10 minute read · Published May 25, 2024

Designing a customer experience roadmap that makes users rave about you

Latest Update May 25, 2024

Picture this: You slog days and nights to earn money and find yourself clutching a crisp stack of hundred-dollar bills. It is an intensely satisfying feeling, isn’t it? 

Now imagine setting that entire wad of cash ablaze in the office breakroom. Your boss is stunned. Your colleagues are horrified and are screaming, “Why did you do that?” 

Not so happy anymore, are you?

That's the equivalent of a single unhappy customer for a SaaS business. Not only do you stand to lose their business, but their negative experience can spread like wildfire. They'll vent to friends, family, and anyone they can find online, turning potential customers into skeptics who may end up taking their business elsewhere. 

This is exactly why top-performing companies in the industry don’t just assume that once a sale is complete, their job of interacting with customers is over. A study by Forbes finds that companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%!

This underscores an undeniable truth – prioritizing and delivering an exceptional customer experience cannot be an afterthought. It is very much a part of a successful B2B SaaS business’s DNA. 

Why does a customer experience roadmap matter (and where should you even begin)?

There are simply too many ways and places where a customer interacts with a business. From online channels like LinkedIn and Twitter to offline interactions that take place during industry events or 1-on-1 sales calls, and even the different touchpoints users have within your platform, it all provides potential customers, existing customers, and users opportunities to “experience” you. Serving them all a positive experience everywhere, at all times, around the clock can honestly feel overwhelming for customer experience teams.  

This is where a customer experience roadmap comes in. It serves as a GPS to your business’s north star. 

What kind of experience should you deliver to your customers? Do you want them to feel delighted, empowered, or something else entirely? How will you decide which CX initiatives to take and when? How will every project contribute to creating a memorable customer experience? How will you know when your plan is working?

By detailing a customer experience roadmap you stand to create some major wins for your business as well as your customers. 

  • You will ensure that no matter when or where customers “experience” your brand or your products they always leave feeling good.
  • You can figure out what makes the most sense for your customers right now, as well as a few months down the line, and prioritize those items – not just from a CX standpoint, but also from product development, sales, and marketing perspective. 
  • You bring together all teams – from product managers to product marketers to sales leaders to customer experience managers onto the same table to focus on the ONE thing that matters to your business – customers. 
Image showing 7 steps of customer experience roadmap

Understand your current customer experience

You can’t know where you’re headed unless you know where you are. 

So before you take the plunge and start setting your goals, it is important to figure out where exactly your CX needs improving. What is causing friction or dissatisfaction for your customers? Where can things be improved? 

Here's the beauty of a customer experience roadmap – it starts with a reality check. By evaluating your current CX, you establish a baseline. 

How happy are your customers right now?  Would they recommend you to their peers or other prospects in their network?  

Answering these questions through key metrics sets the stage for measuring the effectiveness of your roadmap. Imagine the look on your senior leaders' faces when you showcase the positive impact on customer happiness and brand advocacy!

Here are a few intel-gathering methods to get you started – 

  • Customer interviews: 1-on-1 interviews are your chance to get inside your customers’ minds.  By sitting down with them (or maybe it’s virtually across a Zoom screen) you can have a real conversation with customers about what excites them, what frustrates them, and how you could be doing better. By digging into open-ended questions, you'll get a lot of qualitative data – and that’s seriously like a goldmine. Analyzing these interviews will reveal hidden truths about customer sentiment and pinpoint areas where your CX initiatives can make a real difference.
  • Customer surveys: Using a mix of questions like multiple-choice, open-ended, and Likert scale, you can approach a broader customer base to gather their feedback about specific features or pain points or even the way the entire customer experience process is run to understand your customers’ true sentiments. 
  • Heatmaps: Heatmaps are visual representations of user behavior on your platform or app. With a heatmap, you can track where a user clicks on a screen, to what parts they scroll, and where their mouse hovers – all of which can highlight areas of high engagement and areas that may be confusing or difficult to navigate. Analyzing heatmaps can help identify potential pain points in a customer’s digital journey.
  • Session recordings: Session recordings go one step further from heatmaps – they allow you to capture and observe user behavior firsthand. By watching these recordings you get insights into how users actually move around and work with your platform’s UI. 

Map the customer journey

All the ways in which a customer interacts with you, both online and offline, form a part of the customer journey. 

Image showing the different stages of the customer journey

Here's what a typical customer journey looks like –

  • Awareness: This is often the first stage in the customer journey here potential customers first become aware of your business and its offerings. This might happen through advertising, social media, online searches, or word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Consideration: When a potential customer begins to actively take an interest in your products, whether they are visiting your website to learn more about your product suite or are comparing what you have to offer with your competitors, they enter the consideration stage.  
  • Decision: In the decision stage, customers weigh all their options and ultimately decide whether to buy from you. 
  • Engagement and retention: Following the purchase, your focus shifts towards engaging and retaining your customers and users. This stage involves providing excellent customer service, offering post-purchase support, and encouraging repeat business.
  • Advocacy: Delighted customers often become advocates for your business. In this stage, satisfied customers may recommend your brand to others through positive reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, or social media engagement.

Mapping the customer journey gives you a clear picture of how customer intent, behavior, and understanding of you evolves, where your customer experience might be lacking, and which opportunities you can tap into. 

Take scheduling a meeting with your sales team as an example. Let’s say, right now, prospects have to fill out a lengthy form, and then wait for a sales rep to email them back with availability options. What a time-suck! So when you map out the customer journey, you see this roadblock. The solution? Providing a direct link to the sales rep's calendar, so prospects can book a meeting on their own terms. That's the power of customer journey mapping – pinpointing opportunities that you can use to delight your customers. 

Analyze your competitors' customer experience

If you can keep a watch on what others in your industry are doing to deliver a great customer experience, you can not only spot potential gaps in your own roadmap, but you can also identify industry best practices and use them to stay ahead of the curve. 

Here are some ways to do this – 

  • Reviews and social media analysis: Go through online reviews, social media comments, and brand mentions, especially those happening in industry publications or analyst reports. These channels offer valuable insights into customer sentiment towards your competitors. Analyze the positive and negative feedback to understand what resonates most with their customers and identify areas where others might struggle that you can use as a competitive differentiator.
  • Industry reports and benchmarks: Industry reports and product benchmarking studies often provide valuable data on customer experience trends and best practices within your specific sector. These resources can reveal key performance indicators for customer satisfaction within your industry – which is great for comparing your own CX efforts and helping you understand how high or tough the bar might be.  

Creating a customer experience vision

A strong customer experience vision does two key things – first, it sets a strategic direction for all customer-facing teams. Everyone, from marketing to sales to customer experience, knows exactly where you're headed. Second, it aligns everyone, ensuring they're all rowing in the same direction. No more confusion, just a united front focused on creating an amazing customer experience.

Here's a framework to guide you – 

  • Define desired outcomes: Every strategy begins with knowing what you want as an outcome. In this case, you must ask yourself, how do you want your customers to feel when interacting with your business and its products? What emotions do you want to be associated with? How will you differentiate your CX from your competitors?  
  • Establish success metrics: How would you know whether your CX plan is actually working? By tracking key metrics of course! Consider metrics like net promoter score, customer satisfaction score, and customer effort score as your scorecard.  They tell you how your customers are really feeling about their experience.  As you implement your roadmap initiatives, track these scores. If they are climbing steadily that would be a sign of happy customers and a successful roadmap in action. 

Prioritize CX initiatives that make the most of your resources

Let's face it, no business has unlimited resources. Being realistic about the time and budget you can dedicate to CX initiatives is crucial. This honest assessment will make sure that your roadmap focuses on achievable goals within your resource constraints.

Also, recall your customer journey map and prioritize those initiatives that address the most critical customer needs that you have identified at each touchpoint. After all, delivering a great customer experience means being able to address those needs first that have the greatest positive impact on your customers. 

Implement your customer experience roadmap 

Once you’re ready to turn your vision into action you can follow these steps to walk the talk – 

  • Break down big goals into manageable actionable steps: Turn those lofty goals into “to do” items so your team can conquer specific, bite-sized tasks.
  • Establish a clear ownership: Every action needs a champion. Assign clear ownership for each step, pinpointing the team or individual accountable for leading and completing the task. You can use the RACI framework to assign roles to different stakeholders so everyone has skin in the game. Don't forget about deadlines! Setting timelines keeps the project on track and everyone focused on achieving milestones.
Image showing the different components of the RACI matrix
  • Communicate continuously: Open and consistent communication ensures that stakeholders don’t work in silos. You can use regular team meetings, progress reports, or even a dedicated communication platform to keep everyone informed about the progress of your roadmap and engage as well as empower those committed to helping you realize your CX vision.  

Measure and refine your customer experience 

Building and executing a customer experience roadmap should never be mistaken for a one-time effort. It's an ongoing process that requires continuous measurement and refinement. Here's why – 

  • Customers evolve all the time: Customer expectations and needs are constantly evolving. You need to be aware of what’s happening on the other side of the table at all times so you can serve your customers the most relevant and delightful experiences. 
  • New opportunities or gaps crop up: While you are running your CX initiatives, you are bound to uncover new areas for improvement – you simply cannot wait to get back to the drawing board to revamp your entire strategy. By continuously monitoring key metrics, you can refine your approach and focus your resources on addressing pain points that linger.  
  • Demonstrating ROI: By tracking CX metrics, you can quantify the impact of your roadmap initiatives which is needed to demonstrate the return on investment of your CX efforts and secure continued support from stakeholders.

Here are some key customer experience metrics that can be used to measure the success of your roadmap:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS measures customer loyalty and willingness to recommend your brand. Ask customers how likely they are to recommend your company to others on a scale of 0 to 10. Categorize scores as promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6). The higher the NPS score the better, as it indicates a strong likelihood of customers spreading good things about you!
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT scores are often measured on a Likert scale that ranges from "very dissatisfied" to "very satisfied". It helps you understand how satisfied customers are at different touchpoints in their journey. 
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): CES measures the ease or difficulty customers experience in completing tasks or having their issues resolved. You can use surveys to ask customers to rate the effort required on a scale that ranges from “very easy” to “very difficult. A lower CES score is the dream as it indicates a more effortless customer experience.

Unlock customer delight with your customer experience roadmap

The whole point of putting together a customer experience roadmap is to deliver a consistent and delightful experience to all your customers across all channels at all times. 

By prioritizing initiatives based on customer needs, you can spot gaps and look for opportunities that you and even your competitors might have missed. When you have a well-defined roadmap in place, with a clear vision and goals, you make sure that all the relevant stakeholders, whether it is a customer experience manager, a product marketer, or a product owner – are all well aligned and inspired to work together towards a common goal. 

In this comprehensive guide, we've explored the essential steps for building a customer experience roadmap – a strategic blueprint for crafting exceptional customer interactions at every touchpoint.

Ultimately, a customer experience roadmap helps you score significant wins with your customers – they feel good about how you treat them, they trust you, they want to do repeat business with you and they love to talk about you with others. What else can you ask for?

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