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A person with a laptop computer presumably embarking on a customer journey.

Customer journey: the key to a successful business

When visitors first come to your website, you want to ensure that they have the most memorable and satisfying experience as possible. How? By building—and understanding—the customer journey.

When you lay the foundation for a successful and profitable customer journey, you’re able to reduce costs, increase revenue, and build a mutual relationship that generates customer loyalty.

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the complete path a user has before, during, and after contact with a business, ultimately making a purchasing decision or signing up for a service. This includes every customer interaction from all channels, including your website and social media, devices, and touchpoints throughout the customer lifecycle.

The total time of a customer journey can take days or weeks, spanning multiple channels and touchpoints. If your teams aren’t aligned on creating a singular, holistic, and seamless experience, you might find it harder to compete in this hyper-competitive, omnichannel marketplace.

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Dynamics 365 helps simplify the user experience

Learn how you can deliver what your customers want and need with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights—a real-time customer platform providing the data necessary to build financially successful digital channels.

The benefits of optimizing your customer journey

The purpose of the customer journey is to evaluate and anticipate your users’ behavior. By accurately predicting their needs before they even visit your site, you’ll increase your chances of a successful customer interaction.

Some of the benefits to defining your customer journey are to:

Measure and improve the customer experience.

By analyzing the end-to-end journey across all channels and over time, you’ll be able to see challenges in your marketing strategy and improve the customer experience.

Increase operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Identify where there are opportunities to streamline ineffective customer journeys that lower customer effort, while decreasing operational costs.

Manage customer retention.

By scrutinizing your customer journeys, including their behavioral triggers that result in high frequencies of churn, you’re able to quickly determine which areas of your customer experience needs editing to increase retention.

Boost your revenue.

When your organization is able to improve the user experience by pinpointing customer’s needs, you’ll implement successful marketing strategies that upsell and cross-sell to those most likely to convert, maximizing your revenue.

The framework to building the customer journey

When you explore the journey your customer takes, you first have to understand their needs and empathize with them. Everything they will see, hear, and feel will follow them throughout each business touchpoint. From identifying and examining each of these points, you will be able to focus on how they will engage or buy by mapping the customer journey.

The framework should include:

  1. Actions: What actions will your customer take to move to the next stage of the buying process? And what are the actions when they don’t move on?

  2. Motivation: What is the problem he or she is trying to solve?

  3. Questions: What will your user need answered before making a purchase?

  4. Pain points: What obstacles are preventing your customer from purchasing?

By gaining insights into your mapping framework, you’ll be able to think from the perspective of your customer and view if your current customer experience is meeting the customer’s expectation. Once you’ve mapped the journey, you can dive into the importance of each touchpoint.

Understanding touchpoints

Touchpoints are the key to understanding when, how, where and why your customer interactions take place. They’re defined as the point of interaction across the five phases of the customer lifecycle:

  1. Awareness. Spreading information before a purchase, including general awareness about the product or service to your target audience.

  2. Consideration. The evaluation of a product before making a purchase, as well as researching for alternatives.

  3. Conversion. Prompting users to take a certain action with a dedicated CTA, usually to buy or sign up.

  4. Retention. A happy customer who continually brings consistent business or makes consistent purchases.

  5. Advocacy.A returning customer who tells others of their experience by sharing reviews or opinions through word-of-mouth marketing.

Customers can interact with any traditional and digital media or communication your company delivers. This includes your company website, emails, social media, phone calls, customer service interactions, customer loyalty programs, paid advertisements, and physical retail stores.

Identifying key touchpoints helps your team manage expectations and evaluate successes—and misses—so that you make rolling improvements and deliver a great experience. By optimizing those touchpoints, you’re able to pinpoint exactly what your users are looking for and how to provide it to them.

Journey mapping vs. journey analytics

As customer journey mapping is a standard practice, it lacks the details needed to illustrate the unique behaviors of your customers. Maps represent just a few types of journeys while journey analytics can provide a much larger picture of your clientele.

Some of the advantages of focusing on journey analytics are:

  • Data-driven analytics to help create a more well-rounded picture of your customer base, and don’t allow for your customers’ behaviors to be misinterpreted.

  • Providing real-time information with the ability to see how that data changes over time, measured in complex omnichannel journeys.

  • Offering more actionable insights that teams across the organization can act upon.

  • Streamlining testing to potentially improve customer experiences with comprehensive, optimized interaction data.

  • Uncovering the root causes of customer experience problems through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

While mapping can offer your business a visual snapshot of the customer journey, uncovering the journey analytics directly measures and quantifies that behavior. Implementing a customer insights tool that has the capabilities of both will ensure your business is ready to enhance its customer experience.

Understanding the journey with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

The amount of time it takes to identify journeys, understand performance, and optimize based on the customer experience can vary. It may seem simple to fix a few obvious problems throughout the journey but delving into the specifics may be what your team needs to build a successful customer journey.

With constant changes in technology, it’s essential to have up-to-date technology so you can understand your customers and how they’ll interact with every facet of your business. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights helps your team gain user knowledge while predicting how customers will engage with your content and learn to trust your product or service.