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The software development customer journey

Young woman sitting on top of a hill, looking down on a mountain path

The customer journey is a complete set of interactions with a company starting from pre-purchase all the way until post-purchase. For Kin + Carta, a customer journey primarily predicates user needs and behaviour on digital channels or as they interact with your team.

Companies usually communicate with partners via multiple channels but sometimes fail at matching some activities with their intended customer journey. The result can be incorrect or unmet expectations and, ultimately, sales and marketing strategies going separate ways leading to unsatisfactory customer experience.

So, how do we improve it?

We have found that the best place to start is with mapping, i.e. creating a visual representation of the interactions or touch points that clients will 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 business analysts and/or CTOs.

Then comes the consideration phase, when the client has a deeper understanding of possible solutions, 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 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 advance, we get into the discovery phase.

The discovery phase is 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 the 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.

Our last tip on exploring and improving customer journey experience is to work on the quality of the relationship with your customers. 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.

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