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How do you improve the customer journey in industry?


15-02-2019 Audrey Varin

Did you know that 80% of the customer’s path to purchase takes place on the Internet?

Nowadays, buyers go through the path to purchase on their own. That is why it is so important today for industrial parts vendors to change their perception of the customer, since the era of the mass market and mass purchase funnel is well and truly over!

Unlike the B2C market, there is no such thing as impulse buying in industry. Purchases are driven exclusively by necessity, and companies only look for new providers in specific cases, such as to satisfy new requirements or overcome a problem.

 

1 – Define the customer journey

The path to purchase features four stages that you should examine in closer detail if you want to understand how to lead your target straight to you.

Thanks to this typical journey, you will find it easier to identify all the actions that customers have performed between realizing that they have a need and confirming the purchase.

Discovery: when awareness dawns, the “Why”.
This is the expression of a need or problem.

Search: when the buyer starts looking for a solution
Potential buyers spend an average of three to six hours a week browsing different websites. They look at an average of six different websites during their search, and 56% of them subscribe to newsletters and ask questions in forums.

Evaluation: when buyers weigh up the solutions available, the “How”.
The search is over. Buyers know which solution they need. Now they need to look for a supplier. This is when your website is likely to be visited.

Decision: the decision-making phase, the “Who”.
On average, five people are involved in the purchase. The greater the purchase, the more people involved.

That is why you need to be capable of producing content tailored to different profiles. For example, you will tend to talk about certification and standards when addressing a buyer, whereas talk will focus on technical details when speaking with an engineer.

 

Download our example of a “static” customer journey, which shows the marketing tools that can be used for each of the phases in the path to purchase.

 

Download the infographic on the purchasing process
 

2 – Understand the customer journey

To gain a clearer insight into the customer journey and define any difficulties encountered during the path to purchase, the first stage involves organizing interviews by selecting several customers at random from the database.

You will need to designate a person to deal with organizing the interviews and listing any feedback. In addition, more and more companies are appointing “Customer Happiness Managers” to oversee the wellness aspect of the relationship between the customer and the provider.

These interviews are aimed at determining:

  • How did you company become part of your customer’s life?
  • How is your company involved in their everyday life?
  • Is your company a help or a hindrance?
  • What possible improvements could be made?
  • What are the customer’s expectations?
  • In what ways is the customer frustrated?

When it comes to interviews, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. The aim is to simply understand your customer’s needs and problems in order to define a list of potential areas for improvement.

It is essential to share feedback with managers and teams within the company, instead of reserving such information for an elite group.

 

3 – Become an influencer in the path to purchase

Once you have determined the obstacles impeding your customers’ path to purchase, you can take the necessary corrective action.

Action #1: visitors go to your website for the first time. The aim is to discover who those visitors are. How? For example, you can offer them interesting content featured in an e-book. You could even set up a chatbot to automatically interact with visitors on your website.

Action #2: when visitors download your content (product data sheet, e-book, etc.), offer them additional content. You could also implement an online survey to find out more about your visitors’ content needs.

Action #3: ensuring easy navigation on the website is essential for letting visitors know exactly where they can find the required information.

Actions #4: increase the number of calls to action on the website. Ensure that your buyers can contact you or access the relevant information as easily as possible. Using tailor-made CTAs for your buyers is the key to significantly ramping up your conversion rates.

 

Follow RS Components’ example and become an influencer in the path to purchase

Find out how the Customer Experience acts as the guiding light for every action at RS Components.

We analyzed what our customers wanted in order to accelerate and improve their design process. We noted that the amount of studies carried out in 3D was climbing strongly, reaching as much as 70% in Europe. Therefore, we forged a partnership with our suppliers so that they could help provide our customers with 3D models for most of their parts.

We had a stringent list of requirements, including quality of service, models in all the main CAD formats and high visibility.

Read the customer case.

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