In an increasingly competitive market, construction trades – all Building, Mechanical and Electrical, and Outdoor and Heavy Equipment Trades – face a crucial challenge: delivering an unparalleled customer experience. The journey a customer takes, from the first interaction with a trade to the completion of a project, plays a significant role in business success and determines the ongoing relationship.
Decoding the Customer Journey
At first, the customer journey may seem straightforward in the construction sector – you provide a service, advertise it, and clients enlist your services. However, a deeper exploration reveals the complexity hidden beneath this simplicity.
Today’s clients are demanding more personalized, anticipatory experiences from trades, underscoring the importance of customer journey maps. A map is a graphical representation of the client’s interaction with your trade, showcasing all significant touchpoints and offering insights into the overall customer experience.
This visual guide allows you to identify gaps in your online presence, enhancing your understanding of areas that need enhancement and optimization.
Plotting the Customer Journey
Creating a customer journey map involves visualizing every interaction a client has with your trade. This process places you in your client’s shoes, allowing you to comprehend their perspective and discern which aspects of your services require enhancement.
Your map will highlight all potential paths a customer takes on your website and social media and interactions with your support or sales teams. It’s a comprehensive look at your client’s behaviour and their preferred channels for discovering your trade.
- Social Media: Clients often discover trades via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where they can explore previous projects and read reviews.
- Trade Websites: Potential customers frequently visit trades’ websites to gain insight into services, previous work, and to schedule consultations or ask for quotes.
- Google Search: People commonly use search engines like Google to discover trades in their local area and to compare different options available.
- Word of Mouth: Personal recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues continue to be a highly influential way for customers to discover reliable trades.
- Online Marketplaces: Online platforms including associations are popular for connecting customers with trades and providing ratings and reviews.
- Trade Shows/Expos: Potential clients often attend local trade shows or expos to meet tradespeople in person and see their work firsthand.
- Local Advertisements: Customers frequently discover trades through local ads, including those in newspapers, mailers, or on local TV or radio stations.
- Industry Blogs and Magazines: Online or print publications dedicated to home improvement or construction often feature trades, making them a great discovery channel.
- Online Directories: Digital directories are a common starting point for clients looking for specific trades in their area.
- Referrals from Other Trades: When a customer works with one trade successfully, they often ask for referrals for other needed services, making inter-trade networking a powerful discovery channel.
Constructing the Customer Journey Map
The key to crafting an effective customer journey map is to view the process from the client’s perspective. Thorough market research is crucial to understand who interacts with your trade, the channels they use, and their expectations of these channels.
Through data-driven and anecdotal research (like surveys and social media), you can gain insights into the client’s behaviour, needs, and preferences, forming the foundation for your customer journey map.
Here’s how you can build it:
- Set a clear goal: Understand what you want to achieve.
- Define personas: Use your research to create profiles representing your clients.
- Outline stages and goals: Typically, there are four stages – awareness, consideration, decision, and retention. Define the purpose of each.
- List all touchpoints: Note all ways a client interacts with your trade.
- Collect customer feedback and data: Encourage customers to share their experiences and sentiments about your trade.
- Identify weak points: Customer data will help you spot areas that need improvement.
- Highlight improvement aspects: Brainstorm potential solutions for identified issues.
Though the process requires considerable dedication and focus, it’s a valuable tool for enhancing user experience, attracting new clients, and retaining existing ones.
Advantages of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping can help trades better understand their clients’ behaviour and expectations, regardless of their size.
- Promoting teamwork: Encourages different teams to collaborate and align their efforts towards a more customer-oriented approach.
- Understanding your clients: Knowing your client’s needs can enable necessary changes and boost sales.
- Improving marketing strategy: Helps to more effectively reach the target audience and attract new clients.
- Enhancing user experience: Clients whose needs are met are more likely to continue using your services.
The Foundation for Success
Modern clients expect a personalized experience, requiring your trade to adapt to their needs and preferences. This includes prompt customer support, user-friendly website design, attractive marketing strategies, and more.
Creating a customer journey map simplifies the process of understanding client expectations. As technologies advance and your trade evolves, client behaviour will change accordingly. It’s up to you to anticipate this change and cater to their evolving needs, ensuring your trade’s continued success.
November – December 2023
Yvan Lamoureux, Principal/CEO, CrankWorks Creative Inc.