Customer Journey describes the stages a customer goes through before deciding on the purchase of a service or a product.
A Customer Journey can last from minutes to weeks to months – depending on the product or service.
The term Customer Journey originated in marketing. There are a number of models that describe the individual steps on a Customer Journey Map. This is always done from the customer’s point of view. The aim is to accompany the customer on the journey towards making an enquiry, purchase or placing an order. Along this journey, the customer always has touchpoints with the product or service. Touchpoints can be defined as any type of contact points that point the customer to the product or service. The way the touchpoints are organised influences the customer’s purchase decision.
A Customer Journey Map generally consists of at least five phases. The phases describe the process from initial interest in the product or service, to purchase and to customer loyalty.
Example of a Customer Journey:
In phase 1, the customer should be made aware of the product or service. Possible touchpoints are ads in newspapers or on TV.
If interest is sparked, customers start to gather information on the product or service and then compare offers in phase 2. In this phase, possible touchpoints are customer service in a store or a visit to the website.
If phase 2 was successful, the purchase is finalised in phase 3. A physical store or an online shop are the most important touchpoints during this phase. The vendor should use this phase to offer other products from their product range, for example, shoe polish to go with newly purchased shoes.
In phase 4, the customer expects a quick delivery of the product. This is also where the testing phase begins. If the product does not meet the customer’s expectations, impeccable customer service is expected, such as a money-back guarantee.
The aim of phase 5, the final phase, is to establish customer retention. The customer should have a good purchase experience and buy further products/services. Typical touchpoints include recommendations to family or friends and on review portals.
If all five phases are carefully planned by the company and the touchpoints are correctly organised, the Customer Journey will be successful for both the customer and the company.
Example Customer Journey