Subtheme

Customer Lifecycles

Understand customers and create impact

Understand customers and create impact

Customer lifecycle mapping tells organisations how customers experience their services. Such an external view of the organisation’s services offers useful information to improve services, identify hotspots and align fragmented departments. The results are likely to be better customer and staff experience, higher customer loyalty and more sales.

Take aways
  • Identifying hotspots is a good start to understanding customer experience.
  • Proactive, not reactive, approach to customer needs preempts service failures and defection.
  • Internal alignment based on customer lifecycle improves customer and staff experience.

Businesses use a variety of tools to understand their customers, such as sales funnel tracking, segmentation and incident management. However, this business-centric data does not really tell you how customers see your business. In order to better relate to your customers, organisations should take an “outside-in” perspective which reveals what customers are going through, from becoming aware of your brand and deciding to buy, to using and extending contracts.

Using the Livework hospitality lifecycle enables hotels, travel agencies, tour operators and restaurants to see what the entire travel experience consists of. This understanding enabled a Nordic tourist organisation to organise its members around their visitors’ experience and exploit new opportunities.

Customer lifecycle mapping

Some experiences are quite similar across individual customers. For instance, they may change their mobile phone plans every two years, or look for a new insurer every seven years. If you know what happens to customers in different phases of their lifecycle, you may realise most other people probably also go through similar phases with a similar regularity. This is very helpful information to improve your services.

Customer hotspots

Hotspots are phases and stages in the customer lifecycle where people suffer from service failures and irritations. Hotspots lead to customer incidents, complaints and even defections. Hotspots are also where customers’ needs remain unmet by any available service. Therefore, identifying hotspots gives you a good start to understand the experience and behaviour of customers.

While most organisations may go on and fix the hotspots, which is good, yet it is still not enough to create a good customer experience. Organisations should take further steps to prevent these hotspots from recurring.

So, where should we begin? The early phases of the customer lifecycle are the best points to intervene. Services such as helping new customers on board vastly improve customer experience from the start.

Over 80% of executives report silos and almost all believe they hurt customers and the organisation

Be proactive, not reactive

Understanding the phases of the customer lifecycle lays a solid foundation of designing services that meet or even exceed expectations. Proactively giving customers what they want, instead of reacting to issues after they happen, significantly reduces costs related to service failures and customer defection. It also cements better customer relationship and increases loyalty.

Finding the cause of service breakdowns is only the first step. It requires multiple departments and stakeholders to go beyond ‘fixing’ the problem towards preventing the problem.

External view helps align departments

The customer lifecycle is also an external view on how customers interact with individual departments across an organisation. Such an outside-in view can be the legitimate central thread that holds all departments together and aligns their processes, in order to address internal challenges and break barriers that are fundamental of a good overall customer experience.

Attract, serve and retain customers

Customer lifecycle mapping enables organisations to understand how to engage with customers more effectively and how to address hotspots, so that services or interventions can serve customers even better. The real value lies in bringing siloed departments in sync with customer expectations.