Boost CS Team Performance With Customer Journey Mapping
When was the last time you went somewhere new without a map? How lost did you get? Since the advent of smartphone GPS navigation, it’s become startlingly clear how much easier maps make our lives. Maps offer clarity, boost confidence and put everyone at ease.
The same idea holds true for customer journey mapping: Making a diagram of the path a customer takes with a brand can reduce churn, uncertainty and stress for customer success managers. Yet only 40 percent of small businesses and just 29 percent of enterprise companies rate themselves as “very effective” or “effective” at creating a cohesive customer journey, according to Salesforce.
For CSMs whose performance is often based on retention, it’s worthwhile to create specific maps to avoid confusion, low adoption or frustration among customers. Customer journey mapping allows CS teams to personalize customer experiences, optimize the onboarding process, set and measure benchmarks, identify discrepancies, understand their unique buyer personas and create a smooth flow for each customer journey. Effectively mapping helps unify expectations between the client and organization and sets everyone up to smash their KPIs.
Some maps encompass the entire journey from a user’s first exposure to the brand all the way through marketing, sales, onboarding, billing and adoption to the decision to renew or cancel. Other maps focus on a single phase, such as implementation. No matter the scope, an effective map will depict every touch point, across teams, for every type of customer.
Don’t know where to start?
Built In connected with two Chicago-based CS experts who have customer journey mapping figured out and swear by it.
At project44, a visibility platform for shippers and third-party logistics firms, SVP of Global Customer Success Diane Gordon utilizes customer journey mapping to meet client expectations and personalize the customer experience.
What’s one way customer journey mapping helps you deliver a better customer experience?
My experience is that even the most seasoned customer success person sometimes forgets about the customer when putting processes and tools in place. It’s not intentional, but it does happen. Customer journey mapping forces you to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, asking, “If I were the customer, what would I expect at this stage/from this product/from this person?” The answer to that is gold, because then the work is to identify the gap between your current process or person and work to close it.
For example, customer success teams are big fans of checklists. Unfortunately, we write these checklists to cover the thing we have to do (e.g., get a customer configured), rather than what’s required to achieve the outcomes the customer expects (e.g., know what to do post-configuration).
Even the most seasoned customer success person sometimes forgets about the customer when putting processes and tools in place.”
What other teams or team members do you collaborate with to support customers throughout their success journey? And how does mapping help clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities?
When mapping the customer journey, it’s a good idea to list how each team in the organization (sales, marketing, product, finance, professional services, etc.) will support each stage in the journey. While this approach may feel like overkill (“What could finance possibly have to do at this stage?”), it’s only by doing this that you will be forced to think not only about how to meet customer expectations but also how to potentially exceed them. For example, post-sale, there’s no real need for marketing to reach out to customers but doing that at key stages (e.g., post-onboarding to invite customers to webinars on topics of interest), could drastically improve the customer’s engagement level.
The other benefit of considering each department at every stage is that it forces you to be specific about roles and responsibilities: What is the CSM doing here? What about the account manager?
How do you tailor the customer journey map to meet the unique needs of different segments or types of customers?
It’s so important to create separate journey maps by customer segment, whether that’s revenue size, industry, region or a combination. While there will inevitably be a lot of commonality across journeys (and you’ll want to handle that in a way that makes all maps easy to maintain), it’s a mistake to gloss over the differences in expectations that customers in different segments will likely have.
At ReviewTrackers, a customer-feedback software that helps businesses measure customer experience, the CS team has to walk the walk in customer success. Senior Customer Success Manager John Monco uses customer journey mapping to reduce uncertainty and build customer confidence.
What’s one way customer journey mapping helps you deliver a better customer experience? Share an example.
Customer journey mapping is a great way to put customers at ease and have confidence in our team and our product. Many of our customers have multiple responsibilities within their organization, with a finite amount of time to dedicate in any given day. Having a customer journey map in place allows our team and the customers to have a clear picture of where we are today, where we want to go together, and all the steps in between, along with roles and responsibilities clearly defined. Having this map crystalized gives the customer a sense of relief rather than a feeling of anxiety that comes with a “figure it out as we go” approach.
What other teams or team members do you collaborate with to support customers throughout their success journey?
The two most important teams that I as a customer success manager collaborate with are the sales and onboarding teams. Mapping not only helps cement the onboarding, implementation and transition process between teams at ReviewTrackers, but also sets expectations for the customer as well. During the onboarding process, we share what the customer’s journey will look like over the first month, starting with the initial handoff from the sales team; to the various setup steps by the onboarding team; to deliverables needed from the customer; to the final transition to their dedicated customer success manager. Everyone has a clear understanding of what information is needed and what tasks need to be accomplished in order to set the client up for success through their lifecycle.
Having a customer journey map in place allows our team and the customers to have a clear picture of where we are today, where we want to go together, and all the steps in between.”
How do you tailor the customer journey map to meet the unique needs of different segments, and how do you evolve your customer journey map in response to product changes or changes in customer behavior?
It’s always important to be somewhat flexible when dealing with customers — especially mid-market and enterprise-level customers — as they all have their own unique circumstances, priorities and goals. By having a good understanding of those aspects right at the start, you are able to tailor the customer journey map to meet their needs and goals as well as limiting the number of pain points. However, as COVID-19 has shown, being able to adapt with customer behavior is also vitally important. For example, customers want to launch new review campaigns or adjust their responding strategy. As a customer success team, we need to make ourselves available when needed and have the flexibility to adjust with our customers in order to make them successful and help them get the most out of our system.