clients customer service relationships

How to Maximize the Efficacy of Your Customer Lifecycle Management

February 15th, 2019

customers, clients, relationships, efficiency

Building a strong relationship with customers is a crucial element to the success of any business. An important step in gaining loyalty and improving customer satisfaction, regardless of whether you are a start-up or a multinational, is mapping out the customer journey. As a business, you are just a member of a much larger industry. Assessing your customer’s journey can help identify loopholes or areas where the service to the client can be improved. This customer lifecycle framework may be different for each company depending on the size of the company and the industry they operate in. Nevertheless, having visibility on the customer journey is an important factor that influences customer satisfaction.

What is the Customer Lifecycle Management?

Customer Lifecycle Management or CLM, as it is commonly referred to, is the process of mapping out the customer journey and the changes that occur as the customer moves through the marketing and sales funnel. The main stages of the CLM include:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Evaluation
  • Purchase
  • Support experience
  • Bonding

The specific stages in the cycle are compared to different metrics which are then compared to the larger benchmarks and goals set by the company to get a better understanding of the overall customer satisfaction.

Why is customer lifecycle management important?

The customer lifecycle management process begins once a sale is closed. The customer service team is responsible for ensuring that customers receive the best experience from the brand. In an industry with a large number of competitors, the success and efficiency of the customer lifecycle management process can be a crucial differentiator for a company and an important factor that influences customer satisfaction.

One of the major reasons why a customer lifecycle management process is essential for companies is because it ensures that all individuals in the organisation have a good understanding of the goals of the company when it comes to meeting customer needs, increasing customer satisfaction and most importantly, driving results.

Different companies have various CLM processes. A startup is at liberty to test out different strategies on how to best improve the level of customer satisfaction. But for a mature industry, this is not the case as they are required to adhere to certain standards. One of the biggest challenges facing modern-day company heads is improving every step of their customer’s journey. Hence, they need to map out the customer process to quickly identify the best customer practices.

Many organisations use CLM as a way to track industry-wide benchmarks and determine the level of customer satisfaction in the business and also identify where they fall in the customer satisfaction spectrum in relation to other companies in the industry.

How can your company maximise the CLM process?

Instead of focusing solely on customer acquisition, many companies these days are spending as much or more effort on customer engagement. The customer lifecycle is more fluid now than before and many customers can also jump stages in the life cycle, largely due to the growing popularity of social media. We live in a sharing economy today where great customer experience can help drive new customers to your business. In the modern age of technology, there are many ways businesses can improve the efficacy of customer lifecycle management. These include:

  1. Eliminate manual processes 

As mentioned earlier, it is essential for mature companies to have a fool-proof customer lifecycle management framework because they do not have the liberty to experiment with different customer satisfaction strategies. An important element in achieving a seamless CLM process is to eliminate any manual and redundant processes and automate as much as possible. You need to develop a customer-centric lifecycle management process that will help you stand out from the competitors and optimise internal processes and procedures.

Technology has been the key to strengthening customer relationships so no company can afford to neglect it. By streamlining the entire customer engagement process through technology-enabled solutions, the CLM team can identify crucial aspects of the process. This can help them focus on how to improve customer satisfaction on more important accounts and not worry about turnkey processes.

  1. Focus on the whole journey, not just a single process 

One of the main aspects of increasing the effectiveness of the customer lifecycle management process is to focus on the customer’s entire journey. Many companies believe that the support experience and the bonding stages are the most important as this is when you nurture the customer. However, it is unlikely that the customer would even get to this stage if the awareness of the brand and engagement with the customer is not optimised. Maximising the customer relationship at the first stage will improve the seamlessness through the other stages as the customer knows what to expect from the company. Once the company has streamlined each aspect of the process, it will be easier to measure the metrics and find leaks that can be optimised and improved. This is also a good customer satisfaction measurement.

  1. Utilise all the metrics

There is no single blueprint for the customer lifecycle process. For example, an industry with a large number of competitors can have a longer CLM process than a company in a fairly niche industry. Hence, the metrics used as benchmarks can also be different and its importance is only a matter of perspective- no one metric is more important than the other.

As a company hoping to streamline the CLM process, it is important to use all the metrics available to analyse the processes. Looking at the common industry-level metrics can give you a general understanding of how the customer satisfaction of your business compares to others in the industry. But using the smaller metrics can help assess the customer process on a deeper level and find loopholes that may not be visible with the high-level metrics. A few customer satisfaction measurement metrics companies can use include user activation rate, repeat customer rate and customer loyalty rate.

  1. Use transformational and loyalty programs 

A great way to improve customer satisfaction through the customer lifecycle management funnel right to the brand loyalty stage is by implementing transformational and loyalty programs. The company can introduce cross-functional programs to bridge the gap between new and existing customers. The data collected from the loyalty programs can be used to maximise future returns. The data can also help create a program to increase the efficiency of the customer-facing/front-line employees as this is where businesses struggle to attain the level of analytical sophistication required to act on customer demands. The growth of the IoT network has provided companies with a lot of valuable data that they can further use to personalise their CLM process.

The Customer Lifecycle Management approach is different for each business but although they vary, the process to target the customers remains the same. Whatever CLM strategy your company uses, they need to be able to communicate this with the customers effectively and provide them with the proper assistance. Mapping a clear customer journey and improving its efficacy is sure to result in a revenue boost for your organisation and improve customer satisfaction.

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