Five Stages of Customer Journey- The Customer Experience Era – Part 1

I recently wrote about the tsunami of change sweeping through all sorts of businesses as the full implications of the digital age came upon us. The article was entitled, Digital Disruption.I recently wrote about the tsunami of change sweeping through all sorts of businesses as the full implications of the digital age came upon us. The article was entitled, Digital Disruption.

 

So massive has been the change in power to the consumer that a whole range of new terminology and approaches have surfaced during the last few years. This should prompt business owners to understand these changes and endeavour to take back the initiative. A range of new terms has evolved to help describe the focus on the customer and you have read my articles describing some of these: customer experience, the customer journey, co-created value, social media marketing, touchpoints, service design, brand promise, and brand delivery.

 

Customer experience is about each and every interaction a customer has with your business, with you, your staff, your products and your service. The customer only has one real interest in your business, and that’s how well you can solve her problem and meet her needs. If your brand promise is sufficiently interesting, she may continue along the journey to see how well you deliver. If she is satisfied, she may return for more.

 

We call this the customer journey and it has five distinct phases.

 

 

1. Awareness – the customer being aware of you in the context of her need. The subsets of Awareness are search and discovery. As the business person, this is where you make yourself known and how well you can help solve problems and co-create value in your market niche.

 

2. Evaluation – where your customer will research, compare and decide on the lucky company that receives their business. The first two phases comprise much of your business brand promise. The next three phases are about brand delivery.

 

3. Purchase – where the customer may register (a website or at the gym), buy and go through post purchase anxiety.

 

4. Delivery of the purpose of the product or service and its use in context. This is where value is co-created by you and your customer and where the customer decides if she has solved her problem.  Subsets of this phase to consider are use, get help, share and personalize.

 

5. After Sales – the subsets here are trust, evangelise and friendship.

 

These five stages of the customer journey haven’t changed. What has changed is how the customer experiences this journey. Imagine the female Bird of Paradise becoming aware of the need to mate. In her search for the best mate, she no longer needs to fly all over the forest or listen for male advertising cheeps in her immediate neighbourhood. Now she can hop onto the internet and easily find all the available suitors. She can check out their blogs and make an educated call on how good a bower each one is going to share. She can easily gain a feel for what sort of co-creator each male is likely to be. She can engage with her social media channels to check what other hens have to say from their own past user experiences or their own inspections. Is this the one who can give her an outstanding touchpoint experience?

 

Our Bird of Paradise will continue her journey to find ‘Mr. Right’ next time. So make sure to catch part two of this series to see what her outcome will be.

 

Graeme Stevens
CEO and Co-Founder
neXtep easy
www.nextepeasy.com

 

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