The customer journey is an opportunity to see your product or service through your customer’s eyes. It includes every experience the customer has with your company. The objective is to outline all the steps of the customer experience to gain insights that guide the development of products, services, and features. In developing your customer journey, the goal should be identifying the gap between what you think your company is delivering and what your customer is experiencing.
To illustrate the concept of the customer journey, we should explore collective experiences, like going out for dinner. During the story, we will number each point that is part of the customer journey.
You are hungry and want to go to dinner at a new restaurant. You start by opening yelp and searching for Italian food. You see Momma’s Italian and click on it (1). The screen opens, and there are options, descriptions, perhaps a menu, phone number, coupon, and of course, reviews (2). You wanted garlic knots, but there aren’t pictures of those oily bundles of garlic goodness, so you go back to the search. You find Mario’s who has photos of precisely what you want. But it is Saturday night, can you make reservations through yelp (3)?
You call Mario’s, and they inform you that they aren’t taking reservations, but there are empty seats at the bar (4). Upon arrival, you take your place at the bar, and they inform you of the happy hour (5). You inquire about what wine pairs with your pasta dish and, of course, about the garlic knots (6). After ordering, your glass of wine arrives, and then your meal, but the waiter forgot your spoon for the pasta (7).
From the moment the garlic knots appeared in your head, to the bowl of pasta in front of you, all are parts customer journey. Each moment in the journey can be the difference between a repeat customer and a non-existent customer.
There are four steps to consider when developing a customer journey. We will use the story to help highlight each of these steps.
Step 1: Identifying Actions
What are the actions your customer takes? Does your customer use a third-party application to find you?
Step: Identifying Obstacles
What were the problems on the path to the garlic knots? Were there seats available, or utensils? Did the customer know if there were garlic knots? What issues stand in the way of your customers enjoying what you offer?
Step 3: Identify Motivations
I was motivated by hunger and a desire for garlic knots. When I found the garlic knots, I was excited. What are your customers’ motivations? Think about their emotions and how to encourage them to take action.
Step 4: Questions
My core question was, do they have garlic knots? When your customers are shopping, what are their questions? Are there questions about costs, availability, returns, ingredients? Many questions are predictable, and answering these questions before they are asked helps customers to make choices.
The best companies in the world are fixated on the customer journey and obsessed with understanding the people they serve.