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How Using Customer Journey Maps Can Guarantee a Better Customer Experience

Learn how you can use customer journey maps and customer touchpoints along a customer's journey to improve your customer's experience for the better through the use of Motivational Personas.

When I began writing my eBook “How to Land and Succeed in the Customer Success Profession,” I wanted to focus on how the customer journey and what I call the employment journey could correlate analogously. I began searching for a type of customer journey map that could reflect this idea equally.

And since the writing of that eBook, I realize a 3rd way you can use a customer journey map...there are many ways to use one of course, but this use hasn't been touched on yet. I love when that happens! ;)

I'll show you how to map what I call each stakeholder’s "Motivational Persona" to each phase of the customer's lifecycle on a customer journey map to better guarantee customer loyalty, customer retention, and most importantly, improve the customer experience. Yeah, baby!

Understanding your customers' behaviors in this way, and how to respond to them is a winning customer success formula that will ensure brand loyalty for years to come.

First, what is a Customer Journey Map?

Unfortunately, the terms “customer journey map” and “customer lifecycle”, and "customer journey" for that matter are used interchangeably in the customer success field. However, these 3 terms are not the same thing.

The customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer's journey your company takes them on to achieve success with your solution/product, and a customer lifecycle are the stages/phases a customer goes through during that journey.

Think of it this way:

The Customer Journey Map, is just that, a map that draws out a specific path, like using Google Maps to find the best path to your mom's house.

The Customer Journey is a way of describing what you're doing on the way to mom's, "I'm journeying to my mom's place".

The Customer Lifecycle stages/phases are like the necessary pit stops you have to make on your way to ensure you get there in one piece, like grabbing food or gas, going to a rest stop to potty your overly anxious mutt, stopping to buy flowers, or renting a motel if it's a long drive.

[For in-depth information on this topic read Part 2 of my eBook: "How to Land and Succeed in the Customer Success Profession: a success playbook for your employment journey"].

A Customer Journey Map:

  • Is a framework that helps your company decide what teams should be involved during each phase of the customer journey.

  • Is a way to recognize customers' needs and critical customer milestones/customer touchpoints they need to achieve in order to be successful with your solution/product.

  • Helps determine what actions are essential to get the customer to the next step.

  • Standardizes processes during each stage of the lifecycle and across tiers and segments to make actions repeatable.

  • Can optimize the ability for CS operations and CS teams to provide a high level of service without a significant headcount of Customer Success Managers.

Second, How Can a Customer Journey Map be

Leveraged to Improve a Customer's Experience?

I realized that creating a customer journey map can be more than just a way to document various touchpoints, milestones, or activities to be achieved at each stage. There’s also a human element involved at every step of the customer journey, so that human element should be accounted for and leveraged too, to ensure an exceptional customer experience!

Each stage of the customer journey involves humans and I realized there is a better likelihood of achieving each milestone if the stakeholders’ human motivations were taken into account by the employee/CSM, especially at the high touch level of customer engagement. I termed these human motivations "Motivational Personas".

So, I aligned each Motivational Persona to each of the 4 lifecycle stages of the customer journey with suggested interactions along the way. And voila! A better customer experience!

The LAER Model as a Framework

To simplify the process, the model I chose to illustrate the personas you will encounter as a Customer Success Professional (CSP for short), during each phase of the customer journey is known as LAER—Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew. It was a model developed and named by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), a research and consultative firm that helps companies achieve their business goals with advice, data, and community education.

The model is simple, and provides a foundation for us to build on as we add each Motivational Persona and what they're thinking, from the customer’s perspective.

Below is the purpose of each lifecycle stage in a customer’s journey:

  • LAND is every effort to get a prospective customer interested in your service(s) and change them from a prospect to a customer. This stage encompasses all sales and marketing efforts.

  • ADOPT is all the work to keep your customers after purchase. The best way to keep a new customer is to get them using your product immediately and as much as possible. That means they need to adopt or use it successfully.

  • EXPAND happens when a customer realizes the value of your product and solution after using it consistently. They are more likely to expand their use to other features, tools, and solutions. The Expand stage concentrates efforts around cross-sell and upsell that is relevant to the customer’s needs.

  • RENEW is what happens when a customer’s contract ends and they decide to continue as your customer. Renewals are imperative for the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) subscription model to be profitable. Every step and team involved in the customer’s journey with your organization should have helped your customer reach their desired goals and outcomes stipulated in their sales contract. So, renewal is the result of every conversation, every day of use, and every effort to keep the customer “healthy.” The goal of renewing the contract should be the top intent during each phase of the customer journey.

Human Motivations

If you want to have a better chance of a customer achieving each milestone, it’s important to understand the human motivations at every stage of the customer journey.

That means understanding what makes them tick and keeping an eye out for certain behaviors. In this way you're able to give them the the customer experience THEY want on the way to achieving their goal.

Humans are different and are looking for various experiences based on their personality and their roles. To achieve the Moments of Truth (MoT) during each touchpoint it’s important to discover:

  • What messaging each stakeholder will be the most receptive to at each lifecycle stage of the customer journey.

  • What lifecycle activities will give them the type of outcome that their motivational style is hoping for

  • What message, insight, and experiences will resonate with them the best

By learning to speak the human's/stakeholder's/persona's language, read their emotions, and focus on what resonates with them, you will ultimately put the human first, which is a winning CX strategy!

Read on for how to put this into practice with your customers...

The Three Motivational Personas:

The Expert, Friend, and CEO

To simplify this process, I've consolidated about 13 typical human motivations into three overarching Motivational Personas that can be assigned to each stakeholder you work with. I have also included what they're thinking at each stage of the customer journey, the outcome they want, and their motivations at each stage of the journey.

Overview of the 3 Motivational Personas


The Expert persona is motivated by being seen as the expert in the room. Their motivation is high achievement, so they focus on goal achievement. Don't be surprised if they present you with their own desired goals to be achieved at each lifecycle stage of the customer journey.

What's also important to them is a job challenge, autonomy, and being surrounded by competence, both internally within their own team, and externally with your account team. They are driven by being an expert, which means that you, as the CSM, should find ways for them and their team to master your platform.

They enjoy finding solutions to challenges so if you have one to overcome, bring it to them with the goal of finding a solution together! You always want to provide clear goals, identify challenges to be solved, and provide impeccable customer service and support.

The Expert's Desired Customer Experience

During Each Customer Journey Phase

During the LAND and ADOPT phase it’s important to focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the progressive achievement of certain metrics and tasks. They especially love calendars with dates of completion, checklists, an outcome achievement blueprint, diagrams, and organized success plans with start and end dates. along with checklists, and dates of completion. Anything showing progress toward achievement is right up their alley.

Every Motivational Persona is laser focused on a particular outcome. You'll gain a better understanding of The Expert’s desired outcomes by asking questions like:

  • What pain points need to be solved for, and what outcomes are critical to your success this year with our solution?