[News brief] The 7 challenges of orchestrating a customer lifecycle
Published on 22 February 2017
It’s important for brands to see their customers’ business as more than just another sale on an inventory. Brands need to see each customer as a person who has a specific customer lifecycle, incorporating information such as personal events and journeys into their customer database. The objective should be to enrich their database with information on loyalty cards, marriages, births, birthdates, purchase preferences and dates in order to understand their customer beyond the purchase and therefore provide an all-around better customer experience. The main points to keep in mind when setting up an optimal customer lifecycle process are satisfaction, loyalty, and increase in sales. In light of all of the above, we decided to dedicate a blog post to overcoming 7 challenges that brands face when orchestrating a customer lifecycle process.
Defining the brand/customer agreement
The first challenge, before starting the customer lifecycle orchestration process, is to determine a brand’s strategy when it comes to the customer promise, and what makes the brand distinct from others. This strategy will act as the ground rules for any action that is created to improve a customer’s lifecycle.
Determining the objectives from a customer standpoint
After the initial agreement is determined, it is up to the brand to focus on the customer objectives that they want to achieve, based on their brand strategy and sales objectives. For example, one brand may be more interested in creating a loyal customer base, while another may be looking to increase the average purchase value. Other variables include acquisitions, creating brand ambassadors, and increasing brand reviews and word-of-mouth advocacy.
Organizing cross-channel customer knowledge
In order to efficiently gather customer information across all channels, and to use this information as effectively as possible, there needs to be a centralized operation in place. Once a process to gather all information from sales and communication channels has been set up, this data must be made available in a way that both sales and marketing teams can analyze and use it effectively.
Defining customer sales and communication via cross-channel journeys
It is impossible to actually define every single journey that a customer will go through during a lifecycle; therefore, the challenge lies in defining the key journeys, specifically the ones that align with brand objectives, and then to focus on the correct implementation of the process. The idea is to create an effective business process that simplifies a complex cross-channel customer lifecycle orchestration without making it more complicated.
Contextualization of each digital or physical interaction
In order to really be able to create a personalized approach for every consumer, each customer journey needs to be correctly defined, and put in the right context, whether physical (in-store), digital (online), or both (web-to-store). If data processing and analysis are set up in a correct and reliable manner, brands will benefit from the information and customers will benefit from the added value service they receive.
Automation of the customer journey
As stated above, there is no need to complicate an already complex system. Automation of the entire process with the aid of specific and centralized digital tools will allow for a much more efficient overall visibility and management process of customer lifecycles. Automating workflows creates a much easier way to manage customer targets and objectives.
Measuring the efficiency and proper implementation of objectives
Finally, it is important to be able to measure the results of any new system that is implemented to ensure that it is rendering positive results. Brands should be able to easily review whether the investment is working in their favor and meeting the objectives defined in our first challenge.
With 61% of marketing directors citing data collection and management as their greatest challenge when it comes to centralizing customer lifecycle processes (2014 Experian survey), it is in a brand’s best interest to set up an automated process that allows for both customers to benefit from a personalized approach, and brands to continuously meet set customer objectives.