Following the initiative to cover CX basics in a series of articles, CXM talked a lot about the topic of the customer journey in the last couple of months. Today, we further explore the subject and give more details on designing a customer value journey. Continue reading and feel free to reach out to CXM with any questions you might have by the time you finish reading this article!
What is customer value journey?
As you probably know already from our previous publications, the customer journey is a term that stands for a sum of experiences people go through when interacting with your brand. It is a process that includes every single interplay a customer has with a company, from the awareness stage to the purchase and beyond.
Simply put, the customer journey stands for the path a person crosses when looking for products or services to fulfil particular needs. Here, customer value comes into the picture.
Customer value represents the worth of products and services to a customer. It all comes down to pinpointing and fulfilling the customer’s needs with adequate offers that outperform the competition. Therefore, customer value as a term also describes the process of recognizing the things that matter most to customers and delivering them.
At first glance, it might seem that discovering the needs and desires of customers is not a challenging task at all. However, many businesses fail to really walk in their customers’ shoes and perceive things from their perspective. Such a mistake often costs them a lot of profit and quite a large number of customers.
In practical terms, finding the way to customer value is rooted in the customer journey. Following and understanding the path of every single user allows brands to identify customers’ needs, desires, and pain points, and finally, act upon the findings. That’s why we use the term customer value journey to mark the process of attracting and converting prospective customers into buyers.
The main stages of the ultimate CX strategy
Before we get to the practical part of this article, it’s essential to highlight that customers’ paths are not always linear. While today we single out 8 main stages of the customer value journey, every brand should do its own research and calculations. You can read more about this topic here.
Now, let’s explore our main strategic steps that should help you assist your customers on every step of their journey. Here’s what you’re recommended to do:
Because of the recent boost in technology and digital advertising, it’s challenging to stand out from the crowd and gain customers’ interest. Yet, this should be the main priority of all brands out there. As explained in our previous guide, brand awareness is a crucial step in creating brand value.
Therefore, make sure to grab the interest of prospective customers. You can do this through advertising, content, events, social media, or any other channel that highlights your offerings and brand value.
While brand awareness is one of the key stages, it means little if you can’t follow it with customer engagement. Without interaction between brands and customers, there are no conversions or any chances of relations at all. For that reason, your advertising needs to be engaging and inspire interactions. This can be through any channel you offer, whether that be your chatbot social media posts. The first contact is essential because it creates the first emotional connection and interest among customers.
If the second step is performed well, you’re ready to jump on to the next one. Subscription to certain offers is something that happens when customers engage with a brand and begin to trust it. It is easily obtained through a lead magnet – you give out something for free in exchange for basic information. These days, downloadables such as e-books, guides, webinars, and podcast recordings are on the rise.
There’s only one important thing to consider here – customer data privacy. Make sure to always protect the data of your customers and give your buyers a choice. Read more about this topic in this article.
If your offers are valuable to people and answer their questions and problems, you are on a good path to converting prospective buyers into customers. At this stage, your leads will transform into customers. The profit is here a side thing – you want to attract people to your brand for starters. The earnings will come later in the journey and increase gradually, as relationships grow and flourish.
Short-term thrills caused by the purchase should not be your bottom goal. If you want to create long-lasting relationships, you should make a priority of exciting your customers.
The more you excite the buyers, the better the engagement, interactions, and profits. Therefore, make sure to think of the things your customers would find beneficial. This can include anything from extra bonuses to freebies and competition awards.
At this stage, a potential buyer becomes your customer and buys your product or service. You start earning the profits and open the question of achieving a real relationship with your customers. Thus, the purchasing stage should not be static but an active one. You should make sure your customers got what they came for and feel even better after the purchase. This will also ensure they come back to you in the future.
Speaking of engagement, don’t forget to encourage your customers to spread the word about your brand. Advocacy gives you a perfect opportunity to grow your business, as happy customers tend to share their positive experiences with the rest of the world.
Give your customers a chance to do so by opening up review sections on social media or your website. Reviews can be a powerful advocacy tool because people trust each other when it comes to brand recommendations from personal experience.
The last stage in the process is brand promotion, which includes inviting your customers to become active advocates. You can do so through an affiliate- or commission-based agreement or just offer something extra for customers who send their friends your way. In this case, both you and your customer get value from the relationship. Referral marketing programmes are used by some big names such as Shopify, Tesla, and Airbnb.
Introducing the customer journey management
One of the ways you can measure, track, and then optimize the experience you provided above is through customer journey management. The term stands for using behavioural methods and technology to make the customer experience seamless across all your brand channels and touchpoints.
Customer journey management should reduce friction and ensure value is delivered through the entire organisation. It should help you better understand customers goals, predict new behavioural trends, and manage your actions accordingly. Rather than a precise practice, customer journey management is a mind shift spread across the organisation. However, this is a broad topic we will cover in more detail in some of our next guides. Stay tuned!