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We’re excited about our upcoming Technology Services World conference this fall in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is the Art and Science of the Customer Journey, and within my area of research, customer success, many attendees will realize this theme is definitely in our wheelhouse.

As part of the customer journey, we usually see two bigger phases of customer success maturity. The first is when we observe a group of professionals working across a company on projects and initiatives that improve the customer’s experience, which we refer to as the “thematic” view of customer success. The second is an organization that has one or more of three common charters of customer success: adoption, retention, and expansion. Regardless of maturity of your customer success and customer experience initiatives, being able to improve your customer’s experience should be a top priority for these teams.

Customer Journey Mapping is What Successful Companies Do

In our own research, we found that mapping the customer journey was one of four key practices of successful organizations that have the highest renewal and expansion rates. When we see this practice implemented properly, these organizations have more insight into what is important to the customer, allowing them to prioritize technology or process improvements that yield the most impact directly to the customer.

To back this up with data, when we analyzed the top quartile performers in our Customer Success Baseline Study, 100% of those in that segment had executed a customer journey map. Their renewal rates were 10 percent higher and their expansion rates were 26 percent higher. However, we caution Customer Success organizations to think openly about the customer interactions with your technology, services, and other important touchpoints within your company. Removing bias and not having a predisposition to what you think is best for the customer are keys to unlocking critical moments of truth that will ensure technology promises are kept and customer business outcomes are achieved. 

Customer Engagement from Both the Supplier and Customer Perspective

The best way to illustrate this point is to use two well-established TSIA frameworks. The first is LAER (Land, Adopt, Expand, and Renew), which is the supplier’s view of the customer engagement model. The second is PIMO (Plan, Implement, Monitor, and Optimize). 

tsia laer pimo  

(Click image to enlarge.)
From the supplier perspective is the LAER Customer Engagement Model, consisting of four steps: Land, Adopt, Expand, and Renew. From the customer perspective is the PIMO Plan, which outlines the steps they must take if they're to achieve their desired outcomes with your technology.

This represents the customer’s view of their engagement with the supplier and its technology. It is very possible that your company has adapted some version of these two frameworks, which is appropriate.

One pitfall we see is companies representing the ideal customer experience without understanding the importance of the various touchpoints and how that impacts customers business outcomes. They illustrate an “example” customer journey, but sometimes can’t answer the difficult questions about impact, importance and experience. When we inevitably ask why, the response is because the employees of the technology supplier created the workflow, chart, or process without directly engaging with the customer. It’s the single biggest mistake I see when Customer Success teams state that they have completed a customer journey mapping exercise. While TSIA highly recommends a predictable and repeatable engagement model for your customers, the first move is to truly understand the customer’s journey prior to instilling these prescriptive plays.

Read more posts in the "Art and Science of the Customer Journey" blog series:

Editor's Note: This blog was update 12/20/2018 to reflect new information

Phil Nanus

About Author Phil Nanus

Phil Nanus, is the former vice president of customer success research for TSIA. In this role, he worked closely with member companies to deliver research and advisory programs focused on helping them optimize their customer success organizations and effectively deliver customer outcomes. Throughout his career, Phil has held various positions related to enterprise software and IT services, including global leadership roles in customer success, support, professional services, managed services, and cloud services. Prior to TSIA, he was the vice president of customer success at Infor, where he led a team of Customer Success Managers (CSMs) focused on driving customer adoption of their technology.

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