Creating a better brand experience by understanding the customer journey
Think about the last time you bought something online. There would have been several points in your journey to purchasing. You would have gone from thinking about buying that thing to clicking 'buy,' having it delivered to your home and then enjoying the product, plus many more steps in between.
Now think about how each of those moments felt. Was it effortless to find the thing you were looking for once you'd decided? Did you have any issues paying for the item? How was the shipping process? Did it arrive no worries, or did you have to redirect it three times before you received it? And when it was finally delivered, did the packaging wow you?
At the end of all this, would you purchase from that brand again? Or did one of these moments put you off engaging with them anymore?
If you had experienced just one of those trying moments and were considering avoiding that brand in the future, you wouldn't be alone. 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
When it comes to your own business, it is vital to consider every step in your customer or client's journey. Understanding their journey and tailoring solutions to improve it, ensures that you can avoid bad experiences, provide wow moments, and increase brand retention.
What are the benefits of better brand experiences?
Understanding your customers' journey is beneficial to both your brand and your bottom line.
Here are some stats for ya if you don't believe me. A 95% profit increase can come from only a 5% increase in customer retention (Bain.com,) and it costs six times more to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one (Paul W. Farris et al.) Looking after your customers and ensuring that they have a seamless experience that leaves them wanting more is the best way to keep them around. And keeping them around is the best way to getting your hands on that 95% profit increase! Boom.
Even though the dollars definitely help when it comes to investing in making a change, there's more to better brand experiences than just financial gain.
Wowing your customers along their journey with your business will leave them wanting more, shouting your praise, and motivating others around your mission. They'll be snapping pics, sharing stories, and hashtagging till the cows come home! This all results in higher brand awareness and loyalty – both things we all strive for!
Mapping out the customer journey
Okay, so now you know why this is important, I'm sure you're wondering how to make it happen, and I've got you covered. What you need is a customer journey map.
Pinpoint your people
First and foremost, this whole exercise is about the customer, so we need to know who they are and keep them front of mind throughout. If you haven't already got one, create a persona of your customer and think about their demographics, psychographics, geographics, and behaviours. Having a clear picture of who they are will help you to understand how they will move through their journey and what that experience will be like for them in particular.
Choose a challenge
You can create a customer journey map for their whole journey with your business, but what's more useful is breaking the journey down into specific experiences. From here, you can create a design challenge for each one, and map them out individually.
For example, say you own a clothing company – you could map out the whole journey, or you could just focus on how customers find your products. Then you can use the journey map to answer the design challenge, 'how might we help customers easily find, select and purchase our products?'
Further reading: IDEO – Frame Your Design Challenge
Outline the timeline
The first step in creating your map is to think about the pivotal moments in the customer's journey. Let's use the example above to think this through.
Perhaps the customer sees a product in a sponsored post on Instagram, they click through to your profile, then to your website, and then select the product before purchasing. Here stage 1 might be 'Browsing Instagram,' followed by 'Instagram Profile,' 'Website Product Page,' 'Product Selection,' and 'Purchase.'
These stages make up the timeline for this experience.
Brainstorm the experience
At each stage of the process, your customer will complete actions, experience a range of feelings, uncover questions, encounter pain points, and have their desired outcome in mind. Here you can brainstorm these and understand precisely what they might think, feel, say or do at each stage.
Identify the opportunities
After brainstorming the journey of your customer, you will be able to identify areas of improvement and opportunities for you to either ease a pain point or take an okay moment to the next level.
For example, if they struggle to find a product from your Instagram profile, you might set up 'Shopping on Instagram' to make this super straightforward. And if finding the product on your site is already pretty easy, you could add an extra feature that wows them and makes the selection process even better!
Creating a better brand experience
In the end, understanding the customer journey will help you create a better brand experience. Better brand experiences will result in better brand retention, and this is the magic you need to increase revenue, loyalty, and ultimately, your impact.