Do you have customer presence in your business? Conversely, do you have strong brand presence in your customer’s mind? It may be hard to accept if your brand of product or service does not figure much in the customer’s life. At the end of the day that fact will manifest itself in sales. Maybe a rethinking of a customer’s path from realization to the buying action is called for. This is what is popularly known as Customer Journey.

Customer Journey is the walk that starts from complete unawareness of the customer of your brand to the actual purchase, which may or may not ultimately lead to loyalty to your brand. In between down the road are factors that constitute the customer’s experience.

Discovery of a Need or Want

The journey starts when the customer discovers a need or want. Interest in this need and want is awakened in the customer’s mind which is the start of awareness. Discovery may also start when she drifts into a store without anything specific in mind and takes an interest in something that she happens to see, and thinks “Hey, I could use this! It looks good! I want this!” This is where the customer starts to grasp the content of reaching out materials like direct mailers, advertising efforts both in traditional and cyber media, and the social network. The power of good old word-of-mouth endorsements should not be underestimated. In store, an alert salesperson approaching her and explaining more about the product creates a great impact and could lead to a sale.

Getting the Product

The Customer Now Sets Out To Get The Product. Here is a most crucial part of the so-called journey or experience. This is a make-or-break thing. The tipping point on which depends her resolve to keep on buying your product or service. Or not. Your product may be the best and most affordable, but the customer’s experience in buying it may not be the best she has had. This is where that overused but under-accomplished phrase in marketing and business comes in Customer Service. Customer Service should not just be a title of a department in an establishment or office. It should be a norm that should be taken to heart by everyone who comes in contact with customers whether personally, by phone, online or mailed or distributed promotional materials.

Importance of Customer Service

Customer service lapses that are becoming regular practice. A salesclerk in a supermarket who keeps walking away while trying to reply to an inquiring customer is not practicing good customer service. Even the tone of voice over the phone can reveal a lack of ownership of a customer’s problem. One doesn’t have to loudly utter the words, “Well, that’s your problem, you’re on your own now” to express that thought. Replies like “If it’s not there, then we don’t carry it”; “As you can see I’m on the phone” and “I have other customers to attend to” can send a customer scurrying away. Gone are the days of salesgirls hovering outside fitting rooms while customers try on the item, solicitously asking the customer if the size is fine if she likes the fit. Try wanting to know about a potential buy in a humungous retail store, and there is absolutely no store personnel to ask. It could be frustrating, and you wonder why so many people go to that place. BUT! If a salesclerk stops, listens to you and answers with, “It’s on aisle 3. Would you like me to show it to you?” If someone tells the customer, “Oh, I can help you with that!”; When a sales agent on the phone goes the extra mile to find out the best options to fix your problem, then your business has a chance. These are only very few examples of real life experiences a customer undergoes. Many others can spell doom or shout success to your business.

The After-Sales Part Of The Journey

Promotional offers of discounts and bonus gifts to show appreciation of a customer’s purchase goes a long way in getting her goodwill. Follow ups on how a service availed by a customer gives her a chance to express either satisfaction or concern about the service. After-sales reaching out is likewise a good venue for you to introduce a new product. A customer may be given an introductory gift or discount. Most of these practices are being cleverly handled now by big companies and stores. New ideas are constantly being hatched up by advertising and promotions agencies. All to keep the interest and trigger the subsequent favorable action of the Almighty Customer.

Remember: a customer doesn’t simply materialize like magic in your establishment. She has to take the Customer Journey. Time to ask yourself: “Does A Customer Journey Lead The Customer To My Business?”