“Frodo, We Aren’t in the Shire Anymore”: The Importance of a Customer Journey & How to Avoid Wrecking It
by Louis Kingston
Fans of Lord of the Rings — otherwise known as “Ringers” — never grow weary of reading or watching Frodo and his fellow Hobbits journey through Middle Earth on an epic quest to Mordor (where rumor has it there now exists a very stylish Starbucks at the base of Mount Doom).
Well, customers who visit a website are on an important journey as well. Granted, it doesn’t involve saving the world from evil entities that never sleep. But it does involve achieving objectives that, ultimately, culminate in a sale — whether that happens on the same visit (e-commerce) or weeks down the road (B2B). And that brings us to the customer journey map.
The customer journey map is a visual tool that enables businesses to identify where, when and how customers engage their brand — and make the trek from curious prospects to enthusiastic brand ambassadors. There are five phases on the journey:
- Awareness: customers in this phase know that they have a problem (although they may not yet know the full scope or severity of the problem), and they are in the process of conducting research. It is possible for visitors to go straight into a conversation via phone, video or chat. However, research has found that, on average, customers access 3-5 pieces of content before speaking (or texting) with a sales rep. This content can include videos, articles, ebooks, white papers, checklists, and so on.
- Evaluation: customers in this phase are aware of their problem and are comparing different options. Content such as case studies, testimonials and demos are highly influential here. However, nothing beats a free trial.
- Decision: customers in this phase have put together a shortlist (in a formal manner as is usually the case with B2B sales, or more casually as is often the case with B2C/e-commerce sales) and are ready to make a decision.
- Retention: customers in this phase have made a purchase, and now the goal is to keep them on the roster. The importance of retention cannot be overestimated. It costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to nurture an existing customer, and increasing retention by just 5% can boost profits by 25-95%. Tactics that can help foster a strong, loyal relationship include special offers, follow-up outreach (via email, app, phone, video, or in-person for B2B), customer satisfaction surveys, etc.
- Advocacy: customers in this phase are happy and willing to recommend a company to their professional and personal network, as well as members of their various social media communities (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn groups, etc.). Research has found that 83% of B2C customers and 99% of B2B customers are influenced by various types of word-of-mouth marketing.
In theory, the customer journey is straightforward. However, in practice — and just as Frodo & Co. discovered — the quest can have many twists and turns. No, there aren’t any orcs, hobgoblins or balrogs along the way, but there are some dangerous foes that include:
- Crashed pages/websites
- HTTPS errors
- Broken links
- API problems
- Dysfunctional scripts and forms
- Browser incompatibility issues
- S-l-o-w page loading
The bad news? Any one of these is enough to send customers heading straight for the exit, never to return. The good news? AlertBot’s leading solution continuously monitors for ALL of these from multiple locations around the world — and proactively notifies key individuals (e.g. CIOs, CTOs, SysAdmins, etc.) when a problem occurs.
You could say that AlertBot is leading-edge technology worthy of Gandalf, and yet so intuitive and easy-to-use that Pippin Took could manage everything (even after having a few pints at the Prancing Pony).
See for yourself by starting your free trial of AlertBot now.
Louis is a writer, author, and avid film fan. He has been writing professionally for tech blogs and local organizations for over a decade. Louis currently resides in Allentown, PA, with his wife and German Shepherd Einstein, where he writes articles for InfoGenius, Inc, and overthinks the mythos of his favorite fandoms.