Interview with Ken Rutsky, President and Principal Consultant at KJR Associates Inc.

Meet Ken Rutsky. Ken worked for several companies before he left 4 ½ years ago to start my his consulting business and focus on driving top line through innovation and position messaging. He then came to customer journey mapping and realized that he was investing so much on getting customers instead of optimizing how to drive maximum value optimizing how to drive maximum revenue, especially in B to B scenarios. From the ‘B to C’ days, he realized it wasn’t just about getting customers but also retaining them through delivering value. After that, he co- developed the customer mapping methodology. Read more about Ken and his knowledge in customer journey mapping.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

In a SaaS world, it involves how you take a customer from onboarding through to value and then to the growth. Customer journey mapping also means you have to create a visual model and representation of the journey that the customer goes through from the time they sign up for your service to when you start to increase the value through growth by delivering 2nd and 3rd customer value, failure to which you put risk into the relationship. By understanding the different steps in the path and then building the metrics around each of these customers, I can segment the customers then take different actions based on this data so that you can provide more value to different levels of customers and thus be able to retain more customers. You can only do this when you have a basic model of this journey and where you want to take that customer.

Most funders have a problem when customers are stuck where there are issues preventing them from moving to the next stafe of an online process. What do you think are some common certainties regarding this?

There are many opportunities to improve a product. Connect with the customer and ask them why they stopped subscribing to your service. Then, offer them a solution to get them back into the saddle. Understand your customers and provide more value to them through communication.

In terms of onboarding, there are many cases where users move from awareness and purchase instead of going through the actual journey. How do you know to take out these cases when coming up with inclusions from journey mapping?

The best customer journey mapping won’t work if you have a bad UX. Improve the product. Think like a customer to understand the natural flow of the product and how the user reasons. This will show areas where customers get stuck. After that, you can streamline the journey to make it better for customers.

When I researched more about customer journey mapping, I discovered that the critical moment of truth is an essential concept. Please elaborate on this and give an example from your experience.

The critical moment of truth was coined by Google since in marketing, everyone focuses on the shopping cart even though the customer makes the decision long before they get to the shopping cart. You can extend this idea to more of a B- to- B SAAS model by thinking of this as a journey in which you need to get customers excited to get value from the product since once they are on board, they are some steps away from getting value. The real moment of truth happens when they get value from your product meaning that if they never get the first value, you cannot retain them as customers so that in the bigger picture, it is all about repetitive value. Monitor the usage of your products by customers and use tips and information with the knowledge that the repetitive delivery of value and watching a customer is also useful.

Are there other ways of building customer journey mapping? What is the right way to do it?

Define the first value for your service and check the intersection between the capability of your product and the reason why customers will buy and stay buying your product. Understand how to establish whether the signals in the product or other signals that the customers are on track to get to first value versus off track or ahead of track. When you measure this, you can take these segments and use them. In summary, you should define first value, define the metrics for on- track versus off- track, measure these metrics and define a set of actions against these metrics.