As we begin a New Year, I always recommend to my coaching clients to take a look at their customer journey. What does it look like and can it be improved? If you run a business, and you’re looking to improve sales and build your brand or business, you should consider looking at your customer journey and think about what your customers go through while doing business with you. Why? Because unless you’re keeping your customer in mind every step of the way, you could be missing out.

So what do I mean by your customer journey? Think of the customer journey as a roadmap detailing how a customer becomes aware of your business, their interactions with your product and services and beyond.

The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your business, product, services and staff. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey maps out the full experience of being a customer.

Getting to know the customer journey is about nurturing the customer experience. To get a better sense of the customer journey, let’s get inside your customer’s mindset. And we’ll (DING) you every time you have an opportunity to explore, understand, and improve the experience.

Here is a customer journey example:

Your potential customer is looking  to go shopping downtown. She calls your store (DING) to check your hours. The call is answered after 2 rings (DING)  and she speaks to a friendly person (DING). She arrives at your store by identifying your storefront and signage (DING). She walks in and sees the the layout of your store (DING). Your employee greets her (DING), thanks her for coming in (DING) and offers her help (DING). The employee is also friendly (DING) and very knowledgeable about the product (DING) and helps her pick out an attractive pair of shoes (DING) that’s good quality (DING).

Your new customer is assured that if she does change her mind about her purchase, she’s able to return the shoes, no questions asked (DING). You collect her email address for future promotions (DING). Later in the day, your customer tweets a picture of her new shoes and mentions your store (DING). She even recommends your store on yelp.com (DING), as she’s feeling loyal toward your business (DING). A couple of weeks later, you send her a promotional email (DING) that offers her a special loyal customer discount (DING) and reminds her of your business and its core promise message (DING).

That’s just one scenario. And, unfortunately, if you’re not paying attention or trying to understand the customer mindset, you may be selling your business short. If the customer has a frustrating experience while shopping in your store (couldn’t find the product, the staff was rude, etc.), this matters and goes into how she will associate your business. If the customer wants to purchase the product again, she may consider going to a competitor’s store where the staff is friendlier or the store is better organized. Worse yet, she may say negative things about your business or store, using word of mouth to recommend people to shop elsewhere.

Yikes! Now you can see why it’s important to pay attention to how customers experience your business every step of the way. You can do this simply by mapping out the customer journey–or creating a customer journey map.

How To Create a Customer Journey Map?

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Take out a pen and paper. You’re going to sketch out a map (or timeline) that lays out every stage of the customer experience, just as I did above. These stages are customer touchpoints–basically any time a customer comes in contact with your business. You can get as specific as you’d like. Also,  remember to ask your staff to get involved and help put the map together.

What are customer touchpoints?

A touchpoint is any time a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your business–before, during, or after they purchase something from you. Identifying your touchpoints is the first step toward creating a customer journey map, and making sure your customers are happy every step of the way. Your customer touchpoints create the experience.

After mapping out the touchpoints in the customer journey, step back and see how they all fit together. Knowing your touchpoints is only half the battle. To improve customer satisfaction, you need to make sure each touchpoint leads to a good customer experience, and that the journey as a whole delivers or exceeds your customers’ expectations.

Are there any obstacles the customer might experience along the way? Are any of the touchpoints missing or underserved? Is it clear for the customer how to resolve potential issues in the transaction?

Once you establish this map of the customer journey, you’ll be able to evaluate the experience and make improvements where necessary. Always put the customer’s needs first. Always! Smoothing out the touchpoints on the entire transaction with the customer in mind, will improve customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

If any of your touchpoints are unclear, you can always survey your customers to find out how they came across your business, how they felt during and after the transaction and what could be improved.

So take the time into understanding your customer journey and go through the process of documenting every time customers interact with your business. This exercise will help you see where you can make improvements and show you how to make every customer experience in 2021 a Magical one.

Need help in mapping out your customer journey? Contact Coach John Today and schedule a FREE Strategy Session Call at info@johnformica.com.