Customer Success Journey Map: A How-To Guide


What is a Customer Success journey?

A Customer Success journey is the stages your customer will go through when interacting or purchasing your product or service. The Customer Success journey is usually done by creating a map with touchpoints and milestones for your customers.

What Is a Customer Success Journey Map?

A Customer Success journey map is a visualization of each engagement your customers have with your company. It depicts their attitudes, needs, and interactions as well as the problems they might have as they make their way from their first engagement to purchasing your product or service.

Before you begin implementing your Customer Success strategy, creating a Customer Success journey map helps you understand your customers' needs so you can determine what you're doing right, what's going wrong, and what you can improve across the customer lifecycle.

A Customer Success journey map offers many benefits, including:

  • Obtaining insight about your buyers

  • Predicting buyer behavior

  • Identifying your perfect buyer

  • Boosting the efficiency of your inbound marketing

  • Increasing your sales conversion rates

  • Improving the buyer experience

  • Reducing customer churn

  • Generating repeat business

  • Increasing customer lifetime value

How to Create a Customer Journey Map

Mapping out the buyer journey means that you're mapping their journey to success, so you have to view the milestones, goals, and steps from the perspective of your customers.

The following steps will help you create such a map:

  • Establish clear goals so you can determine why you're creating this map.

  • Create your buyer personas and define their goals.

  • Highlight your target buyer persona.

  • List all your customer touchpoints, which are all the places where your buyers can interact with you.

    • List all the actions your buyers take to achieve their goals.

    • Determine your customers' motivations and emotions for interacting with your brand (this can change depending on where they are in the customer journey).

    • Understand the roadblocks that are stopping your buyers from taking their desired actions.

  • Identify the resources you have on hand and the ones you'll need to help create a good customer journey.

  • Take the customer journey yourself for each of the buyer personas to determine where their needs aren't being met. Determine how you can support your customers better.

  • Make any necessary changes.

    • Review your map monthly or quarterly to identify any gaps and opportunities to do better.

    Types of Customer Journey Maps

    The types of customer journey maps are:

    • Current state map – details the customer journey as it exists today, identifying how a buyer interacts with your service or product and highlighting areas of strength, need, buyer’s and opportunity

    • Future state map – documents the ideal scenario for a user.

    • Strategic map – which shows you the big picture of a customer's goals, experience, and dreams.

    • Tactical map – this day-in-the-life-type journey map can focus on a particular aspect of an experience, such as when a user registers for a service.

    • Persona map – a map to represent the individual journey of each persona.

    What Are the Customer Lifecycle Stages?

    The stages of the customer lifecycle are brand awareness, acquisition, conversion, retention, loyalty. Although similar to the buyer's journey, the customer lifecycle includes what happens after a customer makes a purchase, which is known as the post-purchase journey. An engagement plan for each stage lets you personalize their experiences across every touchpoint.

    • Awareness – when a customer becomes aware of your company for the first time.

    • Consideration – the customer evaluates what your company has to offer as compared to your competitors.

    • Conversion – if satisfied with your brand, the prospect makes a purchase.

    • Retention – your ability to keep your customers happy and turn them into loyal customers.

    • Loyalty – a happy, repeat customer enthusiastically recommends your brand to others.

    • Post-purchase journey – keeping a close eye on your customer to increase loyalty, decrease the risk of churn and identify upsell opportunities.

    Last But Not Least... The Post-Purchase customer journey

    In the pre-subscription economy, a successful customer journey would lead to a closed deal, and a new happy customer, and then… the end. But this is no more. Instead, in the world of SaaS and customer success, it is after the sale the most important - and most fun! - part of the journey begins. Because a customer that doesn´t use your software, or doesn´t understand the potential of it, will soon churn. But a customer that understands your tool and uses it to grow their business will - if attended to right - soon become an even more valuable customer.

    Therefore, the post-purchase customer journey is the most important part of the relationship you have with your customer. To improve it, you should:

    • Personalize the buyer delivery experience

    • Create a way of working where you collaborate with your customer in a transparent way

    • Make the customer’s usage data easily accessible to ensure you always have an updated 360-view

    • Work actively to engage more users at your customer’s company

    • Offer omnichannel support

    • Provide demos or how-to guides to encourage usage

    How can Planhat help me with my Customer Success Journey Mapping?

    Can a third-party tool help you handle the Customer Success journey? Yes, with Planhat you can structure workflows to manage all phases of the customer journey, including events like onboarding, business reviews, and renewals.

    With the use of real-time, easily accessible usage data you can create a post-purchase customer journey that is focused on creating real business value for your customers, and by doing that expanding your own business. Among many other things, Planhat lets you:

    • Manage customers through the lifecycle - Use pre-defined, repeatable processes to efficiently manage your customers, through the customer lifecycle.

    • Task management for all phases - A clean task management system lets you add events and activities and automate tasks so you can focus on driving the most important actions.

    • Get insights on actions that deliver value - Understand what actions and initiatives of your team that deliver value, and what slips. Build customized dashboards and widgets, or use the out-of-the-box outcome and trend widgets.

    • Collaborate through customer lifecycle - Collaborate with your customers to drive adoption, show transparency and build trust. Share success plans, playbooks, usage dashboards, and much more.

    To find out more:

    • Or sign up for a demo and learn more about the possibilities with professional lifecycle management.

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