One of my key learnings of the Design Thinking for Start Ups module has been the understanding potential customer’s needs and aspirations in order to discover gaps in the market or how products or services can be improved. Later in the module I was taught about the customer journey.
The complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with a company or brand can be defined as the customer journey. I often assume that a customer’s experiences are only the purchasing and use of a product of service. But there is much more to a customer journey. Instead of looking at just a segment of a transaction or encounter, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
I learnt about the zero moment of truth in this module. Before the internet and online shopping, most customer experiences started either through an advertising campaign or in retail spaces. However, the internet has made finding and researching products and brands possible before these traditional early engagements. Interested consumers now have unlimited resources at their fingertips for research, fact-checks, price comparisons and testimonials.
This means that businesses have had to change their marketing and customer service strategies according to Lecinski (2011). Customer reviews are now crucial therefore it is important to gain genuine product reviews and also to have these spread among various third party review websites. Social media has become a vital part of marketing. Brands and businesses need to ensure that their social media strategies appear active, responsive and conscious about the industries they function in. Blogging is an integral part of this as it serves to address customer concerns as well as providing insightful content to gain customer’s trust. When organic efforts are not producing the required effects, paid search ads and search engine optimization can help to connect with users of high intent.
An effective way of getting into the customer mindset is the customer journey map. This requires mapping the different stages that a customer interacts with your brand or business. These interactions or moments when customers come in to contact with your brand or business are known as touchpoints. These include advertising campaigns, social media campaigns, customer reviews, interactions with customer services teams to name a few. In order to formulate a customer journey map you need to think about the different touchpoints from the customer’s discovery of your brand right through to after the sale of the product or service. The touchpoints then need to be analysed and weaknesses and required improvements need to be identified.
The customer journey is a great way to understand not only what your clients need. But it also helps to envision the different steps and processes of customer interaction with your brand or business outside of just the purchase. This gave me excellent insight into how I neglected certain parts of the customer journey with my business Babatunde. If I start another business, I will be sure to make use of the customer journey map to take full advantage of every step and touchpoint in this journey. Not only is this important for acquiring new customers, but it’s essential for keeping existing customers loyal to your brand. This learning was also helpful for our Experiencing the Creative Industries module as I was tasked with creating different touchpoints for my campaign for the D&AD New Blood Competition.
Lecinski, J. (2011) Winning the Zero Moment of Truth. Think With Google