The customer journey is a great way to conceptualize the time it takes for customers to become aware of your product all the way through to shouting their praise from the rooftops. Each step the customer takes moves them closer, or further away, from your intended goal.
While the journey is a good way to frame that movement, your team also needs to know that every interaction they have with a customer has a significant impact. If they’re not well-versed in how to frame conversations around each individual step of the journey, your customers won’t get the support they need.
By helping your team understand how their interactions help or hinder the customer journey you can make sure that the customer is getting the best support at each step along the way.
As each different stage will present different issues, your team should be trained in recognizing the customer’s approximate position and adjust their messaging accordingly.
The Customer Journey
Spending time to map out the customer journey will give your team the information they need to recognize where a particular customer is at the moment and can help indicate what kind of support they need.
Progressing through each stage of the journey will take time and some companies’ journeys will be longer or shorter than others. Being able to find out how your specific customers move from awareness to advocacy is paramount if you’re going to use the map as a way to grow customer loyalty.
Tailor customer interactions based on their stage in the journey
How your team speaks to customers will have a dramatic impact on not only their ability to be successful with the product, but how they think about your brand as a whole.
Tailoring conversations to each stage of the customer journey helps solidify the relationship with customers and helps move them through their journey more efficiently.
Awareness: Show customers you can help them solve a problem
At the beginning of your customer’s journey, there’s no knowing where they’ll be swept off to. At this stage, your customer is very new to even knowing your company exists. Before this stage, they were pretty much Jon Snow. Right now, your customers likely have a problem that your tool can hopefully solve for them, and your team needs to highlight that fact in each conversation.
People at this stage of the journey will likely interact with your team as a part of their information gathering. They’ve realized that they have a problem, but haven’t figured out the best way to move forward with resolving it. Your team will need to successfully answer any questions they have and start building a rapport.
Let’s say a potential customer comes into live chat with a few questions about whether or not your company can do A or help them accomplish B. Your team should use this interaction to ask probing questions in an effort to find out the exact problems the potential customer is having. Being able to provide concise information will not only make sure your company is a great fit for that customer, it will also help solidify the idea that your team is knowledgeable and helpful.
Consideration: Educate customers on why your service is best
Now the potential customer is aware of your company and the kind of solutions you can provide. They’re thinking about whether or not you’re the best fit. They are likely looking into multiple different solutions, your competitors, so it’s important to convince them to go with you instead. During the Consideration stage, your team should be helping the customer develop a preference for your product or company. Every interaction should reinforce the fact that your product fits the customer’s specific needs and make them feel better about choosing your company over another.
Interactions at this stage will likely focus around pricing and specific features. Your team will need to know how your company stacks up against your competitors and be able to frame the conversation so that you come out on top. It can be helpful to perform some competitor analysis and share it with the entire team.
Here’s an example of an interaction that might happen during the Consideration stage. A customer calls in to ask about pricing. They’re wondering what different features are offered at that specific pricing tier. They might even ask “How does your company compare to [your competitor’s name here]?” Being able to answer these questions effectively will require that your team understands not only your business, but how it fits into the larger market of your competitors. Right now, you have the chance to convert that potential customer into a user.
Acquisition: Make sure customers know how to be successful
Congratulations! You have a new customer. Now the real work can begin.
At this stage, your customer has chosen to go with your company for any number of reasons and your team needs to be ready to train and support them as they get started. It’s important for the customer to get as much value as possible out of their new purchase at this point.
Your team will see a lot of interactions at this stage. Customers will ask a lot of questions, dive into your Knowledge Base, and probably make a few mistakes along the way. Your customer support team needs to understand how to gauge the customer’s experience level and make sure each interaction helps the customer grow and learn more about your product. Watch out for overall engagement and usage of the new account as well; lack of adoption is a big red flag your team should recognize.
If a customer replies to one of your onboarding emails, calls or live chats with the team to get a walkthrough of their new account, they’re likely early in the Acquisition stage. Your team will need to put on their patient educator hat and guide the customer through this part of their journey to be successful.
Experience: Help customers become experts in your product
At this point in the customer journey, your customers are getting more and more comfortable with the product. They’ll likely only reach out when encountering issues or in search of more in-depth strategy help. Any changes in functionality or user interface will generate new support requests as well. Your team should transition from their educator role into more of a support role, providing best practices advice and helping to alleviate frustration when problems arise.
Customers at this point are largely self-sufficient. Your team will only need to support them when the customer reaches out directly. At this stage in the customer journey, it’s also a good idea to engage in some proactive outreach. Maintaining a consistent relationship helps keep your company top-of-mind. The longer you can retain customers, the more revenue you’ll be able to gain from them.
Your team might receive a call at this point when a customer runs into a known issue or newfound bug in the system. Your team will need to understand that the issue is frustrating to the customer and work, before anything else, toward alleviating that frustration. Once your agent has acknowledged the issue and apologized, they can then move on to provide the customer with a timeline for when the issue will be fixed, or a workaround if possible.
Loyalty: foster relationships that make customers happy
At this point in the customer journey, your customer has been with the service for a while and they’re finding success. They are happy with how things are progressing with their account. Your team should provide proactive outreach to let the customer know they’re available and offer to talk through strategy and best practices for their specific account.
Interactions at this stage of the journey should be focused on maintaining the existing relationship with the customer. It’s important to keep your customers happy and engaged with their accounts. These customers are your evangelists and your promoters; there is a personal relationship that has been built between them and your team.
Let’s say your customer has just reached an important milestone, the 100th product sold, or the launch of their first new product in a year. Consider ways for the customer to show off these accomplishments publicly, such as badges or a featured tweet. Your team can reach out and get in touch to congratulate them and to let them know about the cool new way they can show off their accomplishments. This serves as a way to bolster your relationship and let the customer know how much their business means to you.
Each interaction is just one step of the customer journey
Each customer interaction is an important step in the overall customer journey, so it’s important for your team to know how to assess a customer’s position and offer the kind of support that helps them the best. Taking a comprehensive view of the customer journey and providing the kind of support a customer needs at precisely the right time helps them and you grow your business.