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The SaaS customer journey is helping online businesses create and enforce a customer-first approach, a strategy that’s also allowing Customer Success executives and teams to reach greater heights. How does this work? What are its main characteristics? Are there things to watch out for? Let’s dive into the specifics.
The SaaS customer journey is the result of comprehensive understanding of the customer’s user experience across all stages of the engagement. It’s done by mapping the various milestones and touch points, while also trying to eliminate friction and roadblocks that may be encountered in certain use cases. This customer journey can then be used as a tool to establish optimized outcomes.
The journey essentially starts from the moment the user decides to engage with the brand. It then goes through crucial pre-purchase milestones like signing up, using the Freemium version, or activating the Free Trial.
But that’s just the pre-sales stage. Then comes the stage where the user becomes a paid customer, after which comes the onboarding process. The post-sales phase, most relevant to CS teams, is an infinite loop filled with sentiment fluctuations and relationship changes. It is a crucial cycle where a relationship is formed between the business and the customer, one that needs to be monitored and nurtured.
Related: Customer Journey Mapping Tools
There are different kinds of SaaS customer journey maps:
Let’s elaborate on the post-sales and CS aspect. Here are some key benefits:
Do you have a North Star Metric in place? Looking at an aggressive roadmap in the coming months? Comprehensive SaaS customer journey mapping will help your business move in the right direction. With more clarity around what the customer needs and what is not being achieved, the various components of the businesses can be calibrated accordingly on the go. Everyone’s on the same page.
The numbers clearly back up this claim. The current average churn rate in the SaaS industry is around 5.3%. Companies with churn rates below the 1% mark claim to be fully or partially aligned when it comes to journey mapping and North Star metrics.
You have x14 more probability of selling to existing customers. Getting a 360-view of the customer journey allows businesses to focus more on growth. This can involve pushing customers into engaging with new features or upgrading their paid plans, a proven growth accelerator. SaaS customer journey mapping (future state maps) can also help predict trends and anticipate changes in user behavior.
From the customer success angle, this means your customers can be more engaged, have elevated levels of sentiment on a constant basis, and eventually become better promoters or advocates for your brand.
Troubleshooting and damage control today require a hands-on approach, with over 30% of SaaS companies reporting increased churn rates and dropped customers over the past year.
SaaS customer journey maps help businesses gain a homogeneous view of the customer’s requirements and preferences. If there are gaps or loopholes in the map, they can be addressed quickly to minimize frustration and in-app friction. This strategy also allows you to recognize new features that can enhance the experience and elevate satisfaction levels.
Related: Customer Intelligence: A CS Playbook Essential
The SaaS customer journey has six main stages. Each stage is a natural continuation of the previous one and in an ideal situation everything should unfold smoothly. Poor transitioning, or lack thereof, means the mapping hasn’t been done correctly.
Let’s take a look at the stages in the SaaS customer journey:
Furthermore, SaaS businesses today are encountering multiple use cases with accounts from different ecosystems. Some can be non-paying freelancers using Freemium versions, while other accounts can be big teams from large enterprises. This is why more and more companies are adopting a granular approach when it comes to defining different segments, customer profiles, and use cases.
Related: Top 10 Customer Success Tools for the Productive CSM
SaaS customer journey mapping is a sensitive and systematic process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When done correctly, it can assist with customer retention and lowering churn rates. But for doing so, you need to identify fluctuations and changes around crucial onboarding and engagement touchpoints. Only then your business can create successful outcomes for all sides involved.
Here are a few key actions you should take while mapping your customer journey:
Related: Customer Sentiment Analysis: What’s it All About
It’s nice to have everything mapped out and ready for implementation, but this has to be a company-wide effort. Once you have a SaaS customer journey map, you always need to validate it to make sure that the plans and reality are aligned. Defining a customer journey that no one is enforcing doesn’t make much sense. The same applies to elaborated maps that have no correlation with customers’ reality.
Staircase AI’s next-gen SaaS live customer journey maps are helping do just that. Changes and fluctuations are detected in real-time, all via a centralized dashboard that points you directly towards issues that need immediate attention.
Staircase AI: Live Customer Journey Map, Source: Staircase AI app
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