What is your customer’s journey? Why is it important?
December 15, 2021
Your business has customers, right? Of course, you do! Then each of your customers has a journey they experience as they seek to find your business, sign up for your service, participate in your service, and so on down the line. Every single touchpoint along this journey is important and is a key factor in generating customer leads, conversions, retention, and loyalty. Let’s attack the key steps along your customers’ journey and ways that you can increase the experience your customers are having.
HAVE A PLAN
First, you want to lead your customers down the path that YOU want them to go so you need to have a solid plan. You know what your customer is looking for and you know what you are selling better than anyone else. Don’t sell something that you can’t deliver or promise something that you don’t offer as this will lead to unhappy customers. As we all know, the beginning of the journey often makes a huge difference in your retention so having a play is key!
Second, you want to speak clearly to your audience. Make sure that you are marketing directly to the person that you are trying to attract. For example, if you offer swim lessons for kids, be sure that your advertisements are geared to parents with children. The images and text in your ad should speak warm fuzzies to moms and dads of kids in the age group that you are trying to attract. Let’s say you also offer a competitive swim team, and your program is award-winning. Although this is an awesome accomplishment, you must understand that this accolade may not be what attracts a mom of a 1-year-old to your school who is interested in beginner swim lessons for her toddler. So save the swim team ads and awards for the time of year when you are trying to attract swim team swimmers. You get the point!
HAVE A CLEAR VISION
Third, make sure that you share your vision with your team. It is crucial that everyone on your team understands, supports, and knows your vision. Ever hear of the Little Red Hen? She had a great idea of taking grain and making bread, but none of the animals on the farm could understand her vision so she had to do all the work herself. So what are your short and long-term goals, how do you plan to attain them, and what are your expectations of your employees? Be clear in all of these things, and make sure they are clear too. This will go a long way in your business’s success.
THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY & THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS
Why does a customer seek your business, and how are they searching for you? You may not realize this, but this is the customer's first impression of your business, so make it good. Find out what motivates them to do your sport or activity, and be sure to capitalize on large industry moments. For example, if you own a gymnastics club, prioritize promoting recreational gymnastics more than ever leading into, during, and post Olympics.
Where are your customers going to find you? Some obvious places are Google, social media, Yelp, etc. Do you have an online presence, and what does that presence look like?
What conversations are going on in your community about your business, and are people chatting with friends over coffee and asking if they know any good places to take their kids for children’s activities?
Are you actively involved in your community? Being active in your community can help create positive buzz and awareness about your business.
2) REACHING OUT
Okay, so now that the customer has searched online and/or talked to their neighbor, it's time to reach out to them. A key component to remember with communication is that the customer will likely communicate with you the way they prefer, so you should respond the same way. For example, if they email you, don’t reply and say check out our website and call it a day. You can include your website in the email and suggest they look there for more information, but only after you have thoroughly answered their questions. The same is true for phone calls and social media inquiries.
They will email, call, or message to get more information. Since this will be the first interaction with your business, you want to make it exceptional.
So what happens if they call your business? Is someone there to answer the phone, and if so, is that person knowledgeable and polite? Do they know how to ask for the correct information and, most importantly, get the person’s contact information before they hang up the phone? Maybe they aren’t ready to sign up that day, but getting their information will allow you to directly market your activities and services later on down the road.
If they email your business, how long does it take for them to get a response? Keep in mind that they may have emailed multiple places so you don’t want to be the last to respond. Does your email response have a call to action to get them to sign up for an activity? Is the email well-written, friendly, and void of typos? Perhaps create a template with some wiggle room to fill in some blanks.
If they go to your website, is it up-to-date with the most accurate information and schedules, and can they easily find what they are looking for and enroll on their own? Is your site easy to navigate?
iClassPro Tip: iClassPro makes it easy for you to engage with your customers with your very own one-stop shop Customer Portal. As an extension of your existing website or mobile app, your Customer Portal gives your customers access to easy online booking, account updates, payments, schools news, and so much more. You can even customize the Customer Portal to match your own brand or we can set it up for you. Click here to learn more about the Customer Portal.
If they send a message through social media, do you have someone paying attention to respond to those messages? A good tip here is to have an auto-message set up so they get an immediate response to direct them to your website or email address. Regardless you want to respond to the message and you want to do so as quickly as you can.
3) THINKING IT OVER
Now that they have contacted you, they are going to think about the information and decide their next steps. It is a great practice to track your lead to conversion rate because it will help you understand if you have a breakdown in your customer journey and where that breakdown could be. So be sure to find out:
- Do they sign up that day? (This is obviously the best outcome!)
- If they don’t sign up that day, do you have a plan to follow up? What is that plan?
- If they don’t sign up that day or any other day, do you know why?
Little Johnny’s mom did sign him up for swim lessons, yippee! Now, he is coming to your facility for the first time. So now you ask yourself:
- What does your facility look like? Is it clean, warm, welcoming, and friendly?
- Are you expecting them? Do you greet them by name?
- Does your facility give them warm fuzzy feelings when they walk in?
Johnny is happy and excited and off to class he goes! Now ask yourself:
- Is the activity time fun?
- Is the activity time organized and engaging?
- Does Johnny feel comfortable in class? Did the instructor take time to make sure Johnny was introduced to the other students? Perhaps assign a buddy for the new student.
- Did Johnny learn something new?
6) AFTER PARTICIPATION
Johnny has now participated in class, what happens next?
- Do Johnny and his mom just exit the building?
- Is there someone waiting to talk to them after class about the experience and get Johnny signed up?
- Does Johnny go home with anything? Perhaps a packet of information about your facility, or a thank you for participating certificate, a coupon to sign up.
7) FOLLOW UP/CLOSING
Johnny is either leaving signed up as the newest student at your facility or he is not. Both have feelings attached to them. Be sure to think about the following:
- Steps 1-6 impact this moment.
- Did your staff make them feel like they should enroll?
- Did they join or not join? If they join, do you thank them via welcome note or email? If they do not join, do you follow up to see if they’d like to join, or why they chose to not join your facility?
- When they do enroll, are you delivering on your promise or your vision? (This will impact your retention so this is very important.)
iClassPro Tip: iClassPro offers a variety of reports to help you follow your customer’s journey. With helpful reports like the New Enrollments List Report and the Drop Summary Report, you can easily see who has signed up for your classes/camps and can also find out why a customer stopped coming to your facility. To learn more about reports offered by iClassPro, click here.
Finally, do you check back in with your customers throughout the year(s), maybe 1-month after enrollment, 3-months, and so on?
In summary, evaluating steps 1-7 will help point out gaps in your customer journey, shining a light on areas where you are already a rockstar and areas where you could stand some improvement. And don’t forget that iClassPro can help you along that journey with easy-to-use communication tools like:
- Email blasts with easy email templates, automated emails, open and click analytics, and more
- SMS/text messaging, voice broadcast, and push notifications
Click here to learn about iClassPro’s various communication features.