We’re excited about our upcoming Technology Services World conference this fall in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is the Art and Science of the Customer Journey, and within my area of research, customer success, many attendees will realize this theme is definitely in our wheelhouse.
As part of the customer journey, we usually see two bigger phases of customer success maturity. The first is when we observe a group of professionals working across a company on projects and initiatives that improve the customer’s experience, which we refer to as the “thematic” view of customer success. The second is an organization that has one or more of three common charters of customer success: adoption, retention, and expansion. Regardless of maturity of your customer success and customer experience initiatives, being able to improve your customer’s experience should be a top priority for these teams.
Customer Journey Mapping is What Successful Companies Do
In our own research, we found that mapping the customer journey was one of four key practices of successful organizations that have the highest renewal and expansion rates. When we see this practice implemented properly, these organizations have more insight into what is important to the customer, allowing them to prioritize technology or process improvements that yield the most impact directly to the customer.
To back this up with data, when we analyzed the top quartile performers in our Customer Success Baseline Study, 100% of those in that segment had executed a customer journey map. Their renewal rates were 10 percent higher and their expansion rates were 26 percent higher. However, we caution Customer Success organizations to think openly about the customer interactions with your technology, services, and other important touchpoints within your company. Removing bias and not having a predisposition to what you think is best for the customer are keys to unlocking critical moments of truth that will ensure technology promises are kept and customer business outcomes are achieved.
Customer Engagement from Both the Supplier and Customer Perspective
The best way to illustrate this point is to use two well-established TSIA frameworks. The first is LAER (Land, Adopt, Expand, and Renew), which is the supplier’s view of the customer engagement model. The second is PIMO (Plan, Implement, Monitor, and Optimize).
This represents the customer’s view of their engagement with the supplier and its technology. It is very possible that your company has adapted some version of these two frameworks, which is appropriate.
One pitfall we see is companies representing the ideal customer experience without understanding the importance of the various touchpoints and how that impacts customers business outcomes. They illustrate an “example” customer journey, but sometimes can’t answer the difficult questions about impact, importance and experience. When we inevitably ask why, the response is because the employees of the technology supplier created the workflow, chart, or process without directly engaging with the customer. It’s the single biggest mistake I see when Customer Success teams state that they have completed a customer journey mapping exercise. While TSIA highly recommends a predictable and repeatable engagement model for your customers, the first move is to truly understand the customer’s journey prior to instilling these prescriptive plays.
Learn More About Improving Your Customer Journey at TSW
We will be spending a lot of time at our upcoming TSW conference on the various customer lifecycle phases and how Customer Success organizations impact each phase. Here are just four of the many customer sessions on tap for the conference:
“Do-it-Yourself Healthscore Model”
In a recent blog post, John Ragsdale and I explored how customer success organizations are looking at using technology to improve predictive capabilities for retention and expansion. Mark Bilbe, CCO of Mimecast, will explore how Mimecast created a DIY healthscore model.
“Partner Success: A Game Changer for Customer Success in Enabling Open Hybrid Cloud”
Partners can play a critical role in the customer engagement lifecycle. Paul Batkowsi, Director of Customer Success at Red Hat, will discuss how the partner ecosystem at Red Hat has launched a Partner Success capability to help create value for their customers.
“The Diminishing Returns of Scale in the Customer Success Role”
Segmenting your customer base is critical to address your high-touch and tech-touch coverage model throughout the customer lifecycle. Assigning based on logical segmentation to address both high-touch and tech-touch methodologies is critical. Irit Eizips, CEO of CSM Practice, and Greg Tate, VP of Customer Success at Salesforce will share the business justification for the investment in a new program that bridges the lines between the high-touch and tech-touch models.
“Transforming to Become a Customer-First Company”
Jennifer Dearman, Global VP of Customer Success at Kronos, and Dhaval Moogimane, Partner at Waterstone will share practices on what CS leaders and teams to do foster customer focused transformations.
For a listing of all the customer success sessions at the conference, please visit our Technology Services World home page. I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.
Read more posts in the "Art and Science of the Customer Journey" blog series:
- "Rethinking the Sales Funnel for Existing Customers"
- "The Customer Journey in Industrial Equipment"
- "Optimize and 'Appify' Your Customer Journey Maps with Analytics"
- "Where Professional Services Fit into the Customer Journey"
About the Author
Phil Nanus is the vice president of customer success research for TSIA. In this role, he works closely with member companies to deliver research and advisory programs focused on helping them optimize their customer success organizations and effectively deliver customer outcomes. Throughout his career, Phil has held various positions related to enterprise software and IT services, including global leadership roles in customer success, support, professional services, managed services, and cloud services. Prior to TSIA, he was the vice president of customer success at Infor, where he led a team of Customer Success Managers (CSMs) focused on driving customer adoption of their technology.