As a business owner, you know how important it is to maintain good relationships with your customers. So it’s essential to invest time and effort into acquiring the expertise and tools necessary to cater to ever-changing consumer demands.
To build customer loyalty, you need to be familiar with the stages a customer goes through. Understanding the customer lifecycle will assist you in establishing mutually beneficial connections with customers, thereby increasing the value of your existing clientele.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of a customer lifecycle, including a detailed definition, the three customer lifecycle stages, and the software for tracking each stage. Let’s get started.
The customer lifecycle is the process by which leads learn about a product or service, decide to buy it, and ideally continue to buy from the same brand over time. This lifecycle has five 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.
The customer lifecycle provides a structure for your marketing team to consider their objectives at each stage, map them to essential success metrics, and create the relevant material and initiatives to drive success at each stage.
It details the customer’s journey as they go through the cycle and sales funnel. It reveals the entire customer experience to the marketing, sales, and customer service departments and points out where they may improve.
Using the customer lifecycle, your team can provide engaging content for lead acquisition and stellar service at every touchpoint.
Earlier, we mentioned that there are five customer lifecycle stages. Customers often float between them and even repeat certain ones—for example, when a client considers the value delivered by a new product offering despite having purchased other products or services from you in the past, this is the evaluation or acquisition stage.
Let’s go over each stage in more detail below.
Your relationship with a customer begins at the awareness 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 is the stage at which your business first interacts with a potential customer through an online search, a social media ad, or a recommendation from an existing customer.
The consumer is often in a research mindset throughout this customer lifecycle stage, looking at various options for resolving their issue with no particular brands in mind. At this point, you’re not attempting to sell them anything. Instead, you’re trying to get their attention, start a conversation, and build rapport.
After establishing contact with a potential client, the next step is to start a conversation and provide them with some helpful information. In this stage, you recognize their difficulties and provide them with content that solves their issues.
Once a client reaches this point in the customer lifecycle, they have realized the issue’s significance or the solution’s potential. They are more likely to check you on social media, look at your company ratings online, and compare you to your rivals.
At this point, you need to demonstrate how your product or service is superior to the alternatives and highlight why they should choose you by using content marketing strategies like blog posts, videos, testimonials, and podcasts.
The conversion stage is when potential clients have learned everything they need to know and are so satisfied with their interaction with your brand that they decide to become paying clients.
At this point in the customer lifecycle, it’s crucial to emphasize the value you are delivering because they’ve committed to more than simply a transaction—they’ve engaged in a relationship with you. However, it doesn’t end there—you still have to keep them happy to retain their loyalty. That’s where the next stage begins.
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.
Finding out the customer’s perspective and understanding their feelings is the first step toward customer retention. In this stage, you get in touch with them to see if they’re satisfied with the service or product they received.
You can also conduct customer satisfaction surveys, calculate your client retention rate, and launch a “customer’s voice” initiative to get sufficient information to sustainably enhance your offerings and the quality of your customer support.
This customer lifecycle stage is where you can provide your consumers with exclusive benefits unavailable to the general public. The ability to reach an expert at any time, price reductions, and rewards for referring friends are all incentives that may transform a buyer into an advocate for your business.
Brand loyalty is what every business wants in a customer because these are the people who will help bring in new customers. The end game is to have satisfied consumers willing to sing your praises. At this point, you want to ensure that your customers are happy with your products or services and are eager to spread the word about them through social media recommendations or online reviews.
Providing excellent customer service is a proven way to convert satisfied clients into raving fans who will spread the word about your business. You can also set yourself apart from the competition by selling better quality products or services at affordable prices, responding to their comments on social media, and providing a tailored service.
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.
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 how your brand is doing in moving leads through the customer lifecycle to earn brand loyalty and attract new customers.
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.
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.
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.
Gain insight into customer preferences by utilizing surveys and forms. Directly ask your customers for feedback using online tools.
Nutshell makes it easy to create forms for customer data and feedback collection. Nutshell Forms are customizable and send data submitted through your forms right into your CRM.
With Nutshell Forms, you can gain deeper insight into customer preferences by asking questions like:
Nutshell has everything your business needs to manage leads, streamline sales processes, and complete more transactions. In addition, our tools are user-friendly and intuitive, allowing your staff to focus on sales instead of learning the platform.
Nutshell maintains a centralized database to record prospect data and actions at each customer lifecycle stage. It features a client contact card where you can view details about a customer’s online behavior, communication preferences, and contact details.
Plus, when you choose Nutshell as your CRM, we’ll go the extra mile to ensure your success, from assisting you in optimizing your sales processes to resolving any issues that may arise.
Try Nutshell for free today and see why it’s one of the best customer lifecycle management CRMs to help your business grow!
Join 30,000+ other sales and marketing professionals. Subscribe to our Sell to Win newsletter!