Awareness→Acquisition→Engagement →Conversion →Adoption →Loyalty→Advocacy
Holistic Design Approach for building and maturing products or services for specific customer segments needs a clear understanding on how customer gets engaged with your product or service. This framework of ‘Customer Engagement Journey’ would help ‘product owners’, and product companies to make sure they understand different stages of this journey, and design engagement and conversion strategies accordingly.
Different inputs are required throughout the Customer Engagement Journey to ensure the visitors become loyal customers. One could also look at this as a funnel and put some metrics on the numbers, and keep tracking the conversion statistics to measure the success. Here I am decoding individual stage of the Journey…
- Awareness: Prospective Customers should get to know that the solution exists. A lot of times, people having specific pain points do not even know the availability of a solution, and making sure to reach the prospects is the first stage of the customer journey.
- Acquisition: After we have established the prospects of our service, having specific needs or pain points, how to make them visit our product/service website is the next step. I call it acquisition because we are getting their attention, and get them to visitors of our web site, blog, or any other public information system. this is the second stage of the journey.
- Engagement: Once the prospects visit our website, they generally have a very short attention span. (measured in seconds) Creating engaging content, will ensure, users spend enough time on the web site, to learn more about the solution, its benefits, and if our service can solve their problems. Engagement is the third step in the journey.
- Conversion: Once prospects spend time on the website, the next critical step in the journey is to make them sign up. I call this step ‘Conversion’ because this step aims at converting the ‘Visitors’ to ‘Users’. This is the most critical stage in the whole customer journey.
- In B2B applications, it could be the decision maker accepting to sign up for a pilot or trial subscription by creating an account and assigning a user/user group who would explore how the tool can be leveraged.
- In the case of B2C applications, customer and user might be one and the same, and customer creates an account and commits to spend some effort in exploring the product, inputs basic basic information, and is eager to see the benefits of the solution.
- In case the service has a ‘Freemium model’, the trial usage might take some time for the user to get convinced and convert the account to a ‘Paid’ account. This actually converts the visitor to a ‘Paid Customer’ This is the most difficult stage of the journey for the business, because more the conversions = more the revenue!
- The Conversion stage of the journey needs focused strategic design inputs, product companies need to make sure their product has a very Easy to use, easy to learn way of using every feature. Also earlier the customer see any tangible benefits, higher the chance of converting into paid accounts.
- Adoption : After conversion, (creating paid account) there is always a possibility of customers not using the product enough, and in the world of ‘Pay per use’ model, they will not even renew the account. Gone are the days, when users used to buy a perpetual license for a hefty sum, and then we need not worry, even if the user does not use the product. In the world of Pay per use model, customers may not continue paying from next month and all the efforts till date go for a toss. For the Cloud or pay per use model, It is absolutely important to make sure users and customers adapt to the service, and start bringing their live data onto the platform, and start contributing and consuming regularly.
- In case of B2B Applications, where decision makers and users are different, making sure the onboarding of new users in bulk is easy, and login uses the one universal authentication. Also importantly every user in every role should feel the need to using it more. The stickiness of the interface at feature level can work wonders in this stage of the journey.
- In case of B2C the chance of users not using the account and eventually not renewing the license are higher. in such cases, apart from stickiness, Collaboration, and Regular ‘non-intrusive’ nudge can be very effective. Many products use social nudging, gamification and community building for increasing stickiness of the product.
- Loyalty: After the Adoption stage, some customers may migrate to the ‘Loyal Customer‘ status, This happens because of the satisfaction and stickiness of the service. A loyal customer is likely to buy additional services, buy more accounts for family/friends in case of B2C, or in case of B2C customers, onboard more employees from other geography, or departments to use the service. This will result in scaling of the business without going through the pains of the steps before. Increased Loyalty almost every-time results in growth of the revenue. Product teams need to ensure their ‘scaling strategy, bulk onboarding possibilities, and most importantly, ‘Self help kind of onboarding processes to be ready for this stage of the journey.
- Advocacy: Advocacy is the ultimate stage of customers’ engagement with the company. After customers use the service for their own purpose, they can become your brand ambassadors and start promoting your product or service. Having few Customer Advocates is the ultimate dream any product or service company can think of. Getting the customers to this stage might be super difficult, but extremely rewarding for the company. A privilege of your customers promoting your product will surely boost your business. Simplicity in signing up, Easy to use interactions, Easily learnable, and consistent workflow behaviours, and most importantly users delight, makes your product sticky, popular and ‘flaunt-able’.
- This last stage of the journey is a culmination of all the efforts the product team takes from marketing, promotion, sales, onboarding, Help and support, update frequency and quality, rewarding systems, gamified loyalty features, and so on.
Use of the ‘Customer Engagement Journey‘ framework:
When you look at the customer engagement journey stages kind of a funnel. More and more customers start engaging with your business and mature their engagement through these steps means increased business. How to make sure more and more prospective customers get aware, and move through these stages forward ?
You could be a ‘Cloud Enterprise solution company or just a B2C Service, every product or service needs a different approach and ideas for increasing the efficiency of this funnel, and growing your business.
At Thought-Craft Innovation studio (https://thought-craft.com/), we have structured various activities and methods to first establish the target audience and then to convert the customer to Loyal customers and even become your brand ambassadors.
Are you interested in learning how we can help you with establishing and harnessing your customers’ lifecycle to increase your business?