Managing customer relationships is one thing, but what about managing the customer lifecycle for each person you work with? Customer lifecycle management is an important strategy all businesses should be practicing because it helps foster long-lasting relationships with customers and inspires brand loyalty.
Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of customer lifecycle management as well as how Nutshell’s customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you with it all. See what all the hype is about by starting a Nutshell free trial, or attend our next live demo.
The customer lifecycle
When it comes to CRM, the customer lifecycle refers to the journey which a customer takes until they make a purchase. Each person goes through various stages, and all detail what a customer goes through before (and after) making a transaction.
Customer lifecycle stages
The customer lifecycle has five basic stages. The beauty of the customer lifecycle is that these stages are nonlinear because, in reality, you want people to be ongoing customers, not one-time customers. Hence, an ongoing loop of stages rather than a quick one-and-done journey.
In the Reach stage of the customer lifecycle, a customer recognizes they have a problem that needs solving. As a result, they begin to search for a solution in the form of a product or service. This stage is your chance to “reach” that customer (and many others like them) while they’re searching.
Depending on the issue, the customer will carry out research, like reading customer reviews of companies and products, and begin comparing options. The best way to make your brand one of those options is to market your products and services.
If your marketing efforts are successful, you’ll get the customer to browse your website or reach out to you about your products or services. When this happens, they’ve officially reached the Acquisition stage of the customer lifecycle.
In the Acquisition stage, you’ll begin interacting with the interested customer and offering the best products or services to solve their problem. This could be through answering their questions in real-time if they reached out to you via phone, email, or in person.
If the customer is browsing your website, you can offer educational content related to your products or services, like pricing pages or blog posts, to help customers make an informed purchasing decision.
Good news—the customer was impressed by all that your company had to offer and, after careful consideration, has made a purchase from you. Not only is that person a paying customer of yours now, but they’ve entered the Conversion stage of the customer lifecycle.
But converting someone from a lead to paying customer is only half the battle. Now comes the tricky part: retaining this customer.
The Retention stage of the customer life cycle is pretty self-explanatory. Here, you want to do what you can to gain their continued loyalty as a customer. In other words, offer incentives that will encourage them to become a repeat customer rather than a one-time purchaser.
Here are a few different methods for retaining customers and getting them to move on to the next stage of the customer lifecycle:
Offer exclusive promotions that are only available to customers
Give new customer referral discounts
Gauge customer satisfaction and earn feedback with surveys
Offer 24/7 support
Provide quality customer service
In the final stage of the customer lifecycle, your customer becomes an important asset to your brand, continuing to make additional purchases beyond the initial one.
Brand loyalty is what every business wants in a customer because these are the people who will help bring in new customers. In the Loyalty stage, loyal customers may post on social media about their experience with your brand, write reviews on your site, or continue promoting your brand through word-of-mouth.
Brand loyalty isn’t instantaneous— it takes time and nurturing from your brand (and other loyal customers) to move leads through the customer lifecycle stages.
What is customer lifecycle management?
Now that we’ve gone through the ins and outs of the customer lifecycle stages, let’s talk about managing it all.
Customer lifecycle management is all about assigning metrics to each customer lifecycle stage and measuring your business’s success based on those metrics. By tracking each of these stages, you can track the success of your business over time in relation to the customer lifecycle.
In other words, you can see well your brand is doing in moving leads through the customer lifecycle to earn brand loyalty and attract new customers.
Customer lifecycle management strategies
Managing your customer lifecycle doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, when you put these customer lifecycle management strategies into practice, it’s easy.
Invest in a CRM system
Now, we may be a bit biased here, but having a CRM system can make a huge difference in customer lifecycle management.
Nutshell’s intuitive CRM offers customer lifecycle management tools like sales and email automation, reporting, form generation, and contact management. With sales and email automation, you can quickly connect with and respond to customers who enter certain stages of the customer lifecycle and sales pipeline.
Our CRM’s reporting software can help you keep track of the metrics you assign to each stage of the customer lifecycle, and Nutshell’s form creation tools can help you gather valuable feedback from customers to help move more people towards the final stage.
Understanding your audience is another great customer lifecycle management strategy. By knowing your customers, you can create more targeted marketing campaigns during the Reach stage and then continue to strengthen those campaigns as customers continue to move through the lifecycle.
These targeted campaigns are especially helpful during the Acquisition stage because they can sway prospective customers toward the Conversion and Retention stages better than a marketing campaign that targets general audiences.
Provide quality customer service and support at all lifecycle stages
Great customer service experiences are a major factor in gaining customer loyalty, so it’s incredibly important that you make sure your team offers quality customer service to your leads and customers, whether online or in-store.
Besides making customers feel welcome and seen by your company, providing customer service gives you the opportunity to consistently connect with customers within each lifecycle stage. It’s another way to help nudge them along to becoming a loyal customer, and it helps you to identify and solve any customer problems or questions that may arise.
Make customer lifecycle management simple with Nutshell
With the help of Nutshell’s all-in-one CRM, you can expertly manage your customer lifecycle and encourage people to become loyal customers for your brand.
Our email and sales automation features make customer service easy by enabling you to touch base with customers at key points in your sales funnel. Plus, our customizable forms allow you to collect customer data for targeted ad campaigns that grab new leads.
To learn more about all Nutshell has to offer (and try everything out for yourself!), sign up for a free trial of the Nutshell CRM, or learn what all the hype is about by attending a live demo today.