Customer Journey

Increasing business success with an optimized Customer Journey

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Customer satisfaction is the goal of every company and mostly the task of product managers and marketers. Only when the customer is satisfied with a product or service can you expect them to return or recommend it to others. That's why the user experience is more important today than ever before - and from the first contact to the end of the product lifecycle. Track your customers' individual contacts through all stages of the customer journey and draw valuable information from them.

Here you can find out what exactly the customer journey is, how mapping works for individual touch points and how you, as the person responsible in large companies, can benefit from our solutions in all phases of the product life cycle.

What is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey describes the contacts of a customer (touch points) with a brand, a product or a service in its various phases.

In today's common models, not only the actual purchase process plays a role, but also the consideration of the touch points of the post-purchase phase. Thus, the analysis of the customer journey can be used, on the one hand, classically for the recognition and use of potentials for the acquisition of new customers and, on the other hand, to evaluate and sustainably improve the entire relationship of a company with the customer.

Which customer journey model is best suited for my company?

Various models can be used in customer journey analysis, whereby all models have their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is important to define the exact interest in knowledge in advance in order to be able to select a suitable model. Therefore, you should decide in advance whether you want to look at the purchase process alone or also the post-purchase phase. This will then lead to the selection of the appropriate customer journey model for you and you can begin with the analysis.

The AIDA model

The AIDA model is said to have been described for the first time as early as 1898 by advertising pioneer Elmo Lewis and is thus considered the first advertising effectiveness model. To this day, it is one of the basic principles of marketing and is used, for example, for customer journey analyses. This is because the four phases of the AIDA model allow the potential buying process of a potential customer to be traced in detail.

The four phases of the AIDA model:

  1. ATTENTION: Attract the attention of the potential customer. This step can be done through various types of advertising, both online and offline. But the goal is always the same: to arouse interest so that the customer will take a closer look at the product or service on offer.
  2. INTEREST: To increase the customer's interest in the product or service. As soon as the customer becomes more closely involved with the areas of application and the benefits of the product or service on offer, the advertising measures and content provided can be designed in a more targeted manner.
  3. DESIRE: Encourage the customer to buy. The desire is awakened in the customer to make use of the service presented or to buy the product. This happens via an intensive discussion and catchy advertising promises or information about the product, which convince the customer.
  4. ACTION: The customer buys the product. The last step of the AIDA model reflects the final action of the customer, i.e. his purchase.

The AIDA model thus represents the most important four phases of a classic customer journey. This strategy is particularly helpful when building marketing strategies that start from individual contact points and are represented as a funnel.

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Weaknesses of the AIDA model

In the classic AIDA model, the focus is on the company and less on the customer perspective. Therefore, some marketing strategies cannot be implemented in the best possible way. In addition, the customer journey in this model necessarily ends with a purchase and thus excludes the specific characteristics of existing customers as well as their influence on new customers. Thus, it is more a theory of the purchase decision process, i.e. a Buyer Journey, than a Customer Journey.

 

The classic 5-step model


The classic 5-step model builds on the AIDA model, but also takes into account the touch points in the post-purchase phase. Particularly in our industries, we sometimes have only a few points of contact with potential customers. It is therefore particularly important here to use all possible touch points, including in the post-purchase phase, and to shape them positively through successful digital customer communication.

The 5 steps of the customer journey model:

  1. AWARENESS: The customer becomes aware of the product through well-placed advertising or recommendations.
  2. CONSIDERATION: There is an initial interest, which is why the customer finds out more about the product.
  3. PURCHASE: The customer makes a purchase decision.
  4. RETENTION: The customer gains experience with the product/service and forms an opinion. In this phase, companies must ensure that customers do not lose interest by communicating specifically with existing customers. Retention can also be targeted in difficult situations such as reminders or collection procedures.
  5. ADVOCACY: After targeted retention, the customer becomes a regular customer and recommends the brand, service or product to others.

For the analysis of the customer journey, the 5-step model therefore means a sustainable preparation of all possible touch points. By intensifying customer contact in the post-purchase phase, the opportunity arises not only for satisfied regular customers, but also for new customers who are won through recommendation.

How does customer journey mapping work?

Tracking and CRM systems as well as web analytics tools make it possible to collect and assign digital and otherwise recordable contacts. This is then used to develop a model that looks at either the current or the future customer journey. The starting point is buyer personas, which represent ideal-typical customers and their motivations for individual actions. Based on the collected and often also purchased data, the purchase decision process of the individual personas can be modeled and the touch points of the various target groups with the brand, product or service can be derived. With the help of this data basis, the individual points of the customer journey can be evaluated in relation to the individual company goals and, if necessary, improved and expanded.

Customer Journey Mapping Objectives:

  • Understand customers better
  • Identify issues that negatively impact the purchase decision process or customer satisfaction. This includes, for example, actively preventing a change of provider
  • Develop, test, and measure approaches to solving the problems uncovered

The B2B Customer Journey

The technical revolution does not stop at the B2B sector. The information monopoly that classic B2B salespeople had no longer exists, analogously to the B2C business. This means that competing information can usually be obtained by the target group just as quickly and easily as in the B2C sector. In the B2B sector, too, it is worth analyzing the customer journey with a similar mapping as for B2C business. The difference here lies in the specific touch points and needs, which must take into account not only the personal level but also the integration into an organization. The advantage of a B2B customer journey analysis: Often, "classic sales people" are still available, whose experience can be incorporated into the analysis in addition to the primarily quantitatively collected data.

A customer journey analysis is therefore not only worthwhile for the classic B2C sector, but also for the B2B sector and also enables comprehensive data collection here with the aim of uncovering problems on the company side, which then need to be rectified for an optimized customer journey.

Smart payment solutions for a positive user experience

Digitalization offers opportunities and potential to optimize the customer journey. But it has also irreversibly changed the way we communicate with customers. Expectations are different today than they were just a few years ago, and customers no longer want to be contacted in the traditional way by phone or mail, but above all where they are most often: On the Internet.

 
Value-oriented customer management is therefore more important than ever before. Although simplified systems make customer relationships easier to manage, they are also more anonymous. Digital and automated processes simultaneously reduce effort and costs and ensure greater customer satisfaction. This is because many concerns can be processed much faster than before. Instead of waiting in a telephone loop as in the past, customers can pass on their concerns via chatbot, e-mail or text message, for example, and thus expect faster processing. And bills are also increasingly being paid digitally, for example by smartphone.

Because payment behavior has also changed, payment reminders must also change. Today's customers expect smart payment solutions and a seamless payment experience, even in the dunning process. In this way, you create a positive user experience even in delicate phases of communication. A true win-win situation.

What's next? The future of the customer journey

If you look at the development of the cornerstones of a customer journey analysis, it is clear that the further diversification of the media and communication landscape will ensure that the customer journey will be even more individualized in the future. In addition, with Machine Learning and Big Data approaches, companies have tools at their disposal to help make sense of ever larger volumes of data.

Furthermore, Data Scientists will become even more integral parts of Sales and Marketing departments, multiplying the accuracy of data processing and analysis. The individualization of the customer journey can therefore be countered with personalization of communication with the customer (as far as the GDPR allows) and thus have a positive impact on the customer's buying behavior.