In today’s competitive market, customers have more choices than ever before. Due to this, keeping prospects engaged through the customer journey all the way to conversion has become more difficult, which is why more brands are choosing to optimize each step of the process. By acting as a helpful guide along the way, you can engage with customers in meaningful ways and create an exceptional customer experience.
With this article, we are going to break down the customer journey and show you how to optimize each part of the process. Our hope is that you will be able to create a well-oiled customer retention machine that brings in new customers and provides value at every point. That being said, let’s first discuss exactly what we mean when we talk about a ‘customer journey.’
What is the customer journey?
Put simply, the customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. However, like customer personas and segmentation, this doesn’t need to be a perfect view, but more of a fictional idea that you can then base decisions off of. That being said, both personas and the customer journey should be based on actual data.
Now that you know what the customer journey is, the next step is to begin mapping out each step of the process. As you do this, you will be able to see things from a large perspective and then focus on each area and how you can offer a better customer experience along the way. If it helps to think of the journey as a funnel, that is perfectly fine, as the same rules apply.
With this image in mind, let’s look at the first part of the journey i.e. the top of the funnel.
Establish a robust online presence
The first step in most of your customer’s journeys will be finding your brand through some form of online advertising. In order to cast the widest possible net or have the largest opening to your funnel, establishing a robust online presence will be a necessity. Thankfully, with the wide array of digital marketing channels available, this has never been easier.
Tools such as social media and having a mobile-friendly website will help make sure that you are making yourself easy to find. You can take this a step further by optimizing your branding so that customers know exactly what you provide and don’t have to look far in order to get in touch. Like we mentioned earlier, part of improving the customer journey is being there to guide them through the process.
Use good design to open the door
As you begin to establish yourself online, more customers will begin to interact with your business. This first impression will be vital to earning their interest and keeping them engaged throughout the customer journey, so invest in good design to open this door. According to BCS, a user’s judgement of the credibility of a brand is 75% based upon aesthetic quality, meaning you should be doing everything you can to improve this.
Not only can well-planned design help make the right first impression, but user experience and customer experience are very closely linked. By employing UX design principles across the customer journey, your customers will understand how best to engage with you. This is one of the best assets for you to have when attempting to earn their business.
Plan out touchpoints
So far, we have spoken about ways to bring in more customers through good design and online marketing. However, once they are on the customer journey, you still have work to do in order to move them forward from a prospect into a customer. Along the way, there will be different touchpoints where you can meet and engage your customers. By planning these out early in the process, you can begin to optimize them for the best performance.
For instance, if a customer takes a next step and requests additional information, you can send them a quick SMS message with the exact info they are looking for. This sort of marketing automation can be the difference between a conversion and letting a lead slip through your fingers. Be sure to look into SMS marketing for providing value to your customers efficiently and effectively at every point.
Take advantage of opportunities
Now, once you have begun to plan out these touchpoints and receive interest from your prospects, make sure that you are taking advantage of these opportunities. Marketing, and mobile marketing in particular, is all about providing the right solution to the right people at the right time.
When customers reach out to you, they want you to impress them by meeting their needs in a timely manner. By not pursuing these opportunities, you are shooting yourself in the foot and missing out on potential revenue.
Another essential part of optimizing the customer journey is to track everything along the way and then use that data to continuously improve the process. User engagement metrics and analytics will be essential here, as many marketers have to alter their approach once they review how customers actually interact with the brand. This is a perfectly normal part of the journey, so don’t worry, just remember that data-based decisions are always recommended.
Convert and sell
The final step in the process is what the whole customer journey has been building up to: converting and ultimately selling them your product or service. The good part is that if you have already optimized the process, this is simply the next logical step. The problem is that far too often brands fumble the ball right here at the goal line. Our advice is simple: ask them for their business.
Unless you are straightforward in asking that they convert, they likely never will. However, by spending time establishing yourself as a helpful guide, this will come from a place of trust and not appear salesly. Whether you do this through email, over the phone, or through calls-to-action is not necessarily important. You just need to remember to take the chance and ask them to join. If your customer journey is working, they won’t have an issue saying yes.
As a business owner trying to lay out your customer retention strategy, it can feel as if losing or retaining customers is out of your control. Our hope is that by reading through this guide, you will be able to have a better understanding of both the process and your control over it.
Remember, this is going to be a constant quest to better the experience of your customers, so as long as you are working on it, you are on the right track. Now, what are you waiting for? Start optimizing today!
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