One of the biggest problems that business owners have, especially when they’re marketing leaders, is understanding the customer journey.
It’s tricky because of one primary reason, we really don’t see the customer journey in full.
If we’re lucky we see pieces or snippets or phases or stages of the customer journey in isolation from each other.
We never really fully comprehend the entire journey the customer is on, from pain through to process through to paradise.
We often talk in marketing about the importance of knowing your customer, you must know your customer and this is partially why.
If you don’t know your customer, if you do not have an insight to the entirety of that customer journey before they work with you, when they’re working with you and after they’ve worked with you, if you don’t have that, it’s going to be a struggle.
The reason why we can’t see their whole journey is because we voluntarily, willingly, isolate ourselves in specific moments along the way.
The customer of course doesn’t.
But we tend to silo phases of activity.
This is the checkout process.
This is the educational discovery process.
This is the process where they are in pain and for the first time realised they need to find a solution to that pain.
We isolate ourselves in certain events.
It’s a bit like being a parent really isn’t it?
Because for those of you who are parents or if you know anyone with kids, so that’s probably all of you, their lives are marked by key events;
going to school for the first time,
going to school every day,
having a confirmation or a bar mitzvah,
having their 10th birthday party because it marks double figures.
As a habit humans are very committed to breaking life up into a series of individual moments as opposed to holistically looking at the whole journey.
And of course the customer doesn’t do that.
So we’re immediately at odds with the customer because we’re looking at their life through the filter of a slicing machine.
This bit here, this bit here, this bit there.
And the customer is seeing the whole show in one go because they’re living it of course.
There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason why we do this in business and in marketing.
We do this because whilst we accept it’s a journey, we have to succumb to short-term pressure.
That short-term pressure is around sales, of course, revenue.
Can the company pay its bills?
Can the company pay its staff?
So we focus on the pieces of the journey where we think the customer is struggling the most.
And what happens, sadly, is we lose sight of the journey.
You have to recover that.
You need to map out your customer journey.
You need to understand where they’re coming from, where they’re going and how you are integral to making that happen.
And you have to then educate your customer on the whole journey, not just the piece they’re in today.
You have to create this groundswell of content that helps them see the journey in its entirety and equally some of the constituent parts.
For me the solution is a lifelong learning circle.
You’ll often see this in business.
Some people call it a wheel.
Some people call it a circle.
Some people call it various other things, like a pathway.
You’ve got to map out, and you can do it really easily in a circle with a clock, go to each of the hours on the clock and map out the next part of the process.
Walk all the way around the clock and then look at what you’ve created.
Then once you’ve mapped it out you need to engage with your customers on it; you need to engage them, support them, nurture them, help them, bring clarity and understanding to them.
If you do that, the learning continuum will be complete.
The customer journey will be in your hands.
And the customer will identify more with you than your competition, because you know your customer better than them.
It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Just know your customer, especially, the lifelong learning circle, the journey that they go on; before they’re your customer, when they’re your customer and after they’re your customer.