There’s this cliche: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the case of the user journey that ultimately leads to a purchase, your customer’s journey starts way before they even see your first sales pitch.
Which leads us to the question: if the customer journey begins way before the actual purchase, why do most businesses only start offering customer support at the point of purchase or post-purchase?
A Forrester Consulting research echoed this need to provide customer support at the early stages of the user journey. The study revealed that 74% of businesses lose their customers at the pre-purchase stages of the user journey. In their own jargon, Forrester calls these stages Discover, Explore, and Buy.
We often say that customer support is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You have to be in it for the long haul, from Day 1.
Here are the strategies and tactics that we recommend so you can provide A+ customer support at the pre-purchase stages of the user journey. For the sake of standardizing things, we will use the same labels that Forrester Consulting used.
1. Discover Stage
Also known as the Awareness Stage in the more popular buyer journey models such as Hubspot’s, this is when customers are starting to define their problems, needs, and desires. At Dashly, we see this as the stage in the user journey when startup CEOs are beginning to feel the need for integrated customer support and customer experience system.
You want to be the one who helps your target customers clearly understand their needs. There are different forms of support that you can provide at this stage, including:
- Providing great content that answers the most common questions your customers have
- Enabling comments in your blog and answering questions readers are posting
- Using Facebook chatbots that lead customers to a selection of personalized and relevant content selection
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2. Explore Stage
Now that your customers have clearly identified and defined what their needs are, they are moving on and exploring the available solutions and options to them.
This is a crucial stage in the user journey that we see many marketers neglect. There are two elements that are built in this stage: trust and likeability.
Providing customer support at this stage can increase your likeability and could come in several forms:
- Creating an email nurture sequence that provides valuable information and encouraging customers to reply to those emails if they have questions
- Providing premium content such as whitepapers and front-loading the content with tactics such as pop-ups. We found some great pop-up examples for your inspiration.
3. Buy Stage
One of the primary goals of customer support at this stage is to minimize cart abandonment — don’t let your prospects change their minds.
In reality, there will always be reasons why customers leave on this step. It’s up to us to make sure that we are there for them at this crucial stage, provide five-star customer support, and prevent from leaving with the best of our abilities. This is probably why many businesses invest a lot to boost customer support at this point. However, it wouldn’t work without providing a great customer experience in the previous stages of the user journey. Some of the most efficient action plans for the whole customer journey map are collected in the SaaS Marketing Automation Playbook.
Extending a Helping Hand Every Step of the Way
The path of the user journey from point A to the point of purchase is riddled with questions, hesitations, and objections. The way to your customers’ hearts (and then wallets), so to speak, is not with hard-sell sales pitches, but with timely, relevant, and useful customer support to usher them through your conversion funnel. Be there every step of the way and you will be rewarded (a.k.a. get the sale) in the end.
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