Lately, a series of our clients have asked me about the difference between Customer Lifecycles and Customer Journeys. What are they and what are they useful for? In simple terms, Customer Lifecycles are analysis tools to understand how customers experience an organisation. Customer Journeys are design tools for crafting better customer engagement.
Customer Lifecycles enable organisations to see how the customer base experiences their industry, business and propositions. The result is a clearer picture of the potential for improvement for the business. Customer Journeys enable organisations to design specific services across channels and customer interactions. Together they form extremely powerful tools for business innovation and improvement.
Lifecycles: see your business though customers' eyes
One of our customers told us “Our organisation is so complex that only customers see the whole picture.” Customer Lifecycles enable organisations to find out precisely how customers experience the big picture and see themselves from the outside in. Lifecycles describe how the majority of customers experience an organisation, phase by phase; from being unaware of its relevance, through using products and services and to leaving. They provide a rich understanding of the full experience of propositions and how people value them. They look at becoming and staying a customer and the experience of undertaking specific tasks.
Simply understanding the business like customers do can bring tremendous value to organisations.
Lifecycles: understand behaviours and business potential
The power of customer lifecycles is revealed in a detailed understanding of what influences customers’ behaviour and decisions. Looking at customers’ behaviour throughout the relationship with an organisation provides accurate views of pain-points and reveals opportunities to deal with them.
Customer lifecycles allow clear views of behaviours that characterise a significant number of customers. This provides businesses with powerful strategies for engaging with them.
Journeys: design customer engagement
Customer lifecycles help organisations understand what to do. They describe how to deliver the right experience to each individual customer. Journeys are design tools that provide step-by-step descriptions of a customer’s path as they interact with the organisation. They visualise how a customer might engage through a range of channels from the web, to a retail environment and a call centre and describe the experience in each interaction.
It sounds simple, but the effect on an organisation can be extraordinary. Customer Journeys help different teams see how they need to work together to deliver experiences that have an impact for the customer.
Journeys: design business processes
Customer Journeys also describe the processes that are invisible to customers, but essential to the business. These “back-stage” processes may describe how IT systems should be integrated, how processes must be aligned across departments or how staff need to work across channels to meet customer needs. The result is design that keeps the customer experience at the heart of development while providing detailed build specifications to a variety of teams across the organisation.
Understand customers, design valuable engagement
Customer Lifecycles are extremely useful for organisations that require a deep analysis of customers, their experience and behaviour. They have massive business impact when used to identify customer hotspots and potential interventions. Customer Journeys are used to design new and improved customer engagement and provide huge value for teams that test, pilot and launch new solutions. Understand customers and business potential. Design engagement that creates value for both.