In the first part of this series, A Guide to Measuring Customer Success: One Size Does Not Fit All, Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer, Lifesize, talked about Net Promoter and other key metrics to measure success. In this second piece, she focuses on customer journey mapping. A process where we outline the entire journey of a customer from the point of initial engagement with our brand onwards, capturing every interaction they have with our company.
If you live in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) world like we do at Lifesize, then you probably understand the gravity of customer retention. Recurring revenue is key to sustaining any SaaS business, which is why it is critical to understand not just how to win customers, but how to keep them.
Here’s what the customer journey mapping process looks like in action.
Engaging with marketing
How can we better engage with our existing customers through marketing campaigns that really address how they are using our product?
Effective marketing that speaks to your installed base is critical, especially for SaaS companies. Unfortunately, this specific marketing task is easy to de-prioritize. Chances are, most of you have seen email blasts from vendors that are fairly generic and not at all tailored to your specific use of the product. This is exactly what we want to avoid.
The goal is to create targeted messaging that speaks to customer’s specific needs.
It’s also critical to leverage your marketing and customer success systems to allow for a feedback loop. For example, can you identify when a customer opens a specific email or downloads information from your website? This type of data ultimately helps your company have a 360-degree view of the customer’s journey.
Engaging with product
How can we ensure that our customers feel aware and engaged with our product and roadmap?
We are always excited to share new products or features with our existing customers, but many times, they wish they had a heads-up about what is in the product pipeline. Customers crave the inside scoop. With no information, they may just assume we are not bothering to innovate, or worse, neglecting them completely.
Regular conversations about product initiatives in the works can be very beneficial to increasing customer engagement and loyalty. A journey map allows you to determine when is the most effective time to share this overview — monthly, quarterly, etc. – and segment the information so that it is relevant to the right customer at the right time.
Engaging with sales
Following through on sales promises post-sales is one of the most critical drivers of customer loyalty. When we deliver on the promises we make in the sales cycle during implementation, we have just built the foundation of a lasting partnership with our customers because we establish trust.
At Lifesize, we’ve enabled a smooth transition with systems and processes whereby the sales team carefully documents key customer priorities and criteria that are used to educate the project manager and customer success manager involved in implementing the customer’s solution. This keeps everyone on the same page.
Final words of wisdom
From my experience, there are two critical pieces of advice I would stress if you’re about to start this process:
- Start your journey map with the customer success team. Yes, you will need buy-in from the C-level, especially because this will involve participation from virtually every department. But when it comes to execution, tap those individuals who interact with customers on a daily basis and have a working understanding of the existing customer lifecycle and segmentation. Starting from the ground up will be much more effective.
- Always check your journey map with the customer. Once you have a map of the customer experience outlined, the best way to check your work is to go to the source. Select a sample of appropriate customers in each segment and ask them if your map matches their experience, and if there is any room for improvement.
Collaboration is at the heart of the journey mapping process, both within and outside of your company. Every department should be involved in the process of journey mapping, and, when appropriate, you might want to turn to third parties. For example, at Lifesize, we tweaked our journey maps to incorporate our channel partners more heavily in specific regions where they play a larger role in the customer’s lifecycle. Every customer journey is different; if you evaluate yours carefully, you’ll start to get a better picture of the road you’ll need to take together.
Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer, Lifesize
See also A Guide to Measuring Customer Success: One Size Does Not Fit All to learn more about establishing customer success programmes that work.