You can think of marketing, sales, and customer service as a single system that supports customers throughout their journey with your business. This journey starts when your prospective customer first learns about you and continues through and beyond the sale.

Here’s an introduction to the five stages of the customer journey. 

(Also, for no obvious reason, we’ve decided to illustrate this entire post with cat photos.)

 

customer journey stage awareness

1. Awareness 

This is where your prospective customer first learns of your business or offering.

 

customer journey stage consideration

2. Consideration 

In this stage, your prospective customer has moved beyond discovery. Here they are determining whether they need what you have to offer and are comparing your offering to other options. 

The competitors to which your business is being compared are often referred to as being in the prospect’s “consideration set.” 

 

customer journey stage purchase

3. Purchase 

This is where the actual buying transaction takes place. This is also where your prospect becomes a customer. 

 

customer journey stage retention

4. Retention 

Congratulations, you have a customer! Now you need to keep them. Sometimes overlooked as a stage of the customer journey, this is especially important for companies where repeat business is paramount.

 

customer journey stage advocacy

5. Advocacy

When your customer has reached the Advocacy stage, they are referring you to other prospective customers — helping you grow your business organically. Hello, nirvana!