What is the Customer Journey?
Understanding the customer journey process is crucial to identify any errors or problems your customers may be experiencing upon enticing your store or visiting your website. Mapping your customer journey will allow you to identify where these errors are and how to better improve the customer experience.
How do you map the customer journey online?
Mapping the customer journey involved mapping out different scenarios that your customers are likely to encounter upon visiting your online website. To do this, it will require some background research, you will need to look at the process from the customers POV.
An excellent tool for this is using Google Analytics. If you’re having trouble identifying where customers are leaving your page and why, the best place to start is having a look at the behaviour section of google analytic, from there you can select “exit pages” this will show you what pages your customers are leaving after.
The ideal scenario will see your customers leaving after finding the information they required or making a purchase. However, this is often not the case. Another analytical tool designed to indicate any site-issues would be the Bounce Rate.
The overall bounce rate will tell you how long a user spends on your website, however an overall bounce rate will not likely tell you much, to identify any key issues that need addressing you will have to look at the bounce rate for the individual pages.
This should give you an understanding of where customers start to develop issues.
These issues could include…
Lack of quality content
Low quality page speed
Understanding bounce rate simply means, the higher the bounce rate the lower performing the site. With the overall goal for the bounce rate to be low, indicated a smooth running site.
The other form of research required to understand customer behaviour is more difficult to acquire, it requires time and effort, you’ll need to establish a way of gaining customer thought insights, such as a survey,or reviews.
You could do this through asking customers to provide feedback after they leave your site, after order purchase or through push notifications asking them to leave a review on social media pages.
It would also be useful to liaise with customer service representatives, discover the issues that are being brought up with them.
Having this research is important to identify the different factors that may play a part in the customer journey.
Examples of Online Customer Journey.
David is considering buying a new coat, He knows he wants a black raincoat, so he begins searching online for Mens black rain coats. Your website comes up towards the top of the page results, advertising mens black rain coats. Upon entering your site David is presented with a professional and easily navigated website. He’s able to navigate his way through the different styles of raincoats available with simplicity. David is also greeted by an online consultant offering any help, David suggests what he is looking for and is directed to the perfect black rain coat. The checkout process is easy and hassle free. David is happy with his service and leaves a good review on your website, he also signed up to become part of a newsletter to which he will receive further promotional offers. David is now a loyal customer who from his customer journey associated your website with an easy-hassle free approach to buying clothes. He will likely spread his positive experience with others, potentially leading to other customers.
The website’s design, the Customer advisors and the hassle-free approach all led to David feeling positive about his purchase and led him to Brand loyalty, which can create a returning customer. So that when the promotional offers are issued David is likely to visit the site again.
However, if the website was slow and not appealing. Had the customer advisors been no help and had the transaction process been frustrating, it is likely that David would not be considering a re-purchase. David could potentially spread negative word-of-mouth turning other potential customers away from your brand.
Customer Journeys VS Customer Experience
The customer experience is the overall thoughts and feelings about the whole process whereas the customer journey is the representation of touchpoints a customer engages with.
Customer Journey Mapping includes the following 5 stages:
Awareness – Exposure to your brand through advertisements or word of mouth.
Consideration – Customer conducts search, through online and social media posts, or visiting directly to websites.
Purchase- Customer makes the online purchase/ Customer makes an instore purchase.
Service – Customer has access to customer advice, social posts or chat that can answer questions or answer reviews.
Loyalty– Customers receive special offers through newsletters and loyalty programs.
Whereas the Customer experience only includes the following 3 stages
Essentially it isn’t choosing which Map to produce (journey or experience) it’s conducting the journey map to better understand the experience map. Your customer journey map will discover how your customers are interacting with your website, what problems they are facing and analysing this data with amendments will lead to the ideal customer experience.
Once you are able to understand how one benefits the other, it isn’t the case of a single job completed, but more of a constantly updated map. You would ideally like to discover the issues before the majority of your customers do so.