In the last couple of weeks, the CXM team provided you with a couple of essential guides reflecting on customer experience. This was all part of our initiative to cover the industry basics and further explore the essentials of effective CX. With that in mind, today we introduce a complete customer success roadmap guide.
Following our previous articles, this piece will reflect on the more practical part of CX. You’ll learn what makes a successful customer programme and how to design the most effective roadmap for your business.
What is a customer success roadmap?
First thing first, let’s start by explaining the basics of Customer Success. In essence, the term stands for the business methodology used to ensure customers achieve their desired goals while using the company’s products or services. Customer Success further translates into business strategies developed to support customers throughout their buying journey and decrease churn at the same time. You can read about this in more detail here.
Now, what makes a customer or client success roadmap? Basically, this plan lays out what customer success looks like and marks the steps CX teams should follow to help users achieve their goals. With it, companies can accurately gather customer feedback, track people’s behaviour and needs, and fully understand the journey from the beginning to the end. Thanks to the gained insights, CX teams can further pinpoint what actions and resources are necessary for ensuring customer satisfaction. We’ll get to that part later in the article!
What is the difference between Customer Success and Customer Service?
It often happens for people to get confused over the difference between these two areas. At first glance, it might seem you don’t need a customer success framework if you already have a customer service team dedicated to supporting users. However, there’s one crucial difference to keep in mind – customer service resolves people’s problems along the way while customer success anticipates their needs, challenges, and questions to provide solutions continuously.
A customer success roadmap is meant to provide a better customer understanding at all times, which means it should inform business actions rather than cause an instant reaction of the team. It also focuses more on the needs and goals of customers than desired business outcomes. The customer is at the centre of this programme, not the company.
For example, your customer service team is there to answer people’s complaints and try to resolve emerged issues. On the other hand, your customer success team should try to anticipate common frustration points and prevent them, so customers can achieve their goals without any friction.
Why should you design a customer success framework?
There are many reasons why a company should invest in designing a perfect customer success roadmap. We highlight some of them in the following section.
Churn translates into the number of customers that stop buying products and services or cancel their subscription plans they had with a company. If people are leaving the offerings, it can become truly difficult (if not impossible) to improve business operations and attract new customers at the desired rate. Thus, decreasing churn is essential for companies that want to operate successfully and grow in a highly competitive market.
Simply put, a customer success programme should give you a better idea of why your customers leave in the first place and aid in the prevention. With the proper plan, you can mark all the user pain points, develop a strategy to improve them and take the necessary steps to decrease customer frustration.
A successful customer success roadmap will also help you increase customer acquisition. It is widely known that satisfied users become brand advocates who spread a positive image of the brand. People like to share stories of success and recommendations, which can have either a positive or a negative effect on a certain business. Therefore, investing in a thorough CS framework can help you both attract and retain new customers.
Lastly, by growing your customer base through the perfect customer success framework, you also get a chance to increase revenue. Customer retention and acquisition have a direct impact on your sales. High customer satisfaction leads to increased loyalty, positive word of mouth, repeated purchases, and long-lasting relationships, which all affect the business bottom line.
Steps for building a perfect customer success roadmap
If you’re ready to create a customer success roadmap but don’t know where to start, we highlight the most important steps here. These will help you start designing your very own CS strategy and further inform your business plans.
Identifying the end goal of your customer
The first step in designing a customer success roadmap should be in determining the end goal of your customers. Without a clear picture of the customers’ intentions, you would most likely fail to create an accurate framework.
Moreover, you can help your customers achieve their goals only if you know exactly how success looks like for them.
Here are a few questions that can help you define your customer success roadmap end goals:
- What is our CX broader vision?
- What values drive this vision?
- How far or close are we from this vision?
- How can we close the gaps?
Starting with the goals in mind will help you:
- Have a clear picture of how you want to develop your CX programme
- Keep the gaps between the current and desired state in mind
- Have necessary action steps and priorities listed
Therefore, take the time to explore the needs of people and inform your actions accordingly. This will allow you to optimize your customers’ chances of success steadily and correctly. After having your goals set, there are four essential steps you should follow to design a comprehensive customer success roadmap.
Step 1: Identify your current customer journey risks. Explore with your team where your service falls short. Are your customers giving up right after you onboard them or somewhere along the purchasing process? Highlight these points and collect the necessary data to support your statements. Integrate data from different research and feedback resources.
Step 2: Identify the value-based outcome you want to see. Ask your team how they want to wow your customers. How does this align with your broader vision? What resources in money, technology, and people do you need to achieve this? Be ready for some kind of reality check. Being aware of your limitations is crucial for writing the SMART goals.
Step 3: Make sure each person on your team is responsible and accountable for at least one task. Owning the project will keep them engaged. To start, you can make a simple grid with Who, What, and When tables to have an overview of the upcoming tasks. Over time, you can set advanced management tools to track your progress.
Step 4: Select the metrics you want to track over time. Together with your team, you can decide what defines success for you. When can you say that your customer is successful in accomplishing a task within your company? How will this manifest? What are the tools you will use to measure the results? Answering these questions will help you select metrics right for your service or product.
Build a customer success team
You’ll need a dedicated team to design and implement your customer success strategy. Without the right group of people to support the programme, you might fail to compose and deliver it right.
As explained above, the roadmap is a forward-looking document. We can interpret it as visual support of your company broader CX vision statement. To have an encompassing and functional customer success roadmap, you should unite different teams around the same goal.
In other words, the power of building a product roadmap is breaking siloes and uniting perspectives on the product across the entire company. However, this is not an easy task to complete.
Hiring a customer success roadmap leader
A person assigned to facilitate a customer success roadmap should have strong strategic and communication skills. This person should bring a holistic view of vision, stakeholders involved, budget available, and market demands to the table. Typically, product managers are the carriers of customer success processes. However, they need a whole army of well-equipped professionals to work shoulder to shoulder on developing an exceptional customer roadmap.
One of these roles that should take place at the customer success roadmap table is the data analytics team, skilled to make sense out of various numerical inputs. Additionally, the UX research team, with experts in qualitative data analysis should have a role in informing your design decisions.
Therefore, your product manager should be a person capable of bringing diverse backgrounds together. Finding the right person to lead this process is probably the most valuable investment you can make. In one of our previous articles, we covered the topic of CX recruitment in CX.
Having your unique customer success framework in place is vital for any sustainable business development. This CX support tool helps not only to identify your service pitfalls but also to improve your internal collaboration. Taking the time to build such a complex CX strategy can only ensure your business successful future.