A customer journey is a visual representation of the steps a customer takes to interact with a product in one or more channels. It outlines the customer’s experience from their initial awareness of the product through the post-purchase evaluation.
Understanding the customer journey is critical for product managers as it provides a comprehensive view of the customer experience with their products. It provides answers to what users want at each stage of the journey and in each channel (e.g. web or mobile). This understanding helps inform product development decisions and improves the overall customer experience and satisfaction.
Stages of the customer journey
There are several key stages of the customer journey and they vary depending on the company or product team. The following stages are suggested as a starting point:
- Awareness: The moment when the customer becomes aware of the product’s existence.
- Interest: The customer starts to show interest in the product and begins to research and gather information about it.
- Desire: The customer starts to form a desire for the product and begins to compare it to other similar products that meet the same needs.
- Action: The customer decides to purchase the product and takes action to do so.
- Retention: The customer continues to use the product and experiences its benefits.
- Advocacy: The customer becomes an advocate for the product and may recommend it to others.
Customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of the customer journey. It helps product managers understand the customer’s experience and identify pain points in the journey.
To create a customer journey map, start by defining the target audience and researching customer behavior. Customer interviews, focus groups, and surveys will help to understand your users and create user personas. During the research phase, you can begin mapping out the stages of the user journey and refining the map based on feedback and insights as you continue researching.
Integrating into product development
Understanding the customer journey will help inform product research and development by providing insights into the user’s needs, desires, and pain points. Furthermore, mapping the customer journey will help inform product design and testing to ensure the resulting product actually meets the previously-discovered needs.The customer journey is also important for positioning and go-to-market strategy as it will help identify the unique selling proposition and the unique market positioning of the product. A rigorous and intentional understanding of the customer journey will ultimately drive business success.