The customer journey is the life cycle of a customer from the time they are first attracted to your product or service, through the sales process and finally into the customer relationship. The journey is important because it provides insight into how you can improve your marketing, sales, and customer service processes.
In order to understand the customer journey you must first understand what a customer is, and how they use your products and services.
What is a Customer?
A customer is an individual who purchases goods or services from you. They may also be referred to as a prospect, lead, or client.
The customer is not the same as a prospect. A prospect has not yet made a purchase. They are still in the research phase of their buying process. They have not made a decision yet.
A prospect is someone who is looking for information about a particular product or service. A prospect does not know that you exist. They do not know who you are or what you have to offer. They do not know if you have the solution to their problem. They don’t even know that you have a product or service that they need.
The customer knows all of these things. They are already familiar with you and your business. They know that you have the answer to their problem. They know that you are the best choice for them. They have decided to buy from you. They are ready to make a purchase.
How Do Customers Use Your Products and Services?
Once customers decide to purchase your product or service they will begin to take steps toward making a purchase. This process is known as the buyer’s journey. It starts with awareness, interest, evaluation, consideration, purchase, and then finally to loyalty.
Awareness: When people first become aware of your product or service they are in the stage of awareness. They are looking for information about your product or service. They are researching. They are looking for solutions to their problems.
Interest: Once they have found the information they want, they are interested in learning more. They want to learn more about your product or service. This is the stage of interest. They are reading articles about your product or service.
Evaluation: After reading the information they want, they will evaluate your product or service against other similar products or services. They will consider purchasing your product or service.
This is the stage of evaluation. They are comparing your product or service to other similar products or services.
Consideration: After evaluating your product or service they will consider purchasing it. They will think about whether or not they should buy from you.
Purchase: Finally, they will purchase your product or service.
They will make a purchase. They will buy from you.
Loyalty: Once they purchase your product or service they are loyal to you. They will come back to you again and again. They will tell others about you and your product or service. They will refer friends and family to you. They will tell others how great you are.
These are the stages of the buyer’s journey. Understanding this process will help you to better understand your customers. You will be able to identify where your customers are at any given time. You will be able to improve your marketing, sales, customer service, and customer retention strategies.