In the first two blogs in this series we have looked at and identified the six stages of the Customer Lifecycle and discussed the link between your Customer Journey, (the journey your customers take to find and decide to purchase a service from you) and how you can use Customer Journey data to maximise productivity at each stage of your customer lifecycle sell more of your product portfolio and ultimately increase your overall customer revenues.
In the final blog in this series we are going to look at how you bring all the data together in order to manage and report on your findings and utilise these findings to maximise your productivity.
To enable us to get all this fantastic data we need to create a sales funnel, if done correctly, this sales funnel will lead to lots of Qualitative data with which to populate our sales funnel and provide us with empirical Quantitive data at the back end with which to make key business decisions.
So it is with most businesses in the internet age, your products and services are more likely than not found online. It may be through a blog post like this one or a Social Media post that results in a potential customer clicking through to your website to find out more. You may have very good Search rankings through effective SEO strategies and come up in the top results on google when people search for a particular product. Alternatively, you may have paid search campaigns running that send you traffic to your website when a particular search term is used. Your Sales Funnel should track all these types of leads as they come in and respond to them accordingly. For instance, depending on your customer service strategy, you may use a plethora of different contact methods to talk to customers and prospects alike. Automated methods like Email, Chatbots, SMS, Live Chat or IM are popular and will generally be part of most companies customer contact methods but all communication methods should be part of your overall sales funnel.
Most Sales Funnels will have a number of steps in them to take them from initial interest through to a closed sale. Lets keep it really simple and say these are the key steps;
- Awareness – (untouched stage)
- Interest – ( Contact Made / Qualified)
- Decision – (Qualified / Proposal Made)
- Action – (Negotiation / Won)
So we have our Customer Journey in place, (Predominantly online as we stated above) we know what our typical Customer Lifecycle should be (target, acquire, onboard, serve, grow and retain) we know how our products and services map to the stages of our Customer Lifecycle and now we have to build our sales funnel to bring all this information together. Sounds extremely complicated right?
The typical response I get at this stage of the process is “Ok we have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform for this we manage our Sales Funnel through that.”
Or “We use our Contact Centre platform to manage our Sales Funnel”
However, a typical CRM system can only do so much and is predominantly a service tool, its primary uses are for data storage and taking responses from a customer or prospect and storing this within a record for that customer. You get information like name and address, who they have interacted with in the past within your organisation and what products they have but very little else.
A Contact Centre is better equipped to provide more engagement in the sales funnel with its plethora of response based integrations like Chatbot, IM, email, Video Chat, Social Media etc.. but ultimately its main design is to solve customer problems quickly and efficiently and wont necessarily utilise the same workflow for new opportunities. Of course it will need to feed all these types of interaction back to a CRM system where its limited functionality will again simply store the information and rely on human inputs to arrange CTA (calls to action) and future sales opportunities.
Both these examples require significant people power and as we all know a CRM is only as good as the data you input into it.
That’s where CEM systems come in, Customer Engagement / Experience Management systems to be precise. A CEM System allows your business to understand its customers better whilst enabling your sales strategy and embracing cross functional efforts and customer-centric culture to improve satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. It allows you to build your Customer Journey into it as the key parameters for your sales funnel. It allows you to plan your sales output for each of your products and provides you with the blueprint for each of your customers no matter where they are in your Customer Lifecyle.. (i.e Acquisition, Retention, Loyalty periods)
You can utilise the system to collate data from every one of your touchpoints (Social Media, Email, Phone etc..) and with all your data stockpiled in one central tool it gives your customer success team the information they need to get the message to the right customers.
Fully engaged customers offer a 27% increase on average for revenue, relationship and profit growth.
Below is an example of a basic Customer Engagement Management Workflow in action;
You will see the different types of interactions both inbound and outbound and you can see how all interactions go through the central hub or CEM. In this example we have four main areas of focus, Inbound Digital communications, Outbound Digital interactions, Payment Processing, Inbound and Outbound Voice and Existing Customer Interactions as part of the automated sales funnel.
Have a look at the diagram and see how many of your communication channels are automated and linked to data controllers within your business. Although the schema above is very simplistic, it will allow your business to do things like;
- Suggest an offer based on or product based on their activity / order history / complimentary product set etc..
- Give guidance on finding a feature update for their existing software version
- Service & Support the customer via an automated journey sending them to a knowledge base or agent and recording feedback.
- Combine this feedback with relevant external sources (e.g. CRM)
- Analyse the data to derive meaningful insights
It provides you with all the data you require to create those Customer Personas we talked about in my earlier blogs in this series and allows you to take these customer personas and create your Customer Journey’s for each type. Taking your Sales Funnel and modelling this around your Customer Lifecycle gives you the ability to take the necessary actions needed to retain them and drive better business outcomes.
Utilising the Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience Management software to create multi-channel, multi-lingual feedback and research programs that engage customers, empower employees, deliver a compelling respondent experience, and provide high Return on Investment whilst integrating it with financial, operational and free-form text data to generate powerful insight allows your business to take action that will deliver effective business change and create competitive advantage.
Good Luck in creating fantastic Customer Experiences for your business! I hope the three blogs in this series can have a positive effect on how you see your Customer Journey, helps to increase your Sales Funnel and ultimately helps to enhance and grow your Customer Lifetime Values.