Why build a Customer Life Cycle Model?
One of the main elements in a customer experience framework is the development of a Customer Life Cycle Model. This becomes clearer to companies I work with once we create their customized Customer Life Cycle model. However, on the surface it may not be clear as to why you should spend the time to build one.
Most companies know what they have to do to make a customer successful and they would argue that they are already doing it. Perhaps, but when I ask the question:
Can you guarantee that 9 out of 10 customers are successful to the level that they are fully engaged with the use of your solution and to the level that they find it indispensable to the operation of their organization or company?
The answer is usually: not yet.
Spending the time to analyze what your customers should experience with your company from the first marketing exposure through to an on-going relationship is critical to building a base of long-term, loyal customers. Building your Customer Life Cycle model will provide your teams with the framework for how they should build their organizational structures, programs, processes and procedures to ensure the customer experiences quality and excellence every time they engage with your company. It creates clarity for the customer on how to engage with your company and get the information they need when they need it. It helps the customer understand how your products and services are the best in the market and why they should stay with you long term. When done right, you won’t have to bribe customers to tell their story, nor chase down a renewal; they will be happy to renew and refer.
The key to a successful Customer Life Cycle model is collaboration and obtaining consensus from the leadership team across all organizations in the company. Every organization has a role to play in providing customers with some level of care, information or support. The teams need to be clear about their role and contribution to the customer’s experience and success with your company’s products and services in order to ensure consistent and repeatable execution from customer to customer.
The Customer Life Cycle usually has four sections, but can have as many as needed for your products and services. They are usually associated with a sales cycle, implementation cycle, value realization cycle and expansion cycle. The fifth section would be an introduction through marketing creating quality leads. Each of these sections would then have a customer journey map developed to define the details for execution by all organizations leading and supporting that section in the customer experience. See the example below of a basic customer lifecycle model:
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If you don’t have a Customer Life Cycle model developed and published as part of your company’s strategy, you should make it a priority in your future strategic plan.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome. If you would like help in creating a Customer Lifecycle framework, contact LandNExpand at firstname.lastname@example.org.