Assessing the performance at each stage of the customer journey is the most fruitful tool for business success.
If you are driving a lot of traffic to your site, but you aren’t converting, you need to be able to pinpoint at which point this traffic leaves your site.
Once you know this, you can then address the issue to insure higher conversion and the future success of your business.
There are a few metrics that should be tracked in regards to the customer journey, which can offer significant insight into the customer base and can lead to higher conversion and retention. Even if your business is doing well, monitoring how your business is converting is important to inform future marketing campaign strategies.
Namely, is your conversion coming from new customers that never return, or is it from a select few of returning customers? Knowing this information will help decipher whether time and resources should be invested in marketing for new customer engagement or if it should be invested in customer loyalty efforts.
Tracking the Customer Journey
The best way to leverage the customer journey is to understand what is occurring at each level and then generate targeted content to improve performance. This can be done via the five stages of the customer buying cycle, which are:
- Awareness – In this stage, your customers identify needs that they have and realize that your company can potentially fulfils those needs. To leverage this stage you need to create content that attracts the customer to your business as a possibility to meet that need. Your company must be visible in search results.
- Consideration - With this stage, the customers will evaluate how well your business can meet their needs, depending on services offered, and they will be comparing your business to other competitors. The way to leverage this stage is to capture the customers by making your business look like the best solution amidst the competition.
- Preference/Intent – This is the determining factor that guides a customer towards one solution over another, whether logically or emotionally, which leads to the actual conversion of the customer to purchase. To leverage this stage you need to nurture the inclination within the customer to convert. Past customer testimonials can be useful for building new relationships.
- Purchase – This stage is the actual act of conversion or buying from your business. This area can be leveraged by offering incentives to solidify the sale, like limited time offers.
- Repurchase – This area is based on customer satisfaction that would instill a desire to return. In order to leverage this stage, you need to follow up and maintain a relationship with customers, and offer further incentives to encourage repeat business and inspire brand advocacy.
Tracking the Customer Journey Requires Tools
In order to track the customer journey and truly understand how your business is performing, you will need to implement some kind of executive dashboard. Ultimately, a good dashboard helps your business to be more efficient and to organize your most important business data in a clear and coherent way.
Google Analytics is a fantastic start, as it’s free and easy to install, and is actually being used by “82% of all websites whose traffic analysis tools are known”, as stated in this blog from analytics software company Datapine.
As useful as Google Analytics is, however, the vast amount of data can be overwhelming. In order to be able to keep this data organized and have a coherent place to start and to make cyphering through this data easier, you may want to incorporate analytics software that allows you to take your Google Analytics data and make it a little more comprehensible.
Getting Use out of Your Data
Just having this data and seeing how your customer base is responding to your brand is not enough. In order to actually improve market performance, you need to put this information to work for you. One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is to either not monitor operations, or to have the monitoring tools, but do nothing with that information. The analytical data that you get from your dashboard can point out potential problem areas that can be addressed before they become detrimental to business.
In addition, customer satisfaction is one metric that effects all aspects of the customer journey and a highly significant component to your company’s ability for customer retention. Focusing on customer satisfaction not only secures repeat business, but it also works to reduce present costs as well.
In a McKinsey & Company report from March 2014, they note that the key to customer satisfaction is reliability and that “consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty.”
Consistency is the determining factor that establishes a relationship of trust between customer and company, which is “important for long-term growth.” This stems from not only from a consistency of service, but also a consistency in communication, such as via social media, emailing, phone calls and face-to-face.
Your company is only as successful as its ability to secure customers. Paying close attention to the strengths and weaknesses in the customer journey and how your customer base is responding to your brand is the only foolproof way to increase conversion and develop retention.