Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Kia CX’s blog here.
I am often asked the question whether customer success needs to create different versions of customer journeys for their various customer types, or even a customer journey for each customer. The answer is definitely a resounding no! Doing so does not scale nor is it feasible to run your operations differently for each customer.
The Customer Journey
So how does a customer success organization balance the need between a consistent delivery process for optimal efficiency in servicing its customers and personalizing the journey for customers to meet their specific objectives and needs? The answer lies in building a Customer Experience framework that allows for flexibility to balance both operational efficiency and individual customer needs.
I like to use the analogy of human development to illustrate this point.
Every single person is unique. Everything from our names, interests, physical characteristics, to our DNA is different. From a high-level perspective, however, every human goes through the same key stages of physical development from birth to death.
We all pass through infancy, to early childhood, to school age, adolescence, adulthood and eventually old age regardless of who we are.
That is, even though each individual is different, individuals in the same stage will tend to experience generally the same developmental events in that specific stage.
It’s because of these developmental stages, the human “journey” if you will, that doctors can quickly assess patients to diagnose the problem and then narrow down their focus of help by treating patients to varying degrees based on individual needs. For example, infants obviously have different needs than seniors. A doctor assessing an infant would swiftly do so in comparison to the infant stages of development (not seniors) and then zero in on the individual infant’s needs in more detail.
Same with customers. Each customer is unique of course, however, within the same stage of the customer journey, they generally have the same needs.
During onboarding for example, all customers should be welcomed with a call to level set on the customer’s objectives and why they bought your product, and then customer success should let the customer know how they will help them be successful with the product.
In drilling down into the customer’s distinct objectives during that call, customer success can start to tailor certain activities within the journey, such as educational needs or communication cadence, for instance, to effectively drive the customer to their specific goals.
Think of your customer journey as analogous to the stages of human development. You will want to define a robust customer journey that describes the natural evolution of your customers as they mature with your product so that operationally you can be as efficient as possible by executing against only one journey.
Then define the operational activities required to support the journey and empower customer success to use their experience of it, along with the knowledge of the customer’s objectives, to move customers uniquely through their journey.
In building a flexible framework, customer success is effectively balancing the need between a consistent delivery process for optimal efficiency in servicing its customers and personalizing the journey for customers to meet their specific goals.
That’s a stage of development every healthy customer success organization will want to go through!