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I have read several articles and seen some presentations recently that have stressed the importance of understanding the customer journey. Personally, I believe that an understanding of your customer journey is one of the most important pieces of insight you can have – if you don’t know how customers find your products and purchase them then how can you keep repeating that process?
However, there is an important point to remember. The customer journey used to be fairly simple to map because it was a linear process. A customer would learn about your products from marketing or advertising, and would then gather more information before making a purchase. Their interactions with your company usually came after a purchase, and were with the customer service team.
That was all quite simple. Now there is no linear concept of a single customer journey. Every customer is experiencing his or her own unique journey and it is far more complex than ever before.
Think for a moment about some typical customer actions today. Downloading an app, reading reviews, writing a blog post, chatting on social media, asking friends questions about products, asking a brand questions directly using a social channel, viewing an information video on YouTube… I could list dozens of different types of action and they could be in any order.
This has been triggered by ubiquitous access to mobile internet and social networks in addition to more general social media, such as apps like TripAdvisor.
Despite all these changes, I believe it is still important to understand how customers arrive at a buying decision, but the emphasis now should be on the relationship rather than just the purchase. Build a great relationship based on good experiences with your brand and you will create a customer for life – a customer that often engages with your brand even if they are not making a purchase.
What do you think about the changing nature of the customer journey? Please leave a comment here, or contact me on LinkedIn, and let me know.
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