Profitability and business growth depends on how effectively a business associates with its customer base, during the acquisition, prospecting and sale process. Customer interaction is a kind of business interface that is unlimited to all departments. It spans across all departments of the company and involves all moving parts of the business machinery. Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions ensure that this kind of customer interaction with your business brand is maintained.
So, what is Customer Lifecycle Management?
Well, based on specific roles in various businesses, there are some ways to describe what exactly CLM means. Here are some of them:
1. It’s a business philosophy
CLM can be described as a business philosophy because it eradicates the ‘silo’ thinking, which significantly reduces customer satisfaction and affects future profits of the business. Since the customer is at its heart, CLM can also be a joined-up approach that creates long-term value by ensuring that all departments of the organization understand their role in the long customer journey. Therefore, this means that each part of your team is focused on enhancing immediate customer satisfaction and how they capture the right information regarding future customer needs.
2. It’s about simplification
CLM is also about simplification because companies can now have several different databases and overlapping systems, which the customer experience is deteriorated by inaccuracies and delays. CLM seeks to centralize the customer data, as well as simplify the systems to the level where operations, marketing and sales are all contributing to just a single source of the customer intelligence data – through software designed to offer profitable and effective customer outcomes.
3. It’s all about competitive advantage
CLM is also about competitive advantage that makes your business team so effective and responsive that the customer should not need an alternative. If your team is fully focused in meeting all customer needs today, learning and communicating about future customer needs, your competitors cannot compete with your business. CLM also enables the sales and marketing functions to create a stronger channel of recurring business by simply capturing customer data with each interaction.
4. It’s about customer intelligence, decision making and analytics
Customer Lifecycle Management seeks to create customer’ profile that can aggregately help you spot ineffective processes or communications, patterns, unmet customer needs, R & D opportunities or cost savings. It’s basically about real time information right at your finger tips.
The Scope of CLM Overview
CLM is categorized into five broad stages, including installing loyalty, customer acquisition, customer retention, customer on-boarding, and cross selling and up-selling. Managing all these stages of a customer lifecycle is an important role that a CLM structure plays.
The Best Practices of Customer LCM
As the business industry recognizes and adopts Customer Lifecycle Management, an array of best practices has also evolved over the years. Hence, the right strategy works across the sales, marketing, and other service platforms to infuse the overall business objective into each phase. These phases include pre-agreement phase, agreement phase and post-agreement phase.
1. Pre-Agreement Phase
This includes lead/opportunity management and campaign management.
a) Opportunity Or Lead Management – This is the first stage of every CLM process that mainly focuses in research and identification. Lead Management usually involves generating the necessary leads from campaigns. In this case, critical business criteria come into play with the subsequent leads evaluation leading to follow-up and qualification. When it comes to customer acquisition, managing these opportunities must be the first step. This particular stage of the process also helps to segment the customer base, which is a good move that helps in building a customer-centric targeting system in the subsequent levels of customer management.
b) Campaign Management – In the pre-agreement phase, this involves active participation. With leads in hand, using multiple channels, the right campaigns are launched here. Simultaneously, customizing content in-line with the customer’s wants or needs is vital. Campaign management involves graphical campaign representations workflows, channels flows and marketing schedules. At this stage, automated marketing content distribution over multiple channels often occurs using the right tools.
2. Agreement Phase
This includes managing customer requests and agreements, as well as sales.
a) Managing Customer Requests and Agreements – This is the best stage to take the initiative. So, during this stage, your customer should come onboard – hence requiring the process of CLM to perform at the best level. This phase is usually handled deftly and the requests that the customer places are rewarded. Up-selling and cross selling are also included into this stage to improve the sale value.
b) Managing Sales – Providing experience includes managing the process of sales and assigning market segments and territories to specified teams. It also includes tracking of all expenses towards the organization’s customer services, time and other resources used is part of this step. Levels of customer experience at this particular stage should be at optimal.
3. Post-Agreement Phase
When it comes to Customer Lifecycle Management best practices, this phase includes customer service and loyalty campaigns.
a) Customer Service – This is all about experience enhancement where it’s essential to maintain service quality. In this case, creating a feedback channel helps a lot, while also making it a future communicating platform with the customer. Through the acquired feedback, gauging the response of the customer for further recommendation and even repeat business is made quite possible. Usually, customer delight is a common phrase put to use in this case and even many companies have included this in their business missions.
b) Loyalty Campaigns – In CLM, this is more concerned about brand protection. High competition levels make it very essential and necessary for every business to protect its brand. In addition, this means protecting your customers from other brands of the competitors. The established communication platforms are used to reiterate your effort and commitment towards your customer even when there is no actual sale.
In a nutshell, if all these customer lifecycle functions sound slightly too difficult and complicated to put to work, it’s a good idea to hire the best CLM partner or agency for your business to deal with these essentials. There are some reliable business support services with the right resources that can help you to transform these complications and difficulties into more simplified solutions for your type of business. They will also absorb all your business challenges to safeguard your customer’s journey – making each potential business channel consistently customer-centric.