May 26, 2019

Is it all about the user journey?

Emma

The Users journey is on everyone’s lips. Coupled with ‘customer experience’, it’s priority number one for businesses, especially in the world of eCommerce where the journey is entirely online. But are you losing your objectives along the way?

A customer-centric approach to business is not all about taking in the scenery and smelling the roses. You want to provide great customer experience, but you also want them to convert fast.

By getting your objectives clear from the start, you can direct a customer journey to achieve realistic goals.

Define your destination

So, first thing’s first: set your goal. Discover what you really want to achieve, before setting off down the garden path.

What is it that you want to achieve? Define your micro-conversion points – these are the important smaller steps that you want your customer to complete in order to achieve macro-conversion i.e. their final purchase. Once you’ve got your conversion goals set out, it’s time to consult your customer personas. You may have different goals for different personas, or you may need to be aware of the difference in needs between different customer segments in order to create a unified journey.

Identify your touchpoints

A ‘touchpoint’ is a place at which your customer interacts with you. It’s important to remember that this not just across your website, but at any point online and offline. That includes social media, paid-for advertising, emails, reviews, posters and leaflets, the list goes on. Start by noting down all of your customer touchpoints, and which are most successful. For example, you might find that customers are positively engaging on social media but that your website has a high bounce rate. So, you’d look to improve the part of the journey that takes them from one platform to another, or minimise the steps between a product view on Instagram and your checkout. Align your touchpoints with your goals.

Map it out

A route is better when you can see it. So, this is where you bring your goals and your customer personas in to create a journey of structured touchpoints. Remember that your customer is not walking a straight road. Their path is made up of multiple devices; of twists and turns through social media, websites, emails, and checkouts. (Learn more about omnichannel). By structuring your touchpoints, you’re effectively planting clues in the labyrinth; nudging them along the journey in a way that builds rapport and trust. Bear in mind your goals and your customer destination, and get the whole team involved. When everyone in your company, from development and those who work directly with customers, to your marketing strategizers, is given a voice you get quality input into the journey. And you get clarity. Everyone is working from the same page.  

Is there a pattern?

Use your analytics to discover patterns. Are customers taking multiple steps to get from one place to the next? Why is that? And can you make their journey faster? Ideally, your customer journey should be to go from A to B as seamlessly and comfortably as possible. After all, attention spans are dwindling, and rapid consumer culture is increasing. The customer experience now requires that delicate balance of providing a connection – human and emotional – while responding to fast purchase needs. By identifying consumer patterns you’ll see what what hooks them, what causes them to wander, and what loses them.

Use data for existing customers  

You guessed it, we’re coming back to data. Isn’t everyone? Data and customer feedback should inform your customer journey. In fact, it’s crucial. But you can take it one step (or a few skips) further in terms of audience understanding and savvy marketing: you can use your data to do some inbound marketing. That means checking out what really turns on your existing audience and targeting them with some really great content – things you know they like. It’s more direct and more focused than a generalized outbound marketing campaign. Plus, you can use the engagement to gather more real customer responses, and more data to feed back into your user journey. So, you could be hitting some of your goals as you plan, and get a really informed route in place.

Be your customer

Perhaps one of the most important steps on creating a clean customer journey is to walk it yourself. Put yourself in their shoes and live the experience. You’ll soon uncover where your potholes are, and your customers will be able to tell if it’s a tried and tested route.

By keeping your user journey closely aligned to customer needs and dedicated goals, you can see better results, faster. A well-planned customer journey can also be hugely beneficial for your team. Taking everyone back to the customer, and including staff in the mapping process can be unifying and motivating.