The customer journey describes the experience that your customers have from the point when they first begin interacting with your brand, to the point when they have made a purchase. Improving your customer journey means bringing more customers back and increasing profits.
The term ‘customer journey’ might sound like one of those somewhat naff business terms that doesn’t mean all that much. It’s somewhat vague and abstract and paints an unrealistically appealing picture of what actually happens when someone starts using your business.
But don’t let that fool you. This term explains the complete sum of experiences that your customers will go through when interacting with your business. This explains their journey from landing on your website or stepping through your door, to buying a product. It means thinking about how you can increase your customer retention during that time and make sure that you convert as many visitors as possible.
But it also means thinking about customer satisfaction and how you can improve that journey so as to likewise improve the overal experience that your brand is offering. That may mean considering smaller aspects of your business that often get overlooked: such as the delivery and the service. It’s not just what you provide but how you provide it.
A Typical Customer Journey
So, what might this look like?
Perhaps it may look like this:
Customer spots your store/lands on your website à Customer enters/lands on your page and makes an initial impression à Customer browses and looks for the information/thing they want à Customer heads to the checkout with their item/heads to the ‘buy now’ page à Customer makes the purchase à Customer waits for the goods to be packaged/delivered à Customer enjoys product.
So how might we improve each step of this journey?
Well, for instance you might choose to welcome the new customer at the door. You might think about the music that plays or you might think about the air quality. If you’re running a website, then you might think about how to make your site clearer so that the user can find their way around and you might think about removing distracting or obtrusive ads.
You might then think about how to provide information more readily. Often though, improving the customer journey will mean thinking about packaging and delivery.
Packaging and Delivery for a Better Customer Experience
There are many elements that make up a great business and these include everything from the team morale to the marketing and branding. Often though it is the smaller elements that go forgotten that can end up letting a company down, and one classic example of this is the packaging and delivery. It might seem like it's just a small part of your overall strategy – unimportant even – but in fact it could be the secret to your success or the cause of your failure…
What Great Packaging and Delivery do for You
Let's imagine for instance that you run a business that buys and sells goods online. This is a common way for a company to make money and a simple and easy business model that many of us follow.
Now in this situation the packaging and the delivery is absolutely one of the biggest aspects of your business. Why? Because it is the only thing that actually sets your company apart from others.
Let's say for instance that you buy a book from a company on Amazon. The company that sells you that book has nothing to do with the product and so from your perspective you have no reason to want to use them again or otherwise. However, if the packaging is particularly good or bad then this is one way in which that business can then stand apart.
Delivery Means More Than You Think
Here the delivery is also important of course – because it refers to how quickly and efficiently the product got to you and it creates the overall 'customer experience' from your end.
But delivery doesn't only refer to businesses that send things, it can actually be relevant for any company. For instance if you eat out at a restaurant, then delivery refers to the way in which the food arrives and the flourish with which the waiter presents it. If you run a consulting agency, then the delivery is the speed at which you respond to e-mails, and your politeness and chat in those e-mails. The 'packaging' here could be the way in which you dress up your e-mails with your branding and design.
Some Top Tips
With all this in mind, how do you ensure that your packaging and delivery always enhance your business rather than detracting from it?
Under-Promise and Over Deliver
People love surprises, but only when they're good. A mistake that many companies make is to promise the world to try and beat the competition and then to set themselves up for a fall. Be cautious in your estimations of when and how your service or product will arrive and then strive to beat those expectations. That surprise is a positive emotion you want associated with your brand!
Better yet, why not throw in a freebie? Ever bought a phone case online and been given a free stylus? It's always a nice feeling and it always encourages good reviews.
Investing in your packaging is one of the best things you can possibly do. Even a bad product will be better received it is well presented, so spending more money on the right packaging is a great way to make sure that you are putting your customers first – and it will pay you back in the long run.
Have a Sense of Humor
Your delivery is the point at which you create relationship with your customer, which is why it's so important that you pay attention and take care to be attentive. Something that never hurts is to use a little humor which will buy you good will and help your clients or customers to warm to you. Make sure this humor is deployed appropriately however.
Use Strong Branding
Strong branding coupled with good packaging and delivery can create an almost Pavlovian response to help boost your business. Like that feeling you get when you see an Amazon package and can't wait to tear it open. Choose branding that will work with your packaging and make sure it is prominently placed!
Other Ways to Improve the Customer Journey
Like we said, improving the packaging and delivery is just one way to improve the customer experience. There are many more, which include:
- Adding thank you notes
- Following up sales and asking if the customer is satisfied
- Greeting the customer on their arrival
- Improving the environment
- Making it easier to get information