Customer journeys are becoming increasingly complex with a growing number of touch points across various different platforms, channels and devices. Staying on top of these interactions is becoming a far greater challenge for many organisations especially with a growing competitive market. Each interaction with a customer plays an important role in the overall user journey and mapping these interactions across your overall customer journey will enable you to understand how and where your customers are currently interacting with your brand. Gaining this insight allows you to optimise each area of the customer journey to align your products and services to your customer needs.
In this article we will cover:
A customer journey can be defined as a combined set of actions and interactions between a brand and its customer when buying any product or service. From discovery all the way through to purchase and onwards, the user journey considers all touch points across the entire customer lifecycle and beyond. While the interactions are a key consideration of the customer journey, how these interactions resonate with customers is vitally important and gaining an understanding of this will allow you to respond with more agility and create positive experiences with your customers across the customer journey.
Any interaction can be considered a touch point across the customer journey from a phone call, in store interaction, company website, purchasing online, social media, customer service bots, delivery and even after sales support. Having excellent service in one or two of these areas in only half the battle, with many brands losing out to competitors as a result of poor experiences with certain touch points across a business causing customers to go elsewhere. Consistently improving each area of your customer journey will ensure you build a loyal customer base and better understand your customers needs to adapt your offering to suit.
Each point throughout the customer journey represents a particular stage along the timeline from a customer finding out about your product or service (discovery stage) to the after purchase engagement from the customer (engagement stage). The five customer journey stages include discovery, interest, intent, purchase and engagement.
At the very start of the journey is the discovery stage, where a customer discovers your product, service or even just your brand in general. Most importantly at this stage brands can begin to discover the way in which customers are discovering their brand whether it be through search, social media, referrals or even by advertising. This will allow you to understand which methods are working and which are not allowing you to optimise your strategy and the ways potential customers can find you.
At the interest stage, the customer now begins to show signs of real interest in your brand by going beyond the typical discovery stage and searching for more specific information and insight beyond that of typical browsing. This may be looking at a specific style of product or a specific range of products which can be identified as an interest to the customer. Obtaining insights into the customer journey interest stage will allow you to optimise the customer experience to help reduce drop off rates and encourage browsing, searching and further investigation into your products/services.
When the intention to buy is shown, a customer then progresses to the intent stage of the user journey. But, this doesn’t mean you’re there just yet, this could be a customer adding your product to a wishlist, their basket or even reading more in depth information such as delivery options or returns policies. At this stage in the customer journey, organisations must ensure that the messaging being received by the customer is aligned across all channels and touchpoints they interact with to ensure the highest possibility of the following through to purchase.
So now a customer has been convinced to purchase your product for the first time, it is now time to begin to understand how the sale was achieved, what worked well for these customers and how this can be replicated in order to drive loyalty and advocacy throughout your customer base. Although you have achieved the goal of converting a customer, marketing activity here is crucial to provide a complete and long lasting customer journey by aligning messaging and activity to appeal to these converted customers to buy again and again.
Engagement is a crucial stage of a customer journey, with the stage not only being used to drive loyalty after purchase but to also drive advocacy from your customer base. Getting current customers to actively promote your brand through reviews, social media and even by referring customers to your ecommerce store is the final piece of the puzzle in the customer journey and will allow your brand to drive more potential customers through as a result.
Mapping each stage and the interactions throughout your customer journey will enable your brand to better understand how and where your customers are interacting with your ecommerce store and brand in general. Mapping each stage of the user journey allows you to gain invaluable insight into these areas allowing you to optimise each stage to drive more customers through each stage and convert more users into loyal customers which strongly advocate your brand after purchase.
Organisations can begin to understand and dive deeper into how customers are using their site by identifying different user groups, how they interact with their site and how these behaviours can be shaped by implementing different measures throughout your ecommerce site. The behaviour flow report can provide you with insight into the burning questions commonly left unanswered regarding user behaviour such as:
The behaviour flow report can be found in Google Analytics and provides an in depth overview of the different journeys and behaviour carried out across your site which begins with the landing page a user finds and then the proceeding steps taken after they land on your site. This report can be broken down to provide insight into a variety of different users including new visitors and returning visitors to distinguish the differences between these user groups and how they behave.
The value in knowing this information comes when evaluating where you need to improve your site to effectively drive more conversions across your site. Is a particular page leading to large volumes of traffic dropping off your site? Do customers abandon their cart during the checkout page? Do users get stuck on a particular part of your website? Uncovering these answers are the key to improving your customer journey and shopping experience.
The Top Conversion Path report in Google Analytics provides an overview of the unique conversion paths which summarises the different journeys users are taking and includes the sequences of each channel interactions made by the user which led them to converting and purchasing a product, while also showing the value of each of those conversion paths to determine the most effective ways to drive value.
Customising the report to search for ‘Display’ or ‘Landing Page’ provides further insight into the actual content, advertisements or pages being interacted with and which ones result in a higher amount of conversions overall. This allows you to understand which channels and marketing activity needs to be optimised further and which are working for your brand. For example you can uncover how many people clicked on an AD, visited a page and later converted on the site.
The report can also be customised to provide valuable insight into how users are finding your site and the combination of different paths they take to converting (buying a product) throughout each interaction with your website. Whether it be through search, social media, direct links or even referral traffic from other sites. This information can provide insight into how well your marketing activity is performing and will enable you to make improvements to areas such as your SEO strategy to increase the number of visitors over time.
This report is a great place to start uncovering insight before deciding to stop certain types of marketing activity or even before removing certain pages/content from your site which may be contributing to your overall conversions.
Having access to the data and insights about your users enables you to make more strategic decisions about changes and actions you take across your site. Data and insights should inform your next move and be based on real life interactions taken across your site to provide you with the best possible course of action to achieve your desired goals and improve your ecommerce customer journey.
Making choices without the data to back it up will only leave your digital strategy reliant on presumed actions taken by your users which could not only result in making changes which have little to no effect on your conversion rate, but may also negatively impact your conversions and other metrics. Including your bottom line.
Data will provide you with a complete overview of your customer journey and where it is performing positively and negatively. This allows you to mould your ecommerce journey to suit your users needs more accurately, adjusting it to accommodate their favourite channels, devices and touch points across the entire journey while improving content and pages across your site to reduce drop off rates and lost users.
Box UK are experts in gaining and understanding insight into your user behaviour across websites and mobile applications through a range of collaborative and data gathering techniques which uncover user behaviour down to the finest detail to identify areas for improvement and attention.
Understanding the insights is the first step in improving your customer experience, Box UK goes beyond that by actively creating and mapping adjustments which align to your goals and metrics by implementing changes across your site to align with your customer needs.
1. Set defined goals and objectives for the customer journey map
2. Identify key personas and target audiences
3. Define stages throughout your customer journey
4. List all touchpoints with customers
5. Gather the data and feedback
6. Find key pain points and important areas of the customer journey
7. Identify areas for improvement
To create a customer journey map, there are a variety of steps which need to be taken to create a wholly defined and effective map of your customer journey which informs and provides insight. Firstly you should define your key customer personas, then analyse any data you have collected about your customers, identify your key touchpoints with customers, map out these interactions along a journey which showcases the key routes to purchase for each of your personas.
A journey map is a visual representation of the process and steps taken by an individual in order to accomplish a given goal for your business, for example purchasing a product from your online store. Journey mapping sets out a series of events and actions taken by a user across a given timeline.
A customer journey map should incorporate each and every touchpoint with a customer where they interact with your brand. This can include any marketing activity, sales activity and customer touchpoints such as a website, phone call, email, social media and any other place an interaction with your brand takes place. A customer journey should also map out customers’ thoughts and feelings throughout the journey in relation to the actions they are taking at each stage while also introducing KPIs to ensure the effectiveness of your customer experience and journey to purchase.
To create a user journey map, you must firstly: