Figure 3.3.1, The Customer Journey
You can see that we’ve split the customer journey into the following stages:
Educate, where the buyer still has fundamental questions as to the exact challenge they need to solve, as well as the potential providers of solutions.
Influence, where the buyer has created a consideration set for brands and solutions, and is considering how each compares from a value perspective.
Acquire, where the buyer begins and eventually completes the process of purchasing the product or service, resulting in a sale for the brand.
Activate, where the buyer starts to use the product or service and has the opportunity to recommend it to others, purchase more products and services from the brand, or in some instances may run into technical difficulties which require customer service.
Now let’s explore some measurement considerations at each of the four stages in the journey.
Measurement considerations at each stage in the customer journey
You may have an overall metric you use to judge relative performance of customer experience from year to year, such as NPS, CSAT, CES, or all or some of the above. Regardless of that baseline metric, it is extremely important to be continually measuring, analyzing, and improving interactions with customers at each stage of the journey.
Let’s take a look at some of the considerations that should be made during the stages of the customer journey we defined earlier.
As a customer is learning both about the problem they are trying to solve, as well as about your product, it is important to lead with information that educates (as the name of this stage suggests) more than sells. There will be plenty of time to make the sale and roll out all of your best marketing copy and offers. For the time being, however, you need to make sure that the customer knows what they need to buy in the first place, and positioning your brand as a helpful guide enables you to have a prime place once they are considering their options.
Metrics at this stage can include interactions with your thought leadership or educational materials, as well as inquiries at a high level about your product or service offerings. A well-educated buyer might reach out through some of these channels, but quickly identify themselves as belonging in the next stage.
At this next stage, you have an educated customer that needs to make a sometimes tough decision between several options, including your brand. This is the stage where you get more “marketing” heavy by providing personalized offers, and work more aggressively towards pushing to the next stage, which involves a purchase.
Make sure you find ways to identify if this buyer really belongs in this stage, or if they still need more education on their fundamental challenges. If you are able to do this, you will save a considerable amount of time and resources, and when you are able to educate the buyer, you’ll have a much easier sale on your hands. This process can be made much easier through customer journey orchestration tools, particularly if you are dealing with a large volume of customers.
You made the sale! Hold on, not so fast. This stage includes the entire sales process, and ends with the sale being made. Whether you are a B2B provider with a months-long sales process, or an e-commerce brand whose goal is the quickest checkout possible, it always takes a little more effort than you think it should to make the sale.
It is important to have metrics associated with buyers starting this process, and measuring how long it takes, what issues were encountered, and more. Again, regardless of the amount of time it takes and the people, processes, and technology involved in making the sale, there is a wealth of information to be gained.
While there are plenty of customer-facing metrics, both quantitative and qualitative, to capture during this stage, this is also one where the internal aspects, or product and process, are incredibly important. The last thing you want is for a small but critical point to be missed, take too long, or malfunction when a buyer is ready to buy!
Wait, aren’t we done after that last stage? Of course not. The sale can really be thought of as the beginning of a new relationship. A prospect now becomes a customer and many opportunities await. The customer experience measurement at this stage includes their behaviors using your product or service, their referral and word of mouth behavior, as well as whether they choose to purchase from your organization again.
This means that you have several teams working in parallel paths. For instance, in a B2B setting, you might have a customer success team working with a customer to ensure they are getting onboarded and extracting as much value as possible from your product in the first 30 days. Then, you have a marketing team that wants to cross-sell, up-sell, or get the customer to spread the word to their colleagues to increase the overall customer value. Finally, you might have a customer service or technical support team that addresses issues or questions when there is a real or perceived problem. This doesn’t even take into account any other potential teams, such as technical integration, or third parties that may be involved.
Suffice to say, there is a lot going on across many teams in your organization at this stage. It is critical that you have both an overall measure of success, as well as individual measures and goals for each of those teams. Your processes and governance of CX will unite these teams in their actions.
As you can see, there are so many opportunities throughout the customer journey in order to influence CX for the better, and just as many opportunities to measure the effectiveness at each of these stages. Through strategic planning and prioritization, you can make the most of this potential wealth of information.
This article is based on ideas from my recent book, Meaningful Measurement of the Customer Experience, now available everywhere.