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What is a customer journey and why do businesses need one? Plus, how to get started.

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What is a client journey?

A client journey, or customer journey, maps the various touch points from initial contact to project completion and ongoing activity. It goes beyond just the purchase, following how your clients engage with your services before, during and after they buy. Each journey should be unique to each interaction.

The client journey is typically divided into five main stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, delivery and retention. These individual stages work together to shape the journey. Understanding and optimizing your client’s journey is critical to enhancing customer experiences and fostering lasting relationships.

In summary: a client journey is the entire process that a client goes through. It starts from their initial awareness of your business, right through to the final, post-purchase phase.

Why are client journeys SO important?

Mapping the client journey is critical for your business to evaluate, improve and streamline interactions with your customers. It provides insights for how you can enhance customer experience and identify opportunities to automate. Optimizing your client journey means you can maximize your team’s efficiency, plus your customers will have a seamless experience. 

Benefits of a well planned client journey

Customer advocacy

Since you created such an incredible experience for your clients, they will champion your business to their peers. You’ve not only laid the foundation for them to become repeat customers, you’ve also created opportunities for new business from their recommendations. 

Competitive advantage

Many businesses have poorly thought out –or worse, no set client journey. A well oiled client journey that considers your customers at each stage helps you gain an edge over your competition.

Saving time & money

A solid client journey shows opportunities to automate processes. Your team will spend less time on manual admin tasks which leaves more time for important tasks like lead generation, sales calls, and networking, ultimately making you more money.

Growth & scalability

All of the above benefits support your business to continue to grow and scale. As you grow your team, raise your rates and elevate your services, the groundwork you have put into your client journey ensures your business is sustainable and ready to thrive.

The stages of a client journey

As we mentioned earlier, the five pillars of a client journey are: awareness, consideration, purchase, delivery and retention. Below you’ll find a brief overview of each.

Awareness Stage

In this stage, a potential client becomes aware of your business. The goal is to create an initial connection and build brand awareness. This stage is about helping your prospects recognize their problem and communicating how you can solve it. In the digital age, the best way to do this is to have a strong internet presence. Whether on your website, socials, email marketing, online reviews or any other channel, messaging should be clear in sharing what you offer, what problem you are solving, and how.

Consideration Stage

Your potential client has become aware of your business and offering and are trying to assess how it can meet their needs or solve their problem. Your job is now to educate. More often than not, they are also evaluating competitors and comparing. A well-thought out process and efficient systems helps your business stand out. When the prospect reaches out, you must have all the information (pricing, benefits, competitive features, etc.) prepared and readily available. The goal of this stage is to create a connection with customers and encourage them to commit and move on to the next step.

Purchase Stage

Now, the prospect feels confident moving ahead with your business. They are ready to commit. This is an opportunity to confirm that they have made the right choice by providing a seamless and thoughtful experience. This stage sets the tone for the entire relationship with your company. Whether you are selling a product or a service, some form of onboarding will exist. This could include: the payment & shipping process, the intake process, or a welcome package/email. Take your time to plan this stage carefully: The smoother, more thoughtful and organized you are, the more confident your customer will feel that they have made the right decision.

Delivery Stage

Your customer is experiencing or using the product or service in whichever format that may take. Since each business is unique in what they offer, this stage will look vastly different for each. In many cases, the client is expecting communication from your business. If the product or service exceeds a one time transaction then it is important to have strong project management practices in place. Perhaps the customer needs a guide or support on how to use the product or service. Having a simple, digestible guide and open communication helps your customer get the most out of what you have sold them.

Retention Stage

The final stage includes the off-boarding (if necessary), post-project, post-delivery and follow up engagement. Ignoring this stage is leaving opportunity and money on the table. The goal of this stage is to get feedback as well as provide resources and channels to contact your business post-delivery. Ideally to create opportunities for repeat business, perhaps a discount for their next purchase, a chance to join an affiliate program, or a monthly newsletter. Maintaining organized records of your customers during and after their purchase means that you can use the context and history of their interactions with your business to support and encourage repurchase in the future. This is where a good CRM comes into hand. 

And you’re done! Well, not exactly. Your next job in mapping your client journey is applying these stages and understanding the best practices for your own business. Download our infographic to learn in more detail how you can map a thoughtful and effective client journey. 

Next steps

When you’re thinking through your client journey, keep in mind that every stage should further familiarize your brand with a client and leave a lasting impression. This can only be done successfully if every step of your journey is well thought out, and you are aware of exactly what is happening at each stage.

This blog provides a high-level overview of what it means to map a client journey, to get the full picture we’ve created a self-lead course which you learn more about here. Need more support? Here at The Systems Queens, we are pros at mapping a client journey, helping you understand which systems will support it and getting you started with those systems. Have we peaked your interest? Check out all our coaching sessions including our Client Journey Mapping Roadmap and Implementation Package. Mention this blog for 20% your course or package. Not sure which is best for you? Book a free consultation with our team and let us guide you on your journey to taking your business to the next level. 

CRMs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution!

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