Everything you need to know about the connection between customer journey and customer experience.
What is the customer journey?
The relationship a brand creates with a customer is an entire journey of emotions, moments and experiences all wrapped into one that can implant the brand deep in the customer’s heart. The customer journey takes place over a prolonged period of time, during which customers undergo a full, complex process that leaves them with various experiences and emotions about the brand. The goal of the brand is clear: to strengthen in every way possible the desire among customers to visit, buy and become loyal ambassadors for the brand.
The customer journey begins at the moment customers are first exposed to the brand, and continues through multiple stages, including the purchase and even after. It takes place across different points of contact during which customer interact with the brand – in digital and traditional media, out on the street, in your stores or websites, by email, in text messages and even at home after they make a purchase. If you’ve created a successful journey, customers will show loyalty and purchase from you again in the future.
What’s the difference between the customer journey and customer experience?
Customer journey and customer experience are two different, but intertwined principles. While the customer journey is the path a customer takes with your brand, the customer experience is the impression, the emotion and the experience customers are left with after each point of interaction.
How do you build a customer journey?
The key to establishing a successful customer journey is to try and understand the path that customers take with your brand, from initial awareness to retention. How does your first point of interaction look? Where will you interact the next time? What are your options? And how does your brand appear at every one of these stages and beyond? This is a significant challenge as a customer journey can develop in several different directions and different customers behave in different ways. A typical customer journey includes steps that are also a part of the marketing funnel, including awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention, and it is always in motion between different platforms (both online and offline), but it looks different for every business.
After building the customer journey, the next step is to think about the customer experience your brand is providing at every point of interaction.
What is the customer experience?
The customer experience is made up of all the emotions that customers are left with after interacting with your brand, both digital and physical. If you’ve done good work along the way, the customer’s impression of your brand will be positive and maybe even more: as a brand, you can create affection and a sense of belonging to gain ambassadors and enjoy other benefits that go beyond making a sale.
What impacts the customer journey?
Everything you can think of and much more. It begins with the messages that you communicate to customers at every point of interaction, but also everything in between. For example, the way a sale is conducted, the words you choose to use as a brand in conversations with customers and even the way you view your brand’s relationship with your customers, whether it is expressly stated on communicated between the lines. Beyond that, there are many other aspects that aren’t always in your control.
What’s important to understand is that every phase of the process has an impact on the overall experience of the customer. Accordingly, focusing on certain parts of it and neglecting the others is a mistake.
How do you create a positive customer experience?
The keyword is emotion. Throughout the entire journey, use messages that leave customers with the right feeling (one that matches your target audience obviously) and at the same time, you should take any action necessary to create circumstances that encourage that feeling with the goal being maximum control of the parameters. Platforms like Amazon, for example, specialize in creating a perfect customer journey by maintaining complete control of every aspect of the process, even those that turn out to be independent of them.
Creating a customer experience that as close as possible to perfection requires that you pay careful attention to detail, become more sensitive, get to know your target audience and that you invest significant amounts of time and resources, even in places you wouldn’t normally think of. One of the ways to make that happen is to allow part of your marketing budget this issue from the very beginning.
How to write a customer journey
In order to write a successful customer journey, is best to leave as little as possible to chance. That’s why the goal is to write the entire script ahead of time while paying as much attention to detail as possible. It’s advised that you write a few scripts for different audiences or to try and define every point of interaction with the customer in depth by asking yourself questions like:
- Where is the interaction taking place? Telephone, email etc.
- What led the customer to you and what will be the next point of interaction?
- Who is speaking to the customer? Is it an ad, a bot or a human representative?
- What does the customer expect to receive or encounter at this point of interaction?
- How can you transcend this expectation?
- What principles and emotions do you want to communicate at this stage?
- Is this a physical meeting?
- How do you look or how are you perceived from the point of view of the customer at a specific point in time?
- What technical difficulties or otherwise are likely to arise?
- Can you also create expectation? Consideration? Can you communicate your principles entirely at any point in this process?
- If you’re delivering something, do you want to add anything? What will you write?
Afterward, the success of each point of interaction is measured by statistics and surveys so that you can adjust quickly.
Good customer experience is meant to achieve much more than sales. It is meant to create loyal customers with a connection to your brand that will make them think of you and want to have further interaction with you. Exactly like courtship, you want to make your customers fall in love with you and seek you out themselves. That way you’ll have to invest less in sales and finding new customers and you’ll be able to focus on improving your product to create strong and stable brand overtime – one based on providing true value and not on empty messages.