No two customer journeys look the same. No two customers will ever interact with you in exactly the same way at exactly the same time—nor will they share exactly the same perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and memories about those interactions. And yet, to create customer journey maps, we need to assume some degree of similarity amongst our customers and their experiences with us.
Here’s the good news: Every single customer interaction fits neatly into one of nine stages, which collectively make up the Archetypal Customer Journey:
- Need: Customers realize that they have some goal—like buying a shirt, saving for retirement, or spending a week in Belize.
- Seek: Customers widen their options as they look for products or services that fulfill their goals.
- Choose: Customers narrow their options and select the products or services they want to use.
- Give: Customers exchange money, information, or something else of value for the product or service they want to use.
- Get: Customers receive—and, if needed, set up—the products or services they want to use.
- Use: Customers utilize the products or services they’ve acquired.
- Fix: If needed, customers get help to solve issues related their products, services, or experiences.
- Love: Customer actively decide to continue or enhance their engagement with an organization.
- Leave: Customers actively decide not to engage with an organization where to buy revia anymore—or passively go away.
Don’t get hung up on the exact order of these stages—they vary by business model. For example, in a fast food restaurant, customers Choose (food) -> Give ($) -> Get (food). But in a fine dining establishment, they Choose (food) -> Get (food) -> Give ($).
The nature of each phase can vary as well. In some restaurants, customers can choose exactly what they want to eat. In other restaurants, customers may choose the restaurant itself, but the chef chooses what customers will eat each evening.
And yes—these stages work for Business-to-Business (B2B) customer journey maps, too!
So which of these stages should you include in your customer journey maps? The answer depends on your business objectives. If you’re trying to gain executive buy-in for your customer experience initiatives and need to highlight a few big pain points, you can create a high-level journey map that contains all nine stages. Or, you can create detailed journey maps of just the Fix stage if you’re looking to redesign key customer support scenarios.
You can also string together several stages that are connected from the customer perspective. For example, marketers looking to provide the right information to prospective customers might focus on Need through Give, while those wanting to improve the onboarding experience might focus on Give through Use.