Customer journey stages: An essential guide

  • ServiceNow Blog
  • Solutions
  • 2023
  • Customer Experience
15 May 2023

Customer journey stages: An essential guide

Customers are vital to the success of any business. To understand how engaged your customers are, you need to put yourself in their shoes and live their experience.

Let’s look at the customer journey stages and how to approach them to build loyalty, encourage returning customers, and lead your business to success.

Why is the customer journey important?

The customer journey is important for each individual who purchases a product or service, as it reveals their experience from beginning to end. Was the purchasing process smooth and hassle-free, or did it have unpleasant hurdles along the way? The journey includes how you attract and acquire new customers as well as how you retain existing ones.

If a customer has a bad experience, they can complain about you to others. Their criticism can spread via social media. This can damage your reputation and make it more difficult to attract new customers.

However, you can learn from negative customer journeys by collecting feedback on the issues encountered. By identifying pain points and addressing them, you can improve the customer lifecycle and enhance the journey, which can result in a great customer experience.

5 stages of the customer journey

It’s crucial to be aware of the five customer journey stages to understand how you can move customers through their journey with you as seamlessly as possible.

1. Awareness

Prior to interacting with or purchasing from you, customers may have heard about your brand or found you on various social media channels. At this stage, they know you exist. You must convince them to consider your product or service.

To make your brand easy to find, you need to understand your target audience, create customer personas, and use campaigns to get their attention. For example, you could use press releases, social media posts, email campaigns, your website and blogs, and paid ads to market your brand and services.

2. Consideration

Several factors can affect this phase, including cost, reputation, and urgency. These components influence prospects when they consider your product or service.

This is a pivotal stage, as customers need information to make decisions. Therefore, give them as much information as you can about your product or service, including answers to frequently asked questions, customer reviews, and detailed specifications. You may even want to offer a sample or free trial.

3. Decision

As potential customers progress to the decision stage, you don’t want to lose them. Consider what informs and motivates their purchasing decisions.

For example, you could provide a discount or a gift. The process must be smooth and easy. If customer support isn’t helpful, the buying process may be disrupted, and you might lose prospects to a competitor.

4. Retention

Once you have customers in your buying funnel, you don’t want to lose them. Getting new customers can cost more than keeping existing ones. Therefore, don’t become complacent once potential customers convert. Ask for feedback about the product or service and stay in touch.

According to Gallup, fully engaged customers are 23% more likely than the average customer to purchase from a brand or company they are loyal to.

Therefore, try to turn your customers into long-term customers. Elevate customer loyalty through communications about special offers and products or services. Remind your customers to renew their membership or subscription, if applicable, and update them on your business.

5. Advocacy

During this stage, encourage your customers to tell others about their experience with your company. Keep in mind they may have negative things to say if it was not great.

Research by shows that 38% of customers think reading reviews is the most helpful way to guide a purchasing decision. Therefore, ask customers to post a review and recommend your brand to their friends and family.

Because people are generally busy, they may not always get around to recommending or reviewing your product or service. To combat this, provide an incentive, such as a discount on a future purchase for posting a review.

You can also create a referral programme where customers receive a discount or gift when a person they recommended makes a purchase from you.

To attract and retain customers, you must understand their needs and expectations and offer a seamless journey that boosts customer satisfaction and encourages loyalty. ServiceNow Customer Service Management gives you everything you need to build a successful customer journey. The Now Platform offers advanced solutions that help you build and maintain long-term customer relationships.

Find out more about how ServiceNow helps organisations improve customer experience.

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