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Your Checklist to Build a Cohesive User Journey

Whether you call it product-led, customer-led, or digital-led, cohesive user journeys in your product are key to successful product and overall customer experiences. Cohesive journeys allow your users to receive communications that align across the board (from initial purchase, to onboarding, to CSM outreach, to in-app guidance) and promote a single message, purpose, and value about your product. No matter its title, using your product to influence the larger customer lifecycle is a key channel to driving user adoption and account retention for your business. 

Figure Out Your Current User Journey

So, where do you start when building out a cohesive user journey? The first step is to figure out what journey exists today. Some questions you might ask are:

  • How do users navigate your product?
  • How are they finding your features and what are their expected paths?
  • How would you want them to engage with those features?

Using a path analysis or funnel report to capture and analyze where users are going in your product is key to understanding the answers to these questions. 

1. Identify Your Preferred Path

As you determine which actions users are taking, you can figure out what your key “aha” moments are that you should drive more users to. Lay out the preferred path to get them there in something like Lucidchart or Miro to visualize these key needs. 

When you create the visuals for a preferred user path, this is also a great time to consult your larger organization to see what other journey touch points may exist between Customer Success, Support, Account Management, or other teams. This way, you can incorporate or address these needs within your product experience and not send mixed messages to your customer.

2. Build Out Guides to Key Touch Points

Once you understand your ideal user path, build out the touch points along that journey and make sure to include cross-functional touch points that other teams should own. This way, when building your in-app guides to activate key features, you can ensure that your CSMs are tracking this feature activation and intervening when users struggle to take action. Your in-product guidance should reflect the needs of customers at each journey stage:

  • In the Onboarding or Adoption phase, content should focus on getting users to reach fast value with the most critical features.
  • In the Retention and Expansion phases, content may align with best practices or tips to reach deeper value, and provide more personalized experiences that differ between an active customer, a new customer, and an existing customer or longtime customer.
  • Your best customers should become loyal advocates, and as they reach the Advocacy phase find ways to alert them about upcoming releases, get them involved in beta programs, and analyze the path that those successful customers have taken to guide future users on a similar path.

While these stages all contain specific content, it’s important to make sure your content is aligned to user personas, especially if your product has different user types (an admin vs a standard user, for example) and includes ways for users to self-serve this content. 

3. Create a Way to Self-Serve On Demand

Having an embedded checklist in something like a knowledge center bot helps your users proactively guide themselves through their journey and orient them to what actions are needed next. You can set up an option for users to relaunch the content if additional guidance is needed. Knowledge bots can also contain extra resources such as FAQs and on-demand videos and connect to community or educational learning path content where users can self-educate and engage in deeper product knowledge. 

4. Use a Multi-Channel Approach

Lastly, cohesive journeys require a multi-channel approach. Combining email, in-app, and embedded knowledge center content with human outreach via CS teams means your customers get the right message, in the right channel, at the right time, and in a form that best meets their preferences. Each channel has specific benefits and combining these channels makes the most effective and consistent customer experience. 

Final Thoughts

A cohesive user journey is key for successful product experiences and customer satisfaction. To build this strategy, there’s a checklist of steps you’ll want to remember including: understanding your current user path through path analysis and funnel reports, identifying key “aha’ moments and collaborating with other teams to incorporate essential touch points, creating personalized in-app guides for different stages, implementing self-serve options with knowledge center bots, and lastly, adopting a multi-channel approach with email, in-app, and human outreach to deliver the right message at the right time to customers. 

By following this checklist, you can drive user adoption, increase account retention, and cultivate a satisfied and loyal customer base.