Presented by Totango

How does Disney achieve a 70% return rate? What did Apple and Tesla learn from George Blankenship, an expert in creating arguably the best retail customer experiences?

Creating a customer journey like Disney’s means that B2B businesses must treat the customer journey as a product — one that’s as valuable as an amusement park, futuristic car or smartphone. Market leaders for these companies quickly understood this by managing the customer journey with R&D, a roadmap, a backlog an iteration of the current version being built, and even an extravagant launch event.

If you’ve recently engaged with these three companies as a consumer, you’ll have noticed that their customer journeys continuously evolve like a regular annual product launch. This has enabled strong growth amid recessions and a global pandemic. This strategy requires B2B companies that have adopted customer success (CS) technology to transition their CS programs from solely focusing on initial interactions and end experiences to a new model that consistently optimizes the entire customer journey.

For B2B companies that want to tap into rapid growth in the consumer industry, it’s time to proactively own customer journey management as a product of the customer success program. This means evolving customer success technology beyond pre-sale and post-sale interactions.

But how does one do this seamlessly and efficiently?

Follow Tesla and Apple to move CS beyond pre-sale and post-sales interactions

When I launched Totango in 2010, our team pioneered the practice of managing CS with easy-to-use technology. It’s exciting to see businesses finally focusing on making the customer journey a product of CS technology. Small and large brands are rapidly adopting CS tech because of the ability to scale net retention revenue (NRR) models with a complete CS engagement model. 

Originally, the CS industry was built to be dependent on professional services, which required ongoing customization and heavy support to deliver value. This meant businesses and their customer journeys were limited by the availability of a professional services team.

If a company wanted to innovate the customer journey like Tesla, it was likely that they missed the boat in addressing consumer expectations before the customization was done.

For companies that want to unleash the power of customer success, here are a few steps that I recommend based on our experience of making the customer journey a product.

1. Productize every element of your business, including industry knowledge

Our first efforts in this area led to customizable templates (or apps) called SuccessBLOCs based on our expert guidance and customer feedback that clients could adjust without professional services. This enabled us to create our Customer Journey Marketplace that is filled with SuccessBLOCs. These apps empower customers in any industry to get started immediately.

Simply select the customer outcome that you want to achieve (for example, Drive Product Adoption or Maximize Upsells), then build out your journey. Just like a product, you can continuously iterate and learn faster from new versions of that journey to improve results.

In 2022, we’re going beyond that to enable our customers to contribute their own apps to the marketplace.

2. Turn your employees into experience consultants and advisors.

We recently launched a shared visual workspace, Customer Experience Canvas (Canvas), enabling employees across a company to have visibility into customer journeys and collaborate on the entire customer experience (CX).

In a customer-centric world, all employees are responsible for touchpoints that can impact CX, and with Canvas they have one place where they can combine their knowledge and skills to have a compounding effect that maximizes customer outcomes.

One of the most powerful aspects of Canvas is that EVERYONE can be a CS creator. No matter whether you’re in Customer Success, Marketing, Product, Sales or the Executive Team, you can have a hand in creating innovative customer journeys.

For example, the most popular journeys created with Canvas cover a wide range of business needs such as Onboarding, Adoption, Voice of the Customer, Customer Nurturing, and Renewals. Clearly a broad spectrum of employees within a company help shape those journeys, and because we’ve made the process incredibly simple with a no-code workspace, ready-made templates and drag & drop functionality, it’s very easy to participate and enhance customer success.

This Canvas beta program was by far our most popular product beta ever with 85%+ of Totango customers participating.

3. Advance beyond the status quo to a modern, iterative solution

In recent years, the B2B tech industry has evolved beyond managing a pipeline of products that are heavily support-oriented to managing customer outcomes that achieve customer success by continuously generating value at every stage of the customer journey. B2B companies need to consider customer success that can empower them to orient their business towards customer outcomes through everyday digital touchpoints, seamless onboarding experiences and precise customer health data and analytics.

4. Forward-looking CS technology enables the creation of the customer journey as a product

There is a place for CRM technology to help sell products, but to innovate and iterate enhanced customer journeys as a product of customer success programs, companies need advanced, agile CS technology.

Totango has separated CS best practices from costly professional services by democratizing innovation. Now CS creators can design, build, and run reusable engagements (SuccessBLOCs) composed into customer journeys, then continuously test and iterate in an agile way to achieve scalable growth.

In the same way product development has accelerated with the advent of microservices, monoliths are a thing of the past thanks to a new way of delivering customer success outcomes. By freeing CS creators throughout the entire company to innovate customer engagements, everyone owns and shares in the success of positive customer relationships. See more on building a customer centric SaaS roadmap here.

If companies want to deliver amazing experiences like Tesla, Disney, or Apple, they need to invest in a platform technology that makes the customer journey a product with a self-service, digital-first model that enables company-wide customer success innovation. For businesses that are ready to advance their capabilities and boost returns by tapping into the collective power of their teams, take a free test drive to create your own customer journey with Totango.

Guy Nirpaz is Founder and CEO of Totango.

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