The three stages of the customer journey

The three stages of the customer journey

When a (potential) customer intends to make a purchase, they often go through three distinct stages of the customer journey without even realising it. In each stage, the (potential) customer is looking for different information. As a marketer, you can respond to this by ensuring that you provide the (potential) customer with the right information at the right time in each stage.

What are the stages of the customer journey?

The customer journey contains three different stages. These stages comprise of the whole buyers journey of your customer. Read more below about the three different stages.

Stage 1: The orientation stage

The first stage of the customer journey is the orientation stage. The orientation stage is the stage where the (potential) buyer realizes that they have a problem or challenge. For example:

Kees is walking through the city on a rainy day. When he steps into a puddle, he notices that his feet are getting wet. At that moment, the orientation stage starts for him. During this stage, several questions may arise for Kees, such as:

  • How problematic is it that Kees got his feet wet?
  • What caused Kees to get his feet wet?
  • Does the problem need to be solved immediately, or can it wait?

Stage 2: the consideration stage

In the second stage of the customer journey the buyer defines his problems and challenges and researches possible solutions.

In the example of Kees, this is the moment he realises that his feet got wet because the sole of his shoe has a hole in it. He wants to solve the problem directly because he needs good shoes for autumn. Kees therefore considers different solutions to prevent getting wet feet again. Buying new shoes is one option, but Kees could also choose to (let a shoemaker) repair them. 

In the consideration stage, a buyer searches for all possible solutions to their problem or challenges what they consider to be the best solution. Each person does this in their own way, keeping their personal wishes and requirements in mind. For example, Kees may look for affordable solutions because he is on a tight budget, or he may look for quick solutions because he has limited time.

In this stage, Kees may choose to read articles on the internet, watch tutorials, or download a whitepaper about the issue at hand.

Stage 3: The decision stage

In the third stage of the customer journey, the decision stage, the buyer chooses a particular solution and makes the decision to buy the solution. During this stage, the buyer likely has already decided which solution he or she is going to choose. 

Kees chose to buy new shoes. Now that he is going to buy new shoes, he also wants to buy shoes that fit him perfectly. In the decision stage Kees looks for a shop that can give him the best advice.

In this stage, Kees is looking for confirmation that the shop he chose is in fact the right choice. A video about measuring shoes and the product specifications of shoes could help him with this. 

customer-journey-3 fasen voorbeeld

Examples of customer journey stages for a service

After reading this article you might realise you know very little about the customer journey of your (potential) clients. You yourself are now in the orientation stage. 

This may be because there has never been proper research conducted on the customer journey of your (potential) customers. Therefore, you start looking for ways to map out the customer journey. After reading a whitepaper and watching a video, you discover you can do this yourself by using customer journey models, enrolling in an education or training program, or hiring an expert. It's the consideration stage!

After considering all the options, you've made a decision. You will seek the help of an expert to map out the customer journey of your (potential) customers. In the decision-making stage, you start searching for the expert who can best assist you. To determine the expert best suited for you, you read success stories and review product sheets. Based on the gathered information, you make your final decision. 

Each company has a unique customer journey!

How the customer journey progresses is uniquely based on the company, product/service, and target audience. Therefore, you cannot simply copy the customer journey from another company. Do you want more information about the customer journey? Or would you like to discuss the customer journey that applies to your company? Schedule an appointment with one of our experts.