Customer journey in SaaS

Customer journey is a way to track your customers and how they can go from being new users to becoming advocates of your product. Identify customers who are stuck and help them out in advance.

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Introduction

SaaS businesses are obsessed with customers and consciously shape the customer’s perception of their brand. Every experience with the company has to be a positive one in order to enhance customer retention and ensure that businesses can reduce churn.

It’s important for companies to have a clear picture of the path customers take when using their products and find ways to ensure they are on the road to success. Only by using the right software can SaaS companies have a clear idea of how customers are interacting with their products and when they are likely to take certain actions.


What is the SaaS customer journey?

The SaaS customer journey is a representation of all the customer’s interaction with your business, through different stages from onboarding to advocacy. It’s hard to keep a track of every customer individually which is why you can group them into stages to help your team determine what actions to take with regards to customer success.

SaaS customer journey maps are developed to help customers attain their objectives and gain real value from your products. The type of approach customers require at each stage of the customer journey is different, and journeys give you an idea of the kind of actions needed from both customers and your internal success team.

For example, when your customer gets “stuck” at a particular stage of the customer journey, a Customer Success Manager can step in to help. Perhaps the customer has signed up for an account but failed to finish integrating your SaaS with other third-party apps. At this point, your CSM can send a thoughtful email asking the customer if they need any help with the setup.

In Churn360, for example, you can define plays with milestones which have automated activities for your customers and CSMs to complete during every stage of the customer journey. This customer success platform enables you to easily keep track of customers’ progress, even when you have hundreds of customers to look after.


The stages of the customer journey

1. Onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most important phases in the customer journey. The customer has just bought your product and you need to support them through getting set up and finding initial value in your software.

You can take them through product walkthroughs and send an email series linking to product documentation. You can schedule an onboarding call with your customer to help familiarize them with the software. You can provide links to existing webinars that show customers how to use the product.

customer success onboarding

Without an exceptional onboarding experience, customers won’t be set up for success and are likely to abandon your software. Onboarding needs to be tightly integrated with the sales team, so customers encounter a streamlined experience with your SaaS product when they sign up.

In Churn360, your CSMs can configure plays for customers during the onboarding stage as per the activities followed during onboarding, so you don’t have to manually add tasks every time. This will help with the onboarding process by streamlining your workflows and ensuring that no one slips through the cracks.

2. Adoption

Once your customer has successfully completed the onboarding stage, they will be moving on to adoption. If onboarding has been successful, customers are past the phase of exploring the product and its features and understand the role it plays in solving a problem for them.

In adoption stage, your company’s product becomes part of their daily routine. You should see regular and comprehensive usage of all your product’s features. They understand how to use your product and are gaining tremendous business value, so your software becomes indispensable.

CSMs should be focusing on customer retention and reducing churn by reaching out to customers who they think could benefit from extra support.

This is where your CSM should be regularly monitoring the health of your customers using software like Churn360. Churn360 will send notifications that alert you to changes in a customer’s health score, for example if product usage has gone down 20% this would indicate a poor health score.

3. Retention

The retention stage is when you can rely on your customers to renew their subscription. There is no question in their minds that the product is worth the fee. Customer renewals are an integral part of the SaaS business model and contribute towards healthy MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) and ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue).

As the months pass, you earn a recurring customer. During the retention stage, customers need to keep realizing value from your SaaS so they continue to feel happy paying for their subscription. If onboarding and adoption has not been successful, then this is the stage of the journey where you’ll see many customers cancelling their subscription.

A danger during this phase is the novelty might have worn off your software, causing customers to disengage and stop using it. You need to keep track of whether customers are lapsing from using your product and come up with strategies to re-engage them.

In order to re-engage lapsed customers, you might want your CSMs to reach out to them and make them aware of features of the product that they haven’t yet used. To help with this, in Churn360 you can access the usage details to give insight into the features of the product that are unused. You can also view customers who are up for renewal in 30 days so that you can target your efforts towards retaining them.

4. Upsell

As your customers grow, you need to make sure that your product can scale with them. When their needs become more complex, you might be able to upsell to them in order to keep them using your product.

This is your opportunity to increase your customer’s lifetime value by upselling them a higher tier plan. In this phase, you must show customers how they can get more out of your SaaS by upgrading, rather than considering a competitor who might better suit their needs.

customer success upsell

When customers are experiencing limitations with your SaaS, you can solve their problems by upgrading their plan. It’s not about offering them services they don’t want but rather expanding the capabilities of the software to help them meet their objectives.

5. Advocacy

During the advocacy stage, customers become power users of your software and naturally help you promote your company to a wider audience.

In this stage, customers are loyal advocates of your brand and willing to recommend your software to others. Existing customers are a vital resource in helping you attract new customers through word-of-mouth marketing, and they are also open to providing testimonials and reviews.

Customers and SaaS businesses have a mutually beneficial relationship, where the customer gets the most out of a best-in-class product and the business reaps the reward of organic promotion.

You can identify your advocates by running NPS surveys to find out who your promoters are. When you know who your promoters are, you can ask them for a testimonial or a referral.


Benefits of customer journey

Provides a common appreciation of the customer experience

Mapping your customer journey gives the whole of your company a common appreciation of the customer experience. Team members know exactly how customers are using the software and it removes the guesswork from customer success initiatives. It makes each stage explicit so that your business can develop highly effective strategies to engage with customers at every point in the customer journey.

Increases empathy for the customer

The customer journey map looks at the software from the customer’s point of view rather than the business priorities. This increases empathy for the customer as team members are able to understand their wants and needs. When customers are getting stuck at particular stages, your CS team is spurred on to help them and ensure they are getting the most out of the product.

Helps to forecast customer behaviour

When you follow your customers through the customer journey, this can help predict future behaviour and anticipate problems before they occur. This is because you know what each customer has to do in order to move on through each stage of the journey and you can keep track of the milestones they have reached.


How customer success software can help

Using a product such as Churn360, you can reduce churn by tracking if your customers are moving through the lifecycle stages of onboarding, adoption, renewal and upsell. The customers that are stuck in a particular area are at a high risk of churning, so the software can tell you when proactive action should be taken before it is too late.

customer success help

You can initiate the steps that happen during every phase of the customer journey in keeping with your customer success process. Use Churn360 to add plays with milestones and activities alongside due dates and reminders. This will assist your Customer Success Managers in managing churn by preventing important moments falling through the cracks.

In the customer journey section of Churn360, you can view which customers are “on track”, “delayed”, and “stuck”, prompting your CS team to help customers overcome hurdles with the software. You can use CSM pulse to record the sentiment of the customer after every call or other interaction, for example labelling some unhappy customers as “high risk”.

If you use customer success software like Churn360, you can gain advanced insight into how customers are moving through the customer journey. You’ll be able to successfully help your customers to smoothly pass through the stages and increase retention for your SaaS.


Wrapping up

The customer journey may look slightly different for every SaaS business but there are some common themes that unite all journeys. It’s all about looking at your software from your customers’ perspective and anticipating the steps you need to go through to help them be successful with your product.

In the quest to support customers throughout their journey, you need the help of customer success software like Churn360, which gives you a holistic view of all your customers and supports your CSMs to manage a high volume of users.


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