The Holy Grail for most businesses is to increase your customer loyalty and retain the customer for as long as it remains commercially viable to do so thus maximising your Customer Lifetime Value.
Typically the customer lifecycle is seen separately to the customer journey, with the key areas of the lifecycle broken down into the following phases ;
In the image above, you can see the six typical customer engagement phases, Targeting and Acquiring customers, Onboarding and Serving those customers and then Growing and Retaining them for the medium to longer term.
Of course in certain sectors like Insurance or Gambling / Leisure businesses its commonplace to maximise the lifetime value of the customer over a much shorter lifespan whilst expecting to lose the customer due to high competition in their industries.
Too many businesses have a marketing department focusing on the Customer Lifecycle in their PR and marketing collateral whilst not focusing at all on the actual customer journey. Too many websites and social media campaigns focus on the brand first rather than the customer.
In truth, the Customer Lifecycle and the Customer Journey are intrinsically linked and your brand pr on a semi functional website means very little. If your doing one without the other, your commercial positioning of your products will be off, your added value sales will be hard to come by and you will have significant issues in service delivery or project management as your customers will not be making the most of their journey with your business.
Do both together and you will not only understand your customer behaviour better but you will also have much better chance of added value sales in the sales cycle and more customers with multiple products from your portfolio which increases your revenue as a result.
How do we do it?
In order to maximise customer loyalty and increase revenues for the lifespan of the customer with our business we must first research and understand four key areas of our customer sales process;
In the list below I have included some examples of the types of key questions we need to ask when we start to create our Customer Journey;
- Customer Interactions – (The Discovery Phase)
- What do you customers search for to find your products?
- Where do they hear about you?
- The Sales Process – (Contemplation Phase)
- Why do they pick your business?
- What are their touchpoints?
- Motivation to Purchase? – (Purchase Phase)
- What motivated them to make a purchase?
- Solving a problem?
- Functionality increase?
- Business Growth?
- Address Pain Points? – (Retention & Loyalty Phase)
- High Delivery Charges
- Third Party costs in the product cycle
- Service Delivery Delays
- Navigation issues in customer service channels
The best way to collate and interrogate the data you will get from asking these types of questions is by actually writing your own customer journey down on paper. If you have a Customer Success Software solution then you need to think carefully when you build your own KPIs into it in order to get the correct business intelligence out of it to enhance your customer sales cycle.
By gathering your own Quantitive and Qualitative data streams on your audience you can then begin to build audience personas, identify all your touchpoints and understand the different parts of the customers journey to purchase with you. This in turn will allow you to take those same journeys and optimise it for maximum customer lifecycle revenue return.
Look at your product portfolio, does it cover the six typical Customer Lifecycle phases? If it doesn’t then what areas does it cover? Does this effect the Customer Journey? Do you have third party integrations into your own product set to give you the complete end to end product set? If you do then does this effect the Customer Journey? What are your competitors offering? How does your product offering compare commercially, functionally and where does it sit in relation to the customer lifecycle?
Take time to quantify all the questions you need answers to in relation to how your customers and opportunities interact with you from the initial interest all the way through to a sale. Perform Competitor analysis focusing on the customer journey with each of your competitors.
Once your have your data set, you can then look at the journey your offering your customers now, how it compares to competitors and make changes accordingly.
In the second blog in this series we will look in depth at the FOUR key phases in the Customer Journey and I will provide more details on the types of questions you should be asking and the information you should be finding out in order to achieve the very best Customer Journey for your business.
Finally in the third blog in this series I will talk about how you bring your Customer Journey and your Customer Lifecycle engagement phases together, how you collate the data and report on it and how ultimately you utilise these data sets to get the most out of the Customer Lifecycle Value for your business.