Customer journey is a process customers go through to become aware of a product or service, evaluate it, and finally buy it. It’s a way of understanding what it is that motivates them – their NEEDS, their hesitations about buying, and their worries on the way to buying a product or service. (more on HubSpot)
With this topic, we are continuing our story from our blog post Buyer’s personas. After identifying your desired customers, now it’s time to take them on a journey. You will be in their shoes and trying to understand all the steps they will need to take. From understanding that they have a need, to buying your product/service and celebrating you as a lifesaver. Read more about understanding customers here.
Customer journey stages
Although the buyers’ journey can have multiple stops along the road, in general, we divide it across 5 stages:
During the Awareness, you will focus on the point in time your customer is realising their need. The moment they experience pain and start to look for the solution. This is the stage at which they are doing the basic research – what options do they have, what they need to consider, who can provide the solution.
Although the title here is Awareness, the focus is on exploration on the customer side. For you, this means good SEO, advertising on Google, strong content around product-specific topics, generation of awareness of your brand.
In the Consideration stage, we already got the attention of the customer. They are now usually considering multiple options on the table. Customers have few solutions, different vendors, need to evaluate the costs and benefits. Here brand reputation plays a role as you will be directly bidding against the competition.
Apart from that – the price usually plays a big role. If you can show your product/service as an investment that will pay back in the long run either through gained productivity or a decrease in spending you are close to winning. Content plays a big role here as well. You can offer the customer a demo experience of the product, give them a trial period. Also, think about creating a calculator making it easier for customers to understand the final price they will pay and everything they will be getting back in return.
An additional advantage here would be to create a comparative list. Comparing your product and the main competitors to showcase superiority – if you have it.
Your acquisition phase will depend on the type of customer and the sales strategy you have set up in chapter 3. In case you decided on the self-service model, this is the point where your customer will be exploring the pricing options available and clicking through your checkout process. It is important that at this stage you do not overload them with any information that will avert them from payment.
Everything that they see here needs to be already available before. All the expenses, all the limits, and limitations. Decided to go for a more complex sales model? Your sales teams will, by now, join in on the party and discuss all the buying options on the table. Acquisition ends with either a sale or a bust.
The service part is when you come to recognise the need for consumption. As you are building a SaaS, the most important lesson you will learn is that a customer who is not using a product stops paying for the same. By now, your customer has completed the purchase and is keen to start using the product or service.
Customers need a fast onboarding on all the options they have, how to use the product, how to set it up, and kill the growing pain. You will need to focus on how to provide this educate them in an easy and fast way.
Also, you have to create a set of materials, emails, calls to make sure they are using all the features of your product and that the product is giving back the value.
Once you have reached the loyalty stage – you’ve made it. Now, your product is working for you. Your customer is super happy about the solution. They have experienced re-birth and they gained enough value from you to consider this as a worthy investment and not just a one-time payment.
Try to make it easy for them to recommend you to your other potential customers. Call them and ask for statements. See if you can make a case study of how they increased their business with your solution. For a self-service model, think about the referral scheme – will they be able to provide a discount to new users or do you want to give them some kind of cash-back once their referees make a purchase.
Think about 3 things, for all the stages:
- What is your customer thinking?
- What is your customer feeling?
- What can you do to make them feel WOW, to surprise them, and make their life easier?
What do you get from creating a customer journey?
The purpose of creating customer journey is to understand what customers are going through, so that we can improve their user experience, thus ensuring a flawless experience on all the channels we use.
Other benefits of creating a customer journey:
- It helps to solve certain obstacles when buying
- It helps build and increase conversion rates
- It gives a better understanding of the way customers go through each phase of the cycle
- It gives us valuable feedback on what brings back existing customers to buy from us again
In order to help the customer make a decision, it is necessary to develop a trusting relationship based on content and important information you will offer to your potential customer. The customer will trust you once she realises she has received all necessary information from you in one place.