You likely already know what the typical buyer journey looks like. The semantics vary quite often, but it generally begins with awareness and then follows the path through consideration, decision, and, finally, purchase.
In our whitepaper on Driving Growth Beyond the Funnel: Why the Customer Journey is the Future of Business, we described the shift in focus toward what happens after a customer purchases your product. Once a customer makes that initial purchase, they begin a new journey where sales and marketing leave off and customer success takes over. That’s where the customer journey begins.
Here are the four stages of the customer journey and why customer success is critical for making the most out of each one.
Adoption is the stage in which customers are just beginning to learn your product from a user’s perspective as they make the transition from the hands of the sales/marketing team into the hands of customer success. This is when product implementation and exceptional onboarding take place, and it typically lasts about 90 days.
This is where customer success can really shine. They know the product better than just about anyone else and can help not just show product value (like sales and marketing do), but actually deliver that value to new customers.
The retention stage officially begins after successful adoption and is in continuous motion throughout a customer’s lifetime. Retaining customers means mitigating the risk for churn by ensuring customers are successful with your product and your organization and that they consistently see the value added.
Keeping customers successful so they stay longer is a core function of customer success teams across nearly every organization. It’s up to customer success to ensure customers are hitting milestones, achieving goals, and consistently seeing value.
Account expansion happens in a variety of ways—from converting from trial, upgrading to a new pricing tier, purchasing an add-on feature or complementary product—but all mean that a customer is spending more money with your company. Also known as “negative churn,” expansion is a key revenue driver from beyond the traditional sales and marketing funnel.
While expansion may seem like a sales function, and perhaps it is structured that way in your organization, customer success is critical to paving the path. Your CS team’s hard work and understanding of customer needs ensures expansion can happen naturally.
Getting a customer to become an advocate for your product or brand means a job well done by your customer success team. It means they have been so successful with your product or company that they’re ready to share their experience with their peers and it helps send new, more qualified leads to the top of your hourglass.
Similar to the expansion stage, the hard work done by your customer success team makes it an easy decision for customers to become advocates. Customer advocates are a benefit for everyone.