How to manage customer lifecycles with real-time analytics
The customer lifecycle is the process of prospects being aware of a product, purchasing from a brand, and then turning into a loyal customer. It’s one of the most important processes brands need to be aware of, because it contributes to driving sales and ensuring a strong relationship with their customers.
Businesses will also benefit from a higher customer lifetime value, which means customers are going to stick around for longer.
The management of a customer lifecycle is a big part of attaining better customer lifetime value and this process involves a great deal of analysis. To help you develop a strong customer lifecycle strategy, we’ll take you through every step, and provide suggestions on analytical tools.
Step one: Reach
The first point of the customer lifecycle is reach. This stage appears when a customer has a problem and they are looking for a product or service to solve this problem. It’s the stage where you have the chance to reach a customer while they are comparing products from multiple vendors.
At the reach stage, you’ll want to analyse how prospects can find your brand and you may answer questions like:
- Where did a prospect first hear about your organisation? E.g. social channels or search engines.
- How are you performing across those channels?
- How are your competitors reaching out and are they doing anything differently to you?
A useful tool at the reach stage is a Content Management System (CMS), as it’ll help prospects find you online and provide them with an easy to navigate store.
Step two: Acquisition
The second part of the customer lifecycle is acquisition, which starts when a consumer arrives on your website or gets in touch directly. The acquisition stage may be different depending on how they’ve contacted you.
For example, if a prospect has come to your website, then high-quality content can help them make a purchasing decision. This could be in the form of blogs, case studies, social proof, product descriptions, and great imagery.
Whereas, if they have reached out over the phone then you will need to spend time answering their questions, to find out what their needs are, and then offer the best product(s) solution.
When analysing this stage, you should ask yourself questions such as;
- What content on your website can help consumers make a buying decision?
- Is your online store easy to navigate?
- Are there any additional features I could invest in, implement, or create to make the customer journey easier? e.g. Live Chat, FAQ articles, blogs etc.
Step three: Conversion
At the conversion stage, a consumer has gathered all the information they need and made a purchase to become a customer. With this step you’ll want to show you have provided value and that it’s the beginning of a relationship, not a one-off deal.
When analysing the conversion step, it’s about understanding where the barriers are to making a purchase and asking yourself questions like:
- Have you made the purchasing process easy? E.g. Do they have multiple methods of payment options (PayPal, Apple Pay, or BNPL), can they automatically sign into their customer account?
- Are there any obstacles to making a purchase? E.g. Faulty product pages or slow checkout.
Ecommerce personalisation solutions,like PureClarity, are crucial for boosting conversion rate. They allow great customer segmentation and hyper personalised experiences so you can improve the overall journey for different groups of customers, whilst potentially increasing your average order value too.
Step four: Retention
The retention phase of the customer lifecycle is about learning how a customer feels and using that information to improve on your products and services, to create an unbeatable customer experience.
To analyse the retention stage, identify points such as how you can make it easy for customers to return for repeat business, or how you can personalise the shopping experience etc. To help with this, you could carry out customer surveys or develop a customer satisfaction score programme to gauge interest in new offerings.
A great tool to put into your customer retention lifecycle strategy is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. The software helps to keep track of all prospect information, collect relevant leads and then you can use that information to develop tailored product content, emails and more.
Step five: Loyalty
At this final stage of the customer lifecycle, a customer has become a valuable asset by repeatedly making purchases, and becoming a potential brand ambassador.
Loyalty must be nurtured across the previous four stages and the analysis comes from seeing how likely it will be for a customer to return. Answering these kinds of questions is helpful:
- Do your customers have access to any special perks such as discounts or loyalty programmes?
- Do you regularly engage with your customer base on social media, email, and through other means of communication?
- Do you have a referral programme that makes it easy for customers to recommend more prospects?