Business growth and profitability depends on how well a business interacts with its customer base, during not only the prospecting, acquisition and sale process, but long after the deal is in the bag. This business interface is not limited to departments directly involved with the customers either. It spans across every unit of the organization and involves every moving part of the business machinery. Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) or Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions ensure that the customer’s interaction with your brand is optimal, knowing well that the first handshake is only the beginning, and that quintessential business success hinges on how every new affiliation is conserved and developed during the entire course of a customer’s lifecycle.
An Overview of the Scope of Customer Lifecycle Management
Divided into five broad levels, the customer lifecycle witnesses the following key customer management processes in action, spread over THREE broad phases – Pre-Agreement, Agreement and Post-Agreement phases.
- Customer acquisition
- Customer onboarding
- Cross selling and Upselling
- Customer retention
- Instilling loyalty
Managing these five stages of a customer lifecycle is the essential role that a Customer Lifecycle Management structure plays.
CLM Best Practices
As the business world recognizes and adopts CLM, a string of best practices has evolved over time. A Hurwitz Group case study noted different bits of information related to the customer spread all over the organization, which means that the information is all there, they only need to come together on the right platform.
Thus a perfect CLM strategy works across the marketing, sales as well as service platforms, infusing the overall objective of a business into each phase.
- Lead management
- Campaign management
Lead or opportunity management – Research and Identification
The first level of every CLM process, Lead Management involves generating leads from campaigns. Important business criteria come into play here with the subsequent evaluation of leads leading to qualification and follow-up. Managing these opportunities is the first step for customer acquisition. This part of the process also helps in segmenting the customer base, a move that helps in setting up a customer-centric targeting system in the later levels of customer management.
Campaign management – Active participation
With leads in hand, the right campaigns are now launched with the help of multiple channels. Simultaneously, personalizing content in line with the customer’s requirements or wants is vital. This step involves graphical representations of campaign workflows, marketing schedules and channel flows. Automated distribution of the marketing content over multiple channels occurs with the help of the right tools at this stage. During this process, analyzing customer behavior and making necessary changes to the campaign accordingly is an essential strategy.
- Managing agreements and customer requests
- Managing sales
Managing agreements and customer requests – Taking the initiative
During this stage, the customer comes onboard, thus requiring the customer management process to perform at its maximum potential. The agreement phase is handled deftly and any requests placed by the customer are rewarded. Cross selling and upselling are included into this stage to increase the value of the sale, though this step should be subtle and drive towards the notion of more profit or savings for the customer. When a customer is shopping on Flipkart, for example, and is offered product suggestions depending on the choices he has made in his shopping cart, this is a business trying to sell more. ‘Listening’ to the customer is essential here.
Managing sales – Providing experience
This includes managing the sales process as well as assigning territories and market segments to the specified teams. Tracking of expenses towards customer services as well as time and other resources spent is a part of this stage. Customer experience levels at this stage need to be at an all-time high.
- Customer service
- Loyalty campaigns
Customer service – Experience enhancement
Maintaining service quality, even after the sales stage, is essential. Setting up a feedback channel helps here, while also doubling up as a future communication channel with the customer. Gauging the customer’s response for repeat business and even further recommendation is made possible through the feedback acquired. Customer delight is a phrase often put to use here and even companies like American Express, Kwik-Fit and Cisco have included this in their missions.
Loyalty campaigns – Brand protection
High levels of competition make it essential for every business to protect their brand. This also means protecting your customer from other brands! The established communication channels are put to use to reiterate your commitment towards the customer even in the absence of actual sales.
Find a CLM partner
If all these functions of CLM sound a tad too complicated and difficult to put to work, hire the right CLM partner for your business to handle these essentials. At Conneqt Business Solutions, the right resources help you transform these complications into simplified solutions for your business. Absorbing your business challenges, Conneqt safeguards your customer’s journey, making every potential channel of your business consistently customer-centric.