Did you know that on average, a dissatisfied customer verbally shares their negative experience with 9-15 people1? The advent of social media and other review platforms gave customers a new platform to share their experiences. These platforms are viewed by millions of people2. For example, 9 out of 10 people consult reviews before making a purchase3. So the damage done by one bad customer experience goes far beyond one ill-favored customer.
So improving the customer experience is an absolute must these days. In addition to reducing damage, it also ensures that they share their experience with those around them. In addition, they are also more willing to remain loyal to the company or brand and continue consuming4. But how can you really optimize your customer experience?
First, it is essential to map out a customer journey. This allows you to determine which steps a (potential) customer goes through before purchasing. The customer journey is divided into 5 stages: awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy.
Phase 1: the awareness phase
The awareness phase means that the potential customer is stimulated to purchase a product or service. This can be because they received a newsletter about a specific product or service. But also an ad on social media or an advertisement in a magazine, commercial or product placement on television or a radio commercial belong to this phase. In addition, the prospect may also be inspired by word-of-mouth from a colleague, friend, or family member who tells them about an exceptional experience of a product they recently purchased. Other factors can also impact this phase to pique the prospect’s interest.
Phase 2: the consideration phase
After you’ve piqued their interest, the potential customer starts to consider purchasing something. Here they will compare different companies and brands to make a choice. Specific channels used for this are website, photos, reviews from others, promotions, and social media.
Phase 3: the conversion phase
In this phase, the potential customer has made a choice. Now they proceed to the actual purchase. This can take place both online and offline. Here the online and offline experience is essential. The user-friendly factor plays an important role here. So make sure that your customer can easily order and buy what he wants without going through hundreds of steps.
Phase 4: the loyalty phase
The fourth phase, loyalty, is often a phase forgotten by companies. Yet it is one of the most important phases. In this phase, the customer receives the product or has the service performed. Here the customer must experience a good customer experience. In addition, it is also necessary to be accessible in case of problems. Some examples are a clear contact person, smooth after-sales service, personal approach, product exchange,…
Phase 5: advocacy
The last phase, better known as advocacy, ensures that you can attract new customers through the experience of your current customers. More specifically, collecting and publishing reviews in this phase is important. So encourage your customers to leave a review on your website and possibly share it on their social media channels. You can, for example, give them a discount code for their next purchase or use a contest to win a prize.
Once you have mapped out a detailed customer journey, it is important to analyze where things could go wrong. Check out the following article to see how you can improve your customer journey in the five phases.