The Software Development Customer Journey
Customer journey is a complete set of clients’ interactions with a company. For Melon, as a software service company, a customer journey primarily predicates user needs and behaviour on digitial channels or as they interact with your team.
Companies usually communicate with partners via multiple channels, but sometimes forget or fail at matching some activities with their intended customer journey. The result can be incorrect or unmet expectations and, ultimatley, sales and marketing strategies go separate ways leading to unsatisfactory customer journey experience.
So, how do we improve it?
From our experience as a software development company in Bulgaria and Macedonia, we have found that you should start with mapping, i.e. creating a visual representation of the interactions or trust points the clients willl have with the company. This includes the entire life-cycle from pre-sale phase through post-development and support phases.
Designing an accurate journey map means walking in your clients’ shoes.
The journey starts with anticipating and being aware of the clients' problems and corresponding opportunities. This brings a new layer of value and efficiency to the mandatory Q&A sessions with our businsess analysts and/or CTOs. Then, comes the consideration phase, when the client has an improved understanding possible solutions, but also your approach, team and culture. The final step is the decision phase – the client making their own, informed and hopefully comfortable choice. Depending on the software development services in question, the details may vary.
Close to 90% of our engagements over the past 10 years come from referrals or recurring clients. This makes our job of creating a successful customer journey a little easier, as we're stepping on more solid ground, rather than treading in unknown territory as is the case with completely new leads. The two scenarios reflect on communication with these two types of technological partners.
As we proceed forward, we highly recommend to all our clients the discovery phase.
The discovery phase can be vital for any project. It combines communication, research, and analysis laying strong foundations of the development process. It involves key team members on the project and ends with a set of deliverables which usually includes user stories, wireframes, database and system architecture, project plan, and cost estimate.
Then starts the software development phase. All team members involved (Project Manager, Technical Lead, Production Team, Account Manager, and Management) get progress updates on a weekly basis. The phase begins with development initiation, and then steps into the loop consisting of planning, performing key activities (delivering code), and KPI monitoring.
Each big phase of the project requires a set of post-development activities. For example, overviews and retrospective overviews by Melon's project manager, and gathering feedback from the client (e.g. end-of-project survey). If completed, the project's PM facilitates a recap meeting to discuss performance and incentivize reflection.
Mapping these activities eliminates discrepancies because it involves and aligns all departments. Also, remember to determine some reliable key performance indicators (KPIs) to get insights on how to improve the overall customer journey experience.
We ask our clients directly about their experience insisting on open, honest and constructive feedback. Throughout the process.
However, if you prefer, you can choose some of the many available online tools that measure and track client satisfaction, e.g. the effort needed to get a problem fixed.
Our last tip on exploring and improving customer journey experience is to work on the quality of the relationship with your customers. At Melon, our company values and relationship-based culture have been helped us consistently make the right decisions, hire the right people, and acquire the right clients.