Getting the Vendor Back Into the Driver's Seat

Media Inquiries: Contact Karen Budell, CMO

Media Inquiries: Contact Karen Budell, CMO

The last decade has seen major disruptions in software, completely reversing the power roles between vendor and user. It’s been said many times that the customer is king, and it couldn't be truer.

Software has moved to the cloud, online services are offering subscription or freemium models, the power of social has increased and then there’s the big switch to the second screen: mobile. It’s up to us to be where the user is and available when they want it. Having a customer journey map will help vendors steer the relationship to where they want it to be.

Back in the day when software was all about closing a one-time deal, sales teams didn’t have to worry about coming back for short-term renewals, their job was done once the contract was signed. By the time the customer had implemented the software, the cost of switching later on down the road was too great, for the company and the stakeholders.

Today, customers are in the driver’s seat because they have an “easy in” and “easy out.” With subscription and freemium models, they can be your customer today and easily leave the next day if they’re not finding value with you.

Are We There Yet?

In the cloud software business, revenue is directly tied to the expectation that customers will grow and expand their adoption of your technology or services over time. Like kids on a long road trip, they’re going to want to be delighted and amazed, otherwise the trip is going to be boring (and short) ... and they might just decide to go somewhere else! If you want to control the outcome, you need a game plan.

Planning and implementing the right customer journey could really make a dramatic impact on customer experience and the customer lifetime value. It’s important to understand the customer journey map is a model for your ideal customer, meant to be used as a blueprint, so you can guide your customers to next value. The customer journey map will help you identify where the customer is (risk) and where they should be (opportunity). Below is an example of a customer journey map that shows a path that leads to recurring value for the user.


5 Steps to Customer Journey Maps

Here are 5 steps to help plan your customer journey map:

1. Define first value

What is the wow factor that will get your users hooked at first value? Ease of use? Solves a pain point quickly? Defining this will set up a clear goal on where you’d like your users to get to when they start using your service. If user don’t find this first value, then onboarding will have failed.

2. Define on track for onboarding users (see diagram below)

Start with an ideal (green) path that leads them from start to successful onboarding. What are some processes or steps they need to complete to reach the next level?

Then think about the caution (grey) path. What are users doing (or not doing) to fall into this bucket? What are the steps to bring them towards the ideal path?

Lastly, the warning (red) path. Why are these users failing to see the value you have to offer? Is the process to lengthy or confusing? Is there a bug? What’s the friction? What can you do to bring them back from no man’s land so that there’s still a chance for them to successfully onboard?


3. Define on track for established users (see diagram below)

Similar to onboarding users, it’s important to know the health of your established users and how to move them from warning/caution over to the ideal bucket.


4. Figure out how to measure on track progression

The best way to tackle this is to monitor usage and have pro-active triggers in place to help them to next value.

5. Define an action for each segment (based on customer health/engagement)

Focus your customer journey map to guide your users towards creating or finding recurring value, and recurring revenues will follow.

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