Journey Component: Phases

As a Customer Journey may involve a long buying and product usage process, we suggest to break the Customer Journey down into common Phases.

The Phases give some meaning to our model as to at what stage or phase a customer or prospect is with regard to the journey objective/goal.

  • E.g. is the customer considering the product at all?

  • Or is the customer about to purchase?

The Phases will help us represent a more linear transition path regardless of what journey we are modelling. Therefore we will design phases to be journey agnostic: the phases apply to every customer journey in the same way.

The Phases help us logically order the steps within a customer journey and understand ‘how far’ or ‘how close’ the customer is to a certain closure.

To get you started with a set of commonly used Phases, I've provided a helpfull cheat-sheet below. These are the Phase definitions that we mostly use for our clients.

List of possible Phase
Rank Phase Description Treatment
1Latent Need (Activation)There may be a latent need for the product/service but the customer/prospect doesn’t know that yet. Customer must be activated by him/herself, a life event or by marketing/sales campaign.Select, target and then activate
2Real Need (Inquiring/informing)The customer understands he/she has a real need. The topic is now important to that person. So the customer start gathering (general) information.Give information and suggestions
3OrientationThe next step the customer starts orienting on the product/service and what type or version he/she may need and to what extent. The difference between the previous phase is that the information becomes personalized for that customer.Offer personal fit
4Consideration (Comparing)Now that the person knows more about what exactly to look for, he/she starts considering and comparing different solutions from different vendors. The main difference with orientation phase is that now different suppliers are compared against each other in order to make a buying decision.Assure needs will be met now and later
5DecisionMaking the decision, including collecting any (real or imaginary) evidence that the decision will justifiable. Please note that [schijn] actions may appear like reconsidering competitor’s offers but only to justify the already made decision.Empower customer to make own decision while giving experience of already having decided (owning)
6Purchase (Buying)Effectuating the decision. This includes placing a signature, driving to the store, ordering with obligation to pay.Fast, easy ordering/paying without barriers, managing expectations of delivery
7Deliver (Receiving)The customer has bought/purchased and now in his/her mind your company has to deliver. So now the customer is subject to you keeping up the promise of the delivery and the product expectations.Informing on delivery, enabling best product usage (tips etc.)
8UsingCustomer has received the product/service and can now start using it.Make sure the customer is really using the product/service to its fullest extent possible in order to (over)meet needs (e.g. with beneficial surprises)
9Loyalty (Repeated usage/buying)Customer takes part in a loyalty program in which he/she builds or accumulates something (like credits or points) that can be lost when quitting the product/supplier. Another form of liyaAccumulation (savings) program, newsletters, ‘customer only’ benefits/events
10Promoting (Ambassador)The customer is happy with the product/service and is voluntarily (or paid) promoting it to others/peers.Facilitate easy referral; ask for referrals/reviews/opinion
11Re-evaluateThe product/service has been used mostly and it is time to review or evaluate it. This can be initiated by the customer or by your company. E.g. when a subscription is for a year than after 10 or 11 months it’s time to re-evaluate.Provide fit with current solution, educate/help to make more use of product, or propose better alternative
12AdjustThe contract is being adjusted or otherwise the relationship with delivering product/service is updated to new needs of customer. 
13ChurnThe customer wants to end the product/service usage from you, or at all, or terminate the relationship with you, or no longer has any need for this category of product/service.Win-back program but even better: prevent by proper forecasting probability of customer churning.