I'm a consultant and advisor  for social enterprises - using business to change the world.

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The 5 E's of Customer Journey

The 5 E's of Customer Journey

When we examine a business model, it’s easy to get caught up in sweeping generalisations about customers. We categorise them as “Inner City Affluent” or “New Parents In Apartments” or “Philanthropists”.

As a starting point, that’s ok. Long term though, you need to become an expert on the journey that the customer walks -  from having never heard of you through to becoming your accidental ambassador.

This is an exercise in empathy.

Be willing to step into your customer’s shoes, and understand the forces that shape their preferences, likes and decisions.

It’s also an exercise in design.

First we need to understand the present customer journey, then we get to experiment with changes that will improve the customer’s experience. Ultimately, we’re aiming to increase the likelihood of them staying with you.

One tool I’ve found really useful for this is The 5 E’s of Customer Journey, taught to me by Tim Fife from 2nd Road. If you run a business of any kind, you’ll understand how critical it is that this is done well.


This is a map of the five stages that customers walk through – Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, and Extend.

The aim is to map out the as-is process, what does this look like today?

Once we’re honest about that, then we can play around with ways to improve it.


Let’s look at what they each mean:

Entice – How will your future customers first hear about you? What will trigger their interest? It could be a billboard, word of mouth, a google search about something you do, walking past your shopfront, a Facebook ad, etc.


Enter – What is the first impression you give customers when they walk into your shop/office/website? Think about all the senses; what are the sounds they hear, the smells, the lights, the chair they sit on? Think about the colour of your website, the layout, how intuitive is the navigation? What percentage of prospective customers leave within the first five seconds?


Engage – What does the interaction look like? A quick purchase? A long, personal relationship?

How long do they stay on your website, or sit in your cafe? Will they need to come back more than once before making a purchase decision? Do they need to interact with a human, or is it all automated?

This stage is generally the longest, going from the customer learning how your business works, through to them deciding to buy something.


Exit – What is the customer’s final impression? Do they leave with a bad taste in their mouth?

This might be their checkout experience, or the follow-up service they receive. Are they treated well after they make a purchase, or forgotten about?

This section is criminally overlooked, and is worth thinking about.


Extend – What triggers a repeat purchase? Do your customers come back, or tell their friends about you? What sort of interaction will they have with you in the future, if any?

This is dependent on your industry and your customer; what works for some might be wildly inappropriate for you.


Grab some paper or a whiteboard, and start mapping out the path you’re expecting your customer to walk.

Are you creating a good experience?

If you were a customer, would you be happy?


In the next posts, I’ll talk about some examples of where I’ve seen this work well, and where it has put people off.

Let's start with the first E: Entice...

The 5 E's Part Two - Entice Examples

The 5 E's Part Two - Entice Examples

What Type Of Conversation Are We Having?

What Type Of Conversation Are We Having?