Successful companies drive growth by delivering experiences that meet customer expectations in such a way that leaves customers wanting more of that same experience. Customer journey maps have become one of the most popular tools for customer success teams to use to understand and improve the customer’s experience. Customer journey mapping helps you take an outside-in approach by stepping into your customers’ shoes so you can see your business through their eyes.

Journey maps visually tell the story of how well you help your customers achieve their desired business outcomes. Thus, it’s critically important that you understand your customer and their desired business outcomes before starting to map their journey.

Customer journey maps can provide a number of insights for customer success teams. Here are a few ways customer success teams can use journey maps:

Visualize where gaps and opportunities exist to improve the customer experience

The customer journey doesn’t end once your customer has bought from you. It starts with awareness and goes through advocacy. Thus, you have to view the entire journey as a whole to understand customers, their behaviors, and their perceptions to know how to enhance their entire experience.

As a first step, it’s important that your internal team walks through the entire customer journey – from awareness through advocacy – from the customer’s perspective. Then, you must get validation from customers. You’ll understand where the pain points are and be able to prioritize opportunities to close those gaps so you can improve the customer’s experience. Then, you can use the maps as a guide going forward to help you to further optimize the experience for your customers, encourage engagement, and drive loyalty.

Determine the best places for obtaining feedback, delivering information, and driving feature usage

Customer journey mapping helps determine key moments of truth and where touchpoints would be of most value to obtain feedback, deliver information, and drive feature usage.  

We define moments of truth as interactions in which customers put a high amount of energy to reach a satisfactory outcome. A study by Bain & Co has shown that targeting users during critical moments of truth can significantly reduce churn. Your customers can have thousands of moments of truth over the course of their lifetime. These moments can impact your relationship with your customer and their perception of you. Knowing these key moments where a higher touch is beneficial will help you create a stronger emotional connection with your customer to help you provide a more delightful experience. When customers are emotionally connected and feel good about your product, they will want to stick with you.

Customer journey maps can help you determine where to place listening posts, whether automated or direct with the customer, to drive engagement to enhance the experience.

Build alignment between teams to drive outcome achievement more quickly

Are your customer success, marketing, sales, support, operations, and product teams rowing together in the same direction?

A customer journey map can determine where silos between teams across an organization might exist, and where accountability for specific tasks or assets should take place. It helps teams understand the customer point of view, and helps employees develop empathy for customers. In addition, a journey map can help align the organization around your customer strategy, retention, advocacy, etc. so you deliver a consistent experience your customer expects. And, it can also help determine whether more innovation, infrastructure, and resources are needed to deliver on your brand promise.  

Customer journey maps also help you identify where the handoffs between departments – such as Customer Success and Sales – are or should be so you can nail the processes of those handoffs and build more trust with your customer.

Develop success plans for customers & define milestones

A customer journey map can help you determine success milestones that your customer needs to achieve their desired business outcomes. It can also help you monitor your customers’ success to ensure they stay on track or help you get them back on track when you sense they are veering off-course.

Plan content and marketing communications

Customer journey maps can help you determine where you might need to add new and different types of content to help your customers achieve TTV (Time-To-Value) quicker, drive additional revenues, and improve customer lifetime value.

A singular view of the customer that a journey map provides can help you pinpoint where more content would help deliver value and reduce friction. You’ll also be able to determine when it is an appropriate time to communicate upsell and cross-sell offers.

Help measure and optimize the customer experience

If you think about it, a customer journey map reflects data about your customers’ actions, thoughts, and feelings. Data is taken at every step of the journey. In fact, your journey maps should be continuously reinforced by data.

A customer journey map can help you determine the best places along the journey in which to take measurements. It can also help you to understand the why behind the metrics so you make better decisions and so you can optimize the experience and drive even greater success for your customer.

Customer journey mapping is not one-and-done. It’s a continuous process that is constantly changing and evolving. It’s also an activity that requires cross-functional support across your organization and customer validation to be successful. Thus, customer success teams must continually monitor customer journey map trends and metrics in order to optimize the customer experience.