The customer journey comprises every step leading from initial contact to final sale. It’s all the little steps and interactions that occur along the way. You can think of it visually, as the path from Point A to Point B. Here are some tips for optimizing this B2B customer journey.
TIP #1: Identify the customer touch points where interactions occur
You can break down the customer journey into two distinct aspects – the times when the customer is learning about you and your products passively (such as by browsing online), and the times when you are actively interacting with the customer. In a best-case scenario, you would want to capture both of these aspects of the experience. But if you have limited resources, focus on the specific touch points – for example, the times that a sales representative approaches a customer at a trade show, or the times that you activate a live chat interface online.
TIP #2: Make sure you know where the journey starts
It’s easy to assume that every journey begins in the same place, but that’s not entirely true. For some customers, it may begin when they browse your website, for others it might begin with a Google search result, and for yet others, it might begin with a call in to your main customer service number. The important point here is that there are multiple points of entry.
TIP #3: Focus on the “moments of truth”
There are certain moments that marketers refer to as the “moments of truth” – these are the intense make-or-break moments that decide whether you’re going to make the final sale. Every touch point has a different intensity, but you need to focus on the ones that have the greatest impact.
TIP #4: Supplement the customer experience with personalization
You can think of each customer experience as having certain “layers” that you need to peel off, the same way you might add layers to a Photoshop file. Each new layer is separate and distinct, but contributes to the overall experience, making it more personalized for the customer. To add a layer of personalization to the journey, you might want to consider a vendor such as SVRD, which offers a way to make your relevant for each and every visitor.
Getting from Point A to Point B can sometimes be more complex than anyone imagines, so don’t be afraid to draw a very detailed customer journey map. And, moreover, don’t forget that the journey can sometimes be non-linear. Of course, that’s not optimal – but it also reflects reality.
Now that you’ve outlined the basic elements of the overall customer journey, it’s time to reverse-engineer the journey, to see if you can start making some high-level assumptions about what’s working, and what’s not. This is where your storytelling prowess comes into play, since each journey becomes a type of story. These stories can be remarkably simple narratives that can guide your sales and marketing initiatives and propel your business forward.
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