Customer journey, when seen from a simplest viewpoint, is the series of events a customer goes through in various interactions they have with your business. It starts from the first time they hear about your product and spans across various steps until they are able to finally drive value from it. A customer journey map is the visual representation of all these steps they take in their entire relationship with your business.
To run a successful SaaS business, it is most important to understand your customers. What are the challenges they are facing? What pain points do they have? And what are their needs? As a business owner, your aim is to provide the greatest experience to your customer at every touchpoint. You need to be able to understand all aspects of a customer journey and then think of improving each step that helps them proceed swiftly.
A customer journey map helps you do all that. In this visual representation in tabular form, you list down the different stages of customer journey on X-axis. It includes brand awareness, consideration, decision making, purchase, product adoption and brand advocacy. These are all the steps at a generic level any customer would take while staying in business with a SaaS company.
Then on the Y-axis, you list down all the activities your organization is doing at each step of the customer journey. Once you have all the activities listed on the columns and rows, then you can map individual activity at each intersection of the two axes.
Why use a Customer Journey Map?
To implement customer success in your organization, you need to have a granular view of all the processes you have implemented. Breaking down the whole process into step by step phases and giving individual attention to each of them is necessary to identify gaps and bring improvements. To streamline all your processes, each module of your workflow should be working at the most optimum level. So, what are the benefits of implementing these practices? Here are a few.
#1 Enhance Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing strategy is one of the most followed marketing strategies in modern SaaS companies. This is because it aligns with the interest of both the customers and the business. Businesses want to target their marketing campaigns to the right customers. And customers would like to know and research about the products only when they have a need.
By mapping your customer journey, you would be able to identify what attracts your customer and what turns them away. This information is crucial for you to design your content strategy which will help you attract the right customers to your business.
#2 Greater Customer Experience
For a customer to repeat business with you and recommend your business to others, you need to give them a great customer experience. All your departments like the marketing and sales team, your customer success team and your support team have to interact with a customer at different times. During these interactions, you need to make sure that you are providing a consistently positive experience to the customer. Through a customer journey map, you can help increase awareness of your internal teams about the various customer experiences.
#3 Improve Sales Process
When you have a granular view of what steps your customer is following while purchasing your product, you would identify better ways to increase efficiency. By mapping your customer journey, you would know how the customer is proceeding and where they are getting stuck during the sales process. Then you can fine-tune these steps for making this process more smooth and efficient.
How To Create A Customer Journey Map?
To create a map of your customer journey, you need to break down the whole process in the following steps:
- Create Persona
- Behavioral Analysis
- Predict Customer’s Expectations
- Map the Touchpoints
- Analyze Customer Actions
- Review your Map
#1 Create Persona
Creating a persona of the customer would help you identify specific goals of your map. You need to get into the mind of a customer and list down all the possible psychographics of your customer. This will help you create use cases for all choices they can make while interacting with your brand. So, to recap, you need to ask yourself what are the end objectives of this map? Who are you creating this map for? What experiences are associated with them which you want to map out? Having a clear persona would help you answer all these questions and is the first step towards creating this kind of map.
#2 Behavioral Analysis
Once you have the right persona of a customer that fits your business, you need to do some behavioral analysis to identify various stages in their journey. These stages define what choices they make in their journey and how they proceed. A typical series of stages would be product discovery, market research, selecting a product and purchase. These are very broad categories which I mentioned only to give you some idea. You can create more elaborate behavioral stages for your business context.
#3 Predict Customer’s Expectations
At each stage of their journey above, you need to map the expectations a customer would be having. For example, during purchase, the customer expectation would be to order effortlessly. Or during their market research stage, their end objective would be to find the best product that meets their needs. All the stages of the customer journey have to be mapped with right customer expectations. Then it would be easier to cross-check if your company meets those expectations or not.
#4 Map the Touchpoints
Touchpoints are the interactions your customers are having during each stage. Map all the touchpoints for the above identified stages of your customer. For example, during the brand awareness stage, a common touchpoint could be social media marketing or Google ads. Likewise, during their research phase, another touchpoint could be the enquiry page on your website. These touchpoints are most important for you to find ways to enhance customer experience.
#5 Analyze Customer Action
This is where the real-time data comes into picture while creating your customer journey map. For each of the touchpoints above, you need to analyze the data about the actions your customers chose. Any web-analytics tool like Google Analytics, would help you gather real-time data of your website visitors. Through those data or heat-maps, you can find out the success percentage of meeting their goals. What are the points where they got stuck and cancelled their purchase order? Issues like these can be identified and tackled individually for the best possible results.
#6 Review your Map
Your map should always be in a state of corrections. You must make it as close as possible to the real-time usage of your customers. This way you would be able to trace their journey much closer and make necessary improvements in all the experiences you give to them. Make sure to review your customer journey map regularly and on a timely basis. Keeping many stakeholders involved in your map would also be beneficial to gather more inputs on refining it.
These are just the basic guidelines to give you an idea on getting started with a customer journey map. As you go along creating it, your more stages of customer journey would become a part of your map. Most important part of the map from a customer success viewpoint would start post sales. These are the stages where you guide your customers to move towards product adoption and finally towards brand advocacy.
How you help them achieve business value from your product is another stage along with building long-term relationships with them. Then approaching them for business expansion through upselling and cross-selling opportunities would also form a necessary stage in your customer journey. Make sure you map all these stages correctly that are applicable to your business and your map would always turn out to be useful in the longer run.