A customer journey is a human-centred path that your ideal clients or customers take from not knowing you to becoming loyal, raving fans.
Why is the 7-step customer journey important to know?
Because customer empathy and creating opportunities to delight your clients or customers on their journey, is no longer an option but essential for your business success.
Here’s a great 2021 customer experience industry report, if you’re interested.
I have developed a 7-step roadmap of your customers’ journey. Because traditionally, the journey frameworks talk about the flow of Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy.
But that still doesn’t say WHO the people are that are on their journey. Who are the ones that are most likely to buy? Have they arrived at that station yet?
What are the 7-steps of the customer journey?
So, let’s have a look at the 7-step roadmap that I have developed, shall we?
Let’s say that Jacky is the person on a journey and discovers your brand. You’ll see that there are 3 stages for gaining trust, and therefore, getting closer to your brand. Each stage has 2 or 3 steps.
Stage #1 – Becoming aware of your brand
#1 – Passer-by
Jacky doesn’t know you and is not aware of any problem or desire. Unexpectedly, she comes across your brand and asks internally ‘Is this for me?’. If the answer is ‘yes, might be’ in just a couple of seconds, then she moves on to the next step.
#2 – Wanderer
In this step, Jacky is still unaware of any problem or desire, and is just browsing your site and following you. She may come across an article that triggers something inside her. She becomes a bit aware and says “hey, that interests me!’ and asks you to send or give her a free giveaway of some kind.
Stage #2 – Being in your orbit
#3 – Explorer
Jacky reads and finds more and is now aware of her problem or desire. As a result, she asks herself ‘What else is here?’, She’s exploring to find out if you are authentic and relevant to her, show empathy, and give her what she’s looking for at the right time. At this stage, Jacky might lose interest if the messages are not relevant to her or too general, When that happens, she might continue to explore for a shorter or longer time, take a step back, or even becomes a passer-by again. Otherwise, she’ll move on to the next stage.
#4 – Friend
At this stage, Jacky loves what you have to offer. To her, this feels so aligned with her values and she wants to dive deeper into your approach, methodology, or your products, and what you stand for. Jacky is now considering her options and might become a client or customer.
Stage #3 – Becoming clients or customers
#5 – Insider
Now Jacky has become your client or customer. ‘Yes, I’m 100% IN’, she said enthusiastically. She purchased your product or enrolled in your programme or course. Most importantly, in this step you need to quickly solve any issues that Jacky might encounter.
Another important thing…
Most people think ‘once a client, always a client’. But actually, they are not. They are your past clients or customers who are now insiders/friends. There’s a loop between the Insider and Friend steps. So, you have to continuously work on nurturing that loop, so they become returning clients or customers. Does that make sense?
#6 – Ambassador
Jacky loves your brand, and she has become a loyal, raving fan. She’s ready to actively spread the word out for you. It’s a step beyond ‘word-of-mouth’ that happy insiders do, because in this step you consciously and consistently focus on bringing your ambassador strategy to life.
#7 – Partner
There aren’t many businesses that go all the way. But yet, this step is a strategy that makes you stand out. In this step, Jacky becomes part of a select group of people who are excited about co-creating. They help you with your product and programme development in exchange for exclusive partner deals.
What do you think of these 7 steps? Does it make the abstract ‘customer journey’ come to life?
To bring it all back to the essence, in short, a funnel is business-centred and a customer journey is human-centred.
It’s about the deeper empathy that you show, understanding the thoughts and behaviour of your ideal clients or customers.
What can you do to bring your customer journey to life?
Map out each step of your clients’ or customers’ journey on a piece of paper, in a document, or on a whiteboard.
What do you show and give your followers and (potential) clients now? Analyse what web pages they prefer to visit, for example.
Do you know the right, personalised messages at the right time, and for whom? In each step, there’s a different kind of content, different length, and based on people’s interests. Therefore it’s important to map out the 7-steps and clearly see where people are at.
I will soon write an article about creating the right type of content for each step, but I first wanted to clarify the 7 steps for you.
Can you see why mapping out the steps of your clients’ or customers’ journey is so important, BEFORE you start building funnels and creating content?
Because doing things in this order, you step into your ideal client or customer’s shoes first.
How do you know you’re creating the customer journey in the right way?
Well, remember funnel myth #5 in my previous article? That there is no one right way… It’s about Wayfinding. Everything you set up requires testing, validation, and pivoting.
That’s why my process of mapping your customer journey includes exercises like ‘asking your ideal clients through empathy interviews’ and ‘reflecting on your own assumptions’.
When you have mapped out your customers journey you see clearly what you are doing right now and get ideas for what you could be doing to enhance the experience of your potential clients or customers.
Where can you make some improvements? Because when they have a great experience, they’ll buy or enroll, and become your loyal fans.
So where do you start FIRST when you want to make improvements?
If you have limited time, energy, and money, which applies to many of us, right? – then focus on the people that are most likely to buy first.
‘But… how do I know that?’, you might ask…
Depending on what people read, watch, or listen to, what web pages they visit, how much they engage with you, etc., you can creatively give them an action score and an interest tag for example.
To clarify… not manually, but an email automation tool can do that, if you have the right tool and the right plan, of course.
ActiveCampaign can do its automagic tricks for you
I work with ActiveCampaign’s Plus plan that can do all the magic tricks. Therefore it’s a great tool to enhance your customer experience.
Here’s my affiliate link to a free trial – no credit card needed – if you’d like to explore if ActiveCampaign is a good fit for you.
But… don’t let tech fear hold you back
Please don’t let tech fear stand in the way of you sharing your wisdom, knowledge, or products with the world.
Building business success is making small improvements every single day, isn’t it? Just improve one thing daily. You got this!
And if you get stuck or want to know if your email tool can add scores and tags, I’m here to help. You’ll gain so much more in just 30 minutes, than you would by figuring things out on your own.
You’re invited to take one small step. Sounds good?
What do you think of the 7-step customer journey?
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments box below.
Monika, the always-on-a-journey brand & business strategist
And of course, the photo credits:
Blog cover – Monika de Neef (7-step customer journey)
1 – Csaba Pap -Unsplash (High Park station)
2 – Philipp Lublasser – Unsplash (curious animal)
3 – Rupert Britton – Unsplash (tulips)
4 – Marija Zaric – Unsplash (sense of creativity)
5 – UX Indonesia – Unsplash (customer journey mapping)
6 – Miguel A Patrinan – Pexels (number 1).