The World Wide Web has widened the potential market for many organisations, however landing customers can be difficult due to the increase of potential competitors. Furthermore, keeping them around can be even harder! We know that offering good customer service is important, but is that enough? Customer life cycle is a term used to describe the steps a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. In our opinion customer life cycle should be something that is ingrained in your sales and marketing processes and become your key differentiator from competitors in a crowded industry… But why?
The customer lifecycle isn’t just how you secure potential customers but also retain them. According to Entrepreneur.com, the most important way to find customers is through word of mouth; where your satisfied customers tell others about you so that your new prospects are ready to be easily converted. While word of mouth is extremely important for your business, you cannot have word of mouth without current customers! As we all know a significant part of finding customers is to segment and target your marketing, but is this enough to increase customer acquisition and make inroads into new markets?
The customer lifecycle is cyclical and involves several stages before, during, and after the customer transaction. The most important stages within the customer lifecycle journey are to reach, acquire, develop, retain and generate advocacy.
- Reach – Ensure your marketing is reaching your target market. This may be through social media, web, publications etc.
- Acquire – You need to understand your potential customer requirements to provide a product/service they will want to purchase. Personalised communication is best suited to this stage.
- Develop – After their purchase it is key to ensure their satisfaction and build a relationship.
- Retain – It is key to cultivate a relationship at this stage. Ask for feedback and their opinion to help improve your product/service (if any). This helps customers feel part of the process and valued.
- Advocacy – Further to the point made earlier, advocates help promote word of mouth and grow your business. This can spread through social circles and help close your cycle.
If you implement the perfect customer life cycle management you can improve your customer service and enhance your customer’s experience. Ultimately an effective customer lifecycle can increase sales and reduce the cost of customer acquisition and thus improve profit margins. So can you afford not look at your customer lifecycle process?
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