Customer Success Lifecycle: What Is It and How To Create It in 2023?

Customer Success Lifecycle: What Is It and How To Create It in 2023?

Harry McKay
January 17, 2023
4
min read

Isn't that challenging to keep track of customer success and maintain visibility into your customer relationships?

It can be, especially when trying to manage a growing customer base and keep up with the latest in the industry.

Having a clear customer success lifecycle makes all the difference, as it guides your team through each customer interaction and keeps them focused on the right goals.

The customer success process needs to be described clearly and transparently for each employee. You can’t afford to lose sight of the big picture or lose track of each customer as they move through your sales, customer service, and customer success teams.

With this guide, you will discover how to create a customer success lifecycle that is easy to navigate for customers and your team.

Let’s begin.

What is the Customer Success Lifecycle?

A customer success lifecycle is a customer-centric approach to creating and delivering value for your customer while using your product.

The process starts with understanding their needs, goes through the onboarding process (including training and support), and ends with a successful outcome that keeps them engaged with your product or service.

It describes how customers engage with your product or service as they move from initial exposure to eventual post purchase.

Differences Between Customer Journey vs. Customer Lifecycle.

Customer lifecycle and customer journey are terms often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

A customer lifecycle describes the period from when a customer first comes into contact with your company to when they leave it for good. A customer journey is about the steps customers take before and after this initial contact.

By mapping out customer lifecycles, businesses can better understand their customers' experiences within the industry, company, and product or service offering. On the other hand, customer Journeys help companies connect with customers across various channels and touchpoints.

Let's understand this better with a side-by-side comparison,

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Customer Journey Customer Lifecycle
Journeys envision the customer experience and provide detailed specifications for teams to build out.   By understanding the lifecycle of their customer base, businesses can create targeted campaigns that are likely to hit home.
Customer Journeys can be used to create more effective customer engagement.  Customer lifecycles are tools for understanding how customers experience a product—and the phases they go through, from awareness to advocacy. 
When an organization creates journeys, it can map the customer's path as they engage with an organization through various channels, from the web to retail.   When a company creates Customer Lifecycles, it can see how customers experience the big picture and their role in serving them better.

These concepts can be harnessed to create a powerful force for innovation and improvement in the overall product marketing strategy.

Customer Lifecycle Stages.

The customer lifecycle stages are the different phases in which a customer moves through their relationship with your brand. There are six different stages where customers can be found, from the first time they’re exposed to your brand, through their first purchase and beyond.

The stages are

  • Awareness,
  • Consideration,
  • Preference,
  • Purchase,
  • Loyalty, and
  • Advocacy.

Let's explore every stage,

1. Awareness.

In general, awareness is the first step in the customer lifecycle. It’s when a customer or prospect is first exposed to your brand. This can be through any number of channels, including advertisements, social media posts, word of mouth, or even a conversation with a friend or family member.

In today's marketing scenario, word of mouth plays a significant role as trust becomes the primary factor for customers when choosing a brand.

2. Consideration.

The consideration stage is when a customer begins to think about your brand and consider it an option. This could be triggered by something they’ve seen, heard, or read.

Most users would research and evaluate other online options before they even consider your product. Gartner suggests that 27% of buyers do an independent search to weigh products, and the seller has little influence over the buyer’s decision.

To move on in the customer lifecycle, they need proof that what they’re considering is actually worth the investment (in both time and money). This can come in many forms: free samples, demos, free trials, or even a coupon code.

3. Preference.

The third stage of the buyer’s journey is when you become a preference. This means that they’ve narrowed down their options, selected your product as their preferred choice, and are now looking for proof of its value. They want to ensure that it meets their expectations and that it’s worth their investment in getting there.

4. Purchase.

During stage 4 of the customer lifecycle, consumers make their final decision about whether or not to purchase.

To help ensure that your customers receive the guidance they need, provide them with resources such as FAQs and customer service representatives who can answer questions using live chat.

5. Loyalty.

Satisfied customers who continue to use the product or renew their subscription services fall into this stage. They may also opt for additional products or buy higher-priced options from you. To keep customers in this stage, ask them what they like about your product or service and how it could be improved. This helps you stay on top of trends and find ways to add value for your customers.

6. Advocacy.

The final stage of building a relationship is cementing the bond. You should continue to provide quality service and support, nurture your connection with the customer through proactive engagement, and take every opportunity to create an emotional bond.

If you handle customer relationships well, your customers will repeat their purchases and refer others to do business with you. The most important thing to remember is that the relationship between you and your customer is not stagnant. It will change over time, so you need to be flexible in nurturing them.

How To Create a Customer Success Lifecycle Journey?

The way to build long-term customer relationships is by creating a customer success lifecycle journey. This means that you should focus on helping customers achieve their goals and provide them with value at every stage of the relationship.

Here’s how you can start creating one,

1. Define what success is for your customers.

You can’t create a customer success lifecycle journey unless you know what success looks like for your customers. Customer success starts with defining a strategy for helping customers achieve their goals using your product.

Whether they are using your product to increase revenue or reduce expenses, you need to know their goals and how your product helps them achieve those goals. Once you know what success looks like for each customer segment, you can create a customer success lifecycle journey that aligns with those goals.

2. Define the customer lifecycle journey stages.

The customer lifecycle journey is a series of stages customers go through as they engage with your product. These stages are typically the same for each customer segment, but they may vary based on your product or service.

You can use these stages to map out your customer success lifecycle journey and create an onboarding process customized for each segment. You can even follow the same stages that we have outlined above.

3. Define touchpoints for each stage.

Once you’ve defined the stages, you can map how customers move through these stages. This is where it gets really interesting—because now, instead of just thinking about what happens when a customer signs up for your product, you can think about how they interact with it at every stage in their lifecycle journey.

These are the moments when customers need help, support, or information from your company. It's important to note that touchpoints aren't limited to in-app messages or customer service interactions but can include anything that helps customers move through the lifecycle journey.

Let's see the multiple touchpoints,

A) Awareness.

At this stage, customers are just learning about your product and don't have a strong opinion of it. To move them along the lifecycle journey, you need to show them how your product can benefit them. You can reach your target audience via multiple channels including paid ads and social media.

B) Consideration and purchase.

The next step is to move your customers from awareness to consideration and then to conversion. You can do this by creating an interactive product demo that showcases the value of your product.

The best example of this is Ignition. They embedded an interactive product demo on their website to convert their traffic to leads.

Source.

As a result, they saw a 20% increase in conversion rate. With Storylane's no-code demo builder, you can create a demo that showcases the value of your product. You can use it to educate your customers and move them along the lifecycle journey.

C) Onboarding.

The next step is to onboard your customers. You can do this by creating a personalized onboarding experience that helps them get started and take the first steps toward success with your product. This is where the customer starts using your product. If you don't do this right, you may lose the customer.

You can create a personalized and interactive product onboarding experience with Storylane, as it comes with auto-personalization to make your experience more personal and interactive. The more you educate them to use your product, the they are more likely to get success with your product.

D) Retention.

In this stage, providing better customer support and keeping the customer engaged with your product is essential. Retention is important because it helps maintain the current customer base and increase future sales. You may have a great onboarding experience, but if you don't provide good support after that, it's unlikely that customers will stick around for a long.

E) Advocacy.

In this stage, it's essential to get customers to recommend your product to their friends and family. You can provide an excellent user experience, support, and exclusive deals or offers.

4. Assign action items to your team.

Once you have defined the roadmap and identified the key stages, you can assign action items to your team. You can assign different people for each stage of the customer lifecycle journey or focus on a single stage at a time.

When you assign each segment to each group, you can define the goals for each stage and how you expect your team to achieve them.

5. Define milestones for your customer.

Now you can see how your customers interact with your product at various stages and identify where their needs might be unmet. Now it's time to define the milestones. It can be

  • What do your customers want at this stage of their journey?
  • What goals should they hit to acquire these things?

These will be the milestones you want your customers to hit. Defining these milestones, and benchmarks gives you a clear idea of how your customers interact with your product and help you define what they want at each stage.

6. Measure and optimize.

Once you’ve set the phases of your customer cycle, ensured that the right group is in contact with customers at each stage, and identified metrics to measure success—you're ready to start reaping.

No matter how thorough your initial journey map is, be prepared for some refinement down the road. Even after you’ve created and revised your lifecycle, there will always be areas where you can improve.

The best way to do this is through measurement and optimization. Measurement lets you understand what’s working, what isn’t, and where you need to make changes. Optimization helps you maximize your strategy by improving the elements that are working and eliminating those that aren’t.

Benefits of Creating a Customer Success Lifecycle Journey.

The benefits of creating a customer success lifecycle journey are many. Here are some of the top benefits,

  1. Improved customer retention: By understanding the needs and challenges of customers at each stage of the journey, you can proactively address any issues and provide support to ensure that they continue using your product or service.
  2. Increased customer satisfaction: A well-designed customer success journey helps ensure that customers get the most value out of your product or service, leading to increased satisfaction.
  3. Upselling opportunities: By understanding your customers' needs and goals, you can identify opportunities to upsell the upgraded version of your product. This will benefit both parties involved.
  4. Greater customer loyalty: Customers who have a positive experience with your company are likelier to become loyal customers and recommend your product or service to others.
  5. Improved efficiency: A customer success journey can help you streamline your processes and identify areas where you can improve the customer experience, leading to increased efficiency.
  6. Enhanced data collection and analysis: By tracking customer interactions and behaviors at each stage of the journey, you can gather valuable data to help you better understand your customers and make informed decisions about improving their experience.

Implementing a customer lifecycle journey.

Start small and start by optimizing your website for lead generation, as this is the place where your prospects determine whether or not your company is a good fit for them. Once you’ve established trust and credibility with your prospects, you can focus on converting them into leads and customers.

This happens without friction when you embed an interactive product demo into your website so prospects can learn about your product or service in an engaging way. This will increase conversions and minimize your prospect's time to evaluate your product.

Storylane helps you achieve this by providing a platform to create engaging, interactive product demos. With our easy-to-use tool, you can create a demo in under five minutes and embed it into your website. This will help increase sales while minimizing friction between prospects and their decision to buy from your company.

Want to know how interactive demos and onboarding can help you achieve more? Schedule a free demo now.

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