A New Way to Plot the Customer Journey

A New Way to Plot the Customer Journey

Plotting a showroom’s customer journey is a highly effective tool to build trust, enhance your brand’s image and create raving fans.  Plotting your customers’ journeys documents how a showroom customer interacts with your brand in every step of their purchase from initial research online to the final sign off after the punch list is satisfied.  Business that plot their customers’ journeys are twice as likely to outperform competitors, according to Gartner.

A common shortcoming of plotting a showroom’s customer journey is the belief that the purchase path is linear and follows a logical, step-by-step process.  Rarely is that the case.  Consumers don’t visit a web site, read reviews, investigate options online, make an appointment to visit the showroom, select products, prepare for the renovation and sign off at the end of the project.  

A new approach to plotting the customer journey is to start at the end instead of the beginning and work backwards to understand how customers select products and providers for their new kitchens or baths.  Showrooms know that renovating or creating a new kitchen or bath is an emotional experience.  That’s why it is important to know how your customers want their new kitchens and baths to feel at the end of the project and every time they cross the threshold.  It’s not about having a six burner induction cooktop or a smart refrigerator that orders groceries on its own.  It’s not about features and benefits either.  Both are important, but to truly understand your customers and why they want to trust you instead of a competitor is to understand their goals and motivations.  Customers are 30 times more likely to try a brand if they expect it to deliver strong emotional, identity or functional benefits according to social psychologist Erica Carranza.  

They key to tapping into the emotional benefits that showroom customers desire is rooting in understanding what is most important to them.  What does your customer value the most?  There are different aspects to what consumers value.  In many cases, value is created by ease of use.  How easy do you make it to select products, minimize disruptions, troubleshoot the unexpected and solve problems?  Do your customer reviews touch on ease of use, convenience, customer service and problem solving capabilities?  

Features and benefits also contribute to meeting consumer value expectations.  Kitchens and baths need to marry both functional and aesthetic customer expectations.  They must create the right look, feel and performance.  

Value is created by demonstrating what your brand stands for.  Your customers expect your showroom to do the right thing not only for themselves but for the local community.  BKBG Shareholder TraVek in Scottsdale, AZ holds periodic food and clothing drives for the Harvest Compassion Center that supports the disadvantaged in need of medical attention.  Requests for support are published in the showroom’s newsletter and customers respond by dropping off donations at the showroom.  This activity demonstrates the company’s values and interest in the community. 

Showroom customers don’t wake up on any given day and say to themselves, “I think I am going to buy a new kitchen today.”  That does not happen.  The purchase decision is the result of months of research, questions, information gathering, family discussions, reviews until they reach that moment of truth.  And if you start mapping that journey at the end, you will find that the decision to tear apart one's home in the hope of a long-term benefit is not rational or objective, but emotional.  That’s why it’s critical for showrooms to tap into positive emotions during each step in the customer journey, determine what is most important and mitigate situations that create negative feelings.  When you make it easy to do business with your showroom at every phase in the purchasing path, you win.

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