Key Concepts for Understanding the Customer Journey

The customer journey is a marketing term used to describe how a consumer interacts with your brand. Interaction starts before someone is even a customer and ideally, ends with them telling others about how wonderful your brand is.

This level of brand loyalty is not secured with the wave of a magic wand; it’s earned through positive customer experiences. How do you get your customers to fall in love with your brand and share that love with others? We’re glad you asked. AtKaizen, we believe that only after we’ve “walked a mile in their shoes,” can we really pave the way for our clients to have the best customer journey possible.

Before embarking on the customer journey (an activity referred to as customer journey mapping or user experience mapping), it’s important to understand where we’re going. The following list captures concepts related to the customer journey we feel are most important to understand.

  • Context. It’s important to consider the setting in which the user is interacting with your brand — where the user is, what’s around them, and what external factors might be impacting their experience.
  • Customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping is a tool for capturing the journey of the user as a story or scenario from the customer’s perspective. This can be done either through a written narrative or a graphical representation of what’s happening at each step (that is, the various points at which the user is interacting with your brand).
  • Flow. The progression from one step to the next in a customer’s journey; from beginning to end, and across all channels. For example, how the user transitions from the brand awareness stage to the learning stage.
  • Pain points. There are two different kinds of pain points that must be addressed when mapping the customer journey. There are pain points that can trigger the beginning of the journey (for example, seeking a new product or service to solve the pain point of limited time in a busy lifestyle), and the pain points that can pop up during the journey — a challenging experience with the checkout process on a website, for example.
  • Personas. Personas are a great marketing tool used to represent the various customer segments likely to interact with your brand. It’s important to run through the customer journey for each persona type because experiences will differ from group to group.
  • Perspective. Developing a customer journey map internally provides a limited view. It’s all about looking to the customer to capture input about what it is they want from your brand and how they think it should be obtained.
  • Touchpoint. Touchpoints are instances in which the customer interacts with your brand, and in what way. For example, making a purchase from a home computer versus a mobile device, and learning about a brand via social networking versus finding it via Web search results.
  • User behavior. Considering what the user does and how they act during an interaction with your brand can enhance understanding and improve upon factors such as purchasing decisions and marketing responsiveness.

We hope you find this list of concepts helpful. If you think we missed any important concepts related to the customer journey, we’d love to hear from you — please leave us a comment. Best of luck on creating a successful customer journey within your own organization. Bon voyage!

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