Think There are Just 2 Stages in a Customer Journey, Think Again


So if I asked you how many stages there are in a customer journey, what would you say?

Some of you might ask, “Journey? What customer journey?” If that’s the case, you may need more than just this blog to get you on the road to recovery. Most might assume there are at least two stages — a lead/prospect and a paying customer. You would be correct that these are two of the stages, but not the only two. In fact, there are two types of stages — Pre-Purchase Stages and Post-Purchase Stages with separate stages within. Confused yet? Stay with me now, it makes sense when you really think about it.

Very seldom does someone say to themselves, “I need an electrician, and I’m going to call XYZ Company.” The only time they will do this is if they have already heard of XYZ Company, found them on an Internet search, been referred to them by someone else, or used them for a prior project.

Right there you can see how the other stages fit into the mix. So let’s break it down, shall we?

Pre-Purchase Stages

  1. Engagement: In other words, brand awareness. Prospects need to know you exist before they can use your services.
  2. Education: Prospects also need to be aware of the problem or pain point and be able to identify what it is before they can go looking for a solution.
  3. Research: Once the prospect has identified the problem, then they start their homework. Will they find you?
  4. Evaluation: Assuming they do find you, you and your products and services will be compared to others. They’ll look at your website, your people, your trucks, your testimonials and reviews. You name it, they’re looking at it to make an informed decision.
  5. Justification: Sometimes your prospect isn’t the only decision maker, so they then need to be able to justify their decision to others. What can you provide them to help them pitch their case on your behalf and justify the purchase?
  6. Purchase: Hallelujah! They sign your proposal. Congratulations. But your work isn’t done!

Post-Purchase Stages

  1. Adoption: Some call this stage, “onboarding” or you can think of it as implementation. In other words…doing the job you were contracted to do. How well will you perform? Any bumps along the way? What can you do in this stage to keep your customers happy and engaged?
  2. Retention: The best customers are the ones that come back again and again. Just look up…a repeat customer can skip several of the aforementioned steps, making their life (and yours) much easier…but ONLY if you perform the first job to their satisfaction.
  3. Expansion: Another way to think of expansion is in the “up-sell” or “cross-sell”. While you have been contracted for one type of project, what can you do/share/offer to your customers that will solve a companion want and/or need for them, that also puts additional revenue in your pocket?
  4. Advocacy: Ahh…customer loyalty. Not only to THEY come back over and over, but they refer other customers to you and are out their singing your praises. What can you do to increase your customer loyalty? What do you do to thank your customers for such a kind and generous gesture?

You might be surprised to learn that these additional stages exist, but if you take the time to look at your past customers and insert them into these stages, you’ll likely find that they’ve only experienced two or three of them. Try reconnecting with them (and that doesn’t mean reaching back out a year later to re-sell them), or work these stages into your next customer and let us know how it goes.

If you need help mapping out your journey, give us a call at 410-366-9479 or email us at [email protected].

Incite Creative is a marketing strategy and creative implementation firm that works in an outsourced capacity. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999 we’ve had the pleasure of building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success has positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and their bottom line. Stop paying for digital and/or traditional services you may not really need. Our retainer, no mark-up model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. The recommendations we make align with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact Dina Wasmer at 410-366-9479 or [email protected].