The Importance of Your Customer Journey
Understanding your customer journey is the cornerstone of increasing your market share, growing revenue, and keeping your company relevant for decades. Companies that fail to understand their customer’s journey will inevitably lose to the competition.
So what is a customer journey? At the simplest level, your customers purchase your product or service to solve a need. The “customer journey” is every step they take to solve that need. On the other hand, the customer journey is not every step they take to purchase your product. Understanding that distinction is the important first step.
Let’s look at an example. If you’re a grocery store, your customers need food. If you follow the wrong view, you’ll view their journey beginning as they pull into your parking lot, move through their gathering of food and purchasing it, and concluding when they leave your parking lot. Sure, you may discover innovations in that process, like self-checkout lanes and curbside pickup, but you’re missing the big picture. You’re not focused on the right problem.
The right approach to the grocery customer’s journey begins with your customer needing food. That’s the problem they’re “hiring” you to solve. Most groceries ignored this idea for decades, creating market opportunity that others capitalized on. By focusing on the right problem, subscription food services and grocery delivery services gained a foothold in the market. Have you ever asked yourself why a grocery chain didn’t invent Hello Fresh or Blue Apron? It’s because they didn’t fully understand their customer’s journey or need, and the market moved on them.
To begin understanding your customer journey, start by asking what problem you’re helping them solve. List all of the steps that your customer takes on their path to purchasing your product, from start to finish. Once you’ve completed the list, go all the way to the beginning and write what the customer does right before the first step you listed. Then write the step before that, and the step before that, going back as far as you can. Then go to the end of the list and write what they do immediately after your last step, and then the following step, etc.
Once you’ve listed out the steps, you’ll begin to see other products and services your company might offer to serve more parts of the customer journey. The more steps you own, the more “share of wallet” you own, leading to better serving your customer and more revenue for your company.