Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Customer Journey should be circular

A lot of different approaches are used for mapping the Customer Journey (the ‘soup to nuts’ depiction of your customers’ progress from unaware & unknown person to satisfied patron). Many typically show the path along different states of customer engagement, with the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire & Action) model being a tried & tested one that has stood the test of time – I've also referred to it a lot in this blog over the years.

But as we know, one person’s advocacy can be another’s awareness. And especially with online communications (and especially Social Media) now able to facilitate near-instant feedback about an experience or product, the ratings given by one customer can heavily influence a lot of other people to either find out more and alternatively it can put them off for good.  Or to put it another way, your customers are one of your greatest assets and in most cases they should not just be part of your retention activity, they should be used to fuel your acquisition activity too.

This advocacy therefore means that rather than the Customer Journey being a line from awareness through to the experience of the product or service, it becomes a circle looking something like this:



Awareness:
The phase of the customer journey where a person becomes initially aware of something and wants to find out more.

Interest & Desire:
I've merged the two AIDA model phases into one here, as things get incredibly blurred (and with some products such as consumer electronics, brand devotees jump straight from awareness to intense desire). This is also the phase described by Google as the Zero Moment of Truth and can be the period when a multitude of inputs from all channels are considered.

Action:
This is the goal, the purchase, the sign-up, the commit phase. You get the picture…. (The First Moment of Truth)

Experience:
This phase is when the customer actually experiences their purchase and realises the value of what they have procured. (The Second Moment of Truth)

Advocacy:
Here is where a customer reviews your service and rates the service you have provided. They can do it on your site or on any number of review and feedback sites, or can use social media platforms to voice their satisfaction or disdain. It is therefore these comments and sentiment that in my opinion keep the customer journey cycling around.

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