Moving from ‘there is nothing I need right now to make a purchase (online or offline) involves a journey. While that journey may vary from market to market, product to product, circumstance to circumstance and individual to individual, at least in so far as an initial purchase is concerned, it involves stages as follows:
Together these stages highlight in the broadest of terms the journey the customer travels. It also suggests that there are numerous opportunities along the journey to influence the final decision of a potential customer. They can be influenced to recognise a need, consider information favourable to a brand, evaluate the options using favourable criteria, make the decision that favours a brand and then repeat purchase or refer. The points at which influence can be exerted are ‘tough points’ and it is not surprisingly important to understand these touchpoints and how best to leverage them.
Collectively these touchpoints might be considered – the ‘customer experience’. If common sense is not enough, research points to the importance of that customer experience:
And from the customers perspective…….
Very importantly, customer experience directly impacts referral rates with research finding that:
The customer experience is equally important offline and online – and in the omnichannel experience. Some 90% of marketers in one study highlighted the importance of the customer experience across channels. So, what are the features of a good customer experience that can and will please customers and most importantly – influence them to purchase a brand? Here are some:
There are many actions that businesses can take to ensure a high-quality customer experience that enables the business to influence the customer or potential customer at each touchpoint along the journey – and the benefits of doing so are plain to see. Before any thought is given to promotion, the focus needs to be on maximising the lifetime value of each customer and enquirer – and doing this requires an understanding of the customer journey, the various touchpoints along that journey – and how to influence the enquirer or customer positively at each touchpoint. The customer experience needs to be pleasant for the customer – but it must also be revenue-driving for the business.
Understand the journey your customer takes – online and offline and develop strategies that engage customers and potential customers while influencing them to purchase your brand. If you have any doubts about the merits of this approach, consider these research findings:
Now more than at any time in history, it is essential for businesses to get closer to the customer, understand and then leverage their online and offline journey.
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