Many of us who are running businesses or are about to get into the world of business may have heard this phrase time and again – the customer is king. Well, that is no exaggeration especially in the world that we are inhabiting today. The customer truly is king thanks to the instant forms of communication now available to us in the digital spheres. Not only has the opportunity to connect with prospects grown but so has the competition surrounding all of these methods. This is what makes customer lifecycle management that much more imperative in today’s day and age. Read on to know more!
Before we actually cover the importance of customer lifecycle management and what a CLM process should look like, or even how to implement customer lifecycle management, we need to understand what customer lifecycle management or CLM really is. If we are to define it in the simplest terms, CLM or customer lifecycle management would actually be the grand total of all the activities that one carries out during the buying process from reaching, to engaging, acquiring, and finally retaining a customer in the long run. Now, with the digital scheme of things have evolved to its current state in the recent decade and especially the decade has just gone by, it has become imperative that we bring in a method to actually strategize in terms of activities and the timing of each activity in the buying journey so as to bring home a loyal customer base.
This brings us to the importance of customer lifecycle management. When we actually go out actively looking for customers, especially on the world wide web, we are also looking at what our customer is doing. Hence we need to arm ourselves with tools that will set us apart and help us implement customer lifecycle management in a way that will truly benefit the customer and us in the long run. In order to tap into the plethora of opportunities, our implementation has to be seamless and unique even as we decide on far-reaching activities and methods to get the message across and start a relationship with the various prospects whom we want to eventually nurture and convert. This is the very importance of customer lifecycle management in a nutshell!
Now that we have understood customer lifecycle management and the importance of the same, let us turn to the process. While the exact process and the specific activities would pretty much depend on the business entity as well as the niche that it is operating in, what remains constant and uniform is the various steps that are involved within which we can define the activities in the CLM process. In order to understand this in a better manner, let us cast a glance on the 5 easy steps that can actually help you understand and implement customer lifecycle management:
- Reach or Getting There: This is also known as the awareness phase where you are simply letting your prospects know that you exist and that you would be interested in catering to their specific needs to fix the problems that your products and services have been designed for. This is also the phase where you need to create activities that would spread some form of advocacy for your products and services by articulating the exact problems that your products and services can actually help in solving for the end-user. This phase helps you in understanding who your customers are and where you can find them, and how to reach them as well.
- Acquiring the Customer: Once you have educated the customer, it is time to start the process of acquiring. Now, many business owners do not understand the importance of customer lifecycle management here and how to successfully implement customer lifecycle management for making an actual conversion. This is the phase where you begin to engage with the customer instead of merely thinking that reaching them will be enough for a conversion. Engaging the customer would include a number of interactions and targeted campaign-style activities that will land you in the consciousness of the customer and propel them towards doubts and questions that you can answer so that they can offer you a conversion.
- Conversion: That’s the magic word you have been looking for. After the engagement and the acquisition comes to actually sign up or the conversion that would be one of the most important milestones in the entire buying journey of the customer or in the CLM process. This is important not only because it helps you earn revenue and helps you inch closer to your goal, but it also gives you a chance to offer a superior experience to your customer to back all those claims you made in the above two phases so that the customer comes back for more and spreads the word about your business and brand as well.
- Retaining or Loyalty Building: This is also a crucial phase that comes right after covering the customer. The CRM and marketing automation integrations that you use with the CLM process will help you service your clients in a way that will also guarantee repeat orders as well as the scope to upsell and cross whenever possible. This is where information meets technique to form activities specifically aimed at servicing, feedback garnering and so much more. Retaining the customer is another big milestone after conversion and it should be executed accordingly.
- The Relationship: The tone of the relationship and the length of the same would be decided in this phase of the CLM process. When you implement customer lifecycle management, remember that this is one of the most important steps since it can cement your position not only in the life and buying choices of the customer, but also as an authority in your niche. You should pay special attention to the customer lifecycle management and ensure that it continues to run its course well into this step so that the returns are exponential.