Bring Your Customers on the Journey with You

How to make it easy for prospects and customers to buy…..

A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination. The more touch-points you have, the more complicated – but necessary – such a map becomes.

A customer journey map does three things for you and your customer:

  • It provides direction – customers understand where they are going and how they can get there. It paves the way for them and this makes it easier for them to buy.
  • It highlights decision-points – you can identify where the critical decision-making points are ahead of time. This allows you to architect the choices that the customer can choose from which will progress the sale and/or retain the customer and their engagement with you.
  • It helps you to understand where and why you might be losing customers both before and after the sale – this helps you to determine where this is happening, and what to do to address it.

A customer journey map takes many forms, but there is a common goal: to identify key interactions that a customer has with an organization. It showcases the user’s feelings, goals, questions, and pain points at each touchpoint. This helps bridge the gap to get more intimate with your customer. Each customer journey map should identify a customer persona and the activities within each stage.

6 Steps in Developing Your Customer Journey Map

  1. Identify who your customer persona is – what is the particular customer segment you are addressing. Different customer segments have different needs, this means that although they may be similar their customer journey will be different.

Who is the customer you are creating a customer journey map for?

  1. What are the customer persona’s goals – what are they looking to achieve, and what do they want to experience at each stage of their journey. You need to talk to or survey customers to find this out from the horse’s mouth.
  2. Map the Touchpoints – a touchpoint is any time a potential customer comes in contact with your business—before, during or after they purchase something from you.

You want to take every touchpoint into account so you don’t miss an interesting moment of intervention or opportunity to improve your persona’s experience with your company. This can seem overwhelming but here is a useful technique.

Put yourself in your persona’s shoes—or in this case—their trackpad. With your persona hat on, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I go and how do I get there when I have [a problem your company solves]?
  • Where do I go and how do I get there when I discover the solution that will solve my problem?
  • Where do I go and how do I get there when I make my solution/purchase decision?
  • Where do I go and how do I get there when I need support or something else from the business after I make the purchase?

It would probably be easiest and most effective to ask these questions to current customers first.

  1. Look at the Big Picture – once you understand your persona’s goals and plot their touchpoints, it’s time to look at the big picture – the totality of their experience with your company. Good questions to ask here include”
  • Is my persona achieving their goal(s) on my website/offline?
  • Where are there points of friction and frustration? What is the impact of these?
  • Where are people dropping off? Why?
  • What is most important to them about their experiences?
  • What are they looking for from you beyond the actual product or service itself?
  • Which information were you looking for during each stage of your decision-making process?
  1. Prioritize – where’s the low-hanging fruit?

At this point, it’s time to prioritize where and how the flows are in the customer journey and how you can leverage and replicate them. Also look out for where the blockages and bottlenecks occur as these will stop your customers from progressing along the customer journey and this results in lost opportunities and lost customers.

  1. Visualize – to make this map easier to understand draw it out

Customer churn occurs when customers or subscribers stop doing business with a company or service It is normally described as the percentage of your total customers who have left you.

So, reducing your customer churn can help your improve your profit by addressing two elements:

  • Costs – the costs of acquiring new customers when is greater than those of retaining customers; and
  • Revenue – retained customers are more likely to buy again from you and spend more than new customers.

Together these combine to provide greater opportunities for improved profit via your retained customers than acquiring new customers.

Customer churn impedes growth.

For example, if you have a customer base of 1500 customers and you lose 300 customers, then you have a 20% churn rate.  If this continues then in five years you will have turned over your whole customer base. To grow you not only have to replace those lost customers, but you have to find additional customers on top of this.

The greater the level of churn the more customers you lose. Higher churn requires you to spend more time and effort in finding more customers. These new customers are more expensive to acquire and spend less as you do not enjoy the same level of trust and familiarity that you have with customers who have been with you for some time.

Monitoring Churn

So you should have a defined method for calculating customer churn in a given period of time. By being aware of and monitoring churn rate, you are better equipped to determine where and how to focus your efforts to retain customers, and to identify strategies for improvement.

A 2013 Bain & Co. study found that a 5% increase in customer retention rates had the potential to yield profit increases from 25% to 95%. So, don’t let customers’ issues eat into your bottom line: solve them swiftly and reap the benefits.

…and there’s more!

According to Gartner, a staggering 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers. Meanwhile, Marketing Metrics claims that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, and only 5-20% to a new prospect. You are more likely to sell to an existing customer by at least three to one!

So, it makes perfect sense that focusing on reducing churn is vital since keeping your customers is profitable!

5 Ways to Reduce Churn

  1. Understand Why Churn Occurs – simply, why do your customers leave you? Really talk to them, ask them for feedback and listen with the intention of learning and improving things from what you have learnt.
  2. Engage with Customers Continuously – most customers who leave you do so because they feel ignored or not appreciated. Once you have acquired a customer it is just the start of the relationship and, like a good marriage, needs to be nurtured to last the unavoidable ups and downs.
  3. Know Who is at Risk – who are your customers who are most likely to leave you? What do you need to do to re-establish contact and re-engage the customer relationship?
  4. Know Who Your Most Valuable Customers Are – customers are not only valuable in terms of revenue and profit, they can also be important in other ways such as their lifetime value, strategic importance, as a source of referrals etcetera.
  5. Go the Extra Mile – look to provide stellar customer service every day, at every touchpoint, via everyone. Prove to them that you value them, and make sure you share with them what you have done for them.

So what else can you do to improve your customer retention rate, where will you focus your efforts, and what can you achieve as a result.  To download the Customer Churn Cheat Sheet click here.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

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Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

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