find dinner and quickly finds a precooked meal to their tastes.
A sense of well-being created by your products and services. For example, a hotel lobby that feels tranquil with pleasant scenes, sounds and smells.
Experiences that customers view as rewarding, deeply meaningful or thrilling. For example, a film that a customer finds to be emotionally moving.
The experience of receiving, reviewing and paying bills. For example, a telecom bill with an incomprehensible list of discounts, subscription fees and usage charges.
Situations that customers view as a problem. For example, a customer of a hotel who notices a smell in the air in their room.
The process of resolving a problem. For example, a service that quickly takes care of problems without customer involvement versus a problem that demands the customer’s time and causes them stress.
Participation refers to when a customer actively engages in activities that benefit your business. Many companies encourage customer participation as it can foster a sense of loyalty and allow customers to feel like they are contributing to the growth of the brand. Participation can also serve as a source of promotion and can help to improve your brand culture and product offerings.
Posting reviews of your products and services.
Recommendations by word of mouth such as social media.
Talking about you in media or social media. This can help to build brand awareness.
Answering questions such as how to do things with your products. For example, a blogger who helps people to configure and customize their mobile devices.
Solving problems such as a customer who identifies a workaround to disable a feature some customers find annoying.
A customer who creates content featuring your product such as an unboxing video.
Contacting you with feedback. For example, identifying a problem with your products such as a software bug. This indicates a customer cares about the product enough to want a fix and is a sign of high loyalty and commitment.
Customers who extend the functionality of your products such as game enthusiast who creates a popular mod.
Some firms engage customers in the design of their products with techniques such as lead users and design competitions.