The Customer Lifecycle: A Process to Progress
When one hears the word lifecycle, high school biology class may come to mind, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The five stages of the biological lifecycle include (1) Introduction (2) Growth (3) Maturity (4) Saturation (5) Decline. As the biological lifecycle takes us through the journey of being a human being from birth to death, the customer lifecycle does something quite similar in following along the stages a buyer goes through prior, during, and after completing a transaction and becoming an actual customer. Again, very much so like biology, these stages are not hard and fast written in stone. This means that they are flexible and fluid to each individual situation in terms of timing.
Why is Understanding the Customer Lifecycle Important?
Understanding the customer lifecycle allows a business to experience success in finding, attracting, and keeping loyal customers. The goal is to progress from stranger to friend, to committed relationships and beyond. And as in biology, one generation produces the next.
5 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle
1. Reach: Consumers need to know both who and where you are. Reach creates awareness of your marketing material/content.
2. Acquire: While reaching consumers is important, in order to convert, you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to meet a need. This requires knowing your brand, your potential customers, and the connection between the two.
3. Develop/Nurture: Once an initial purchase is made and a relationship between your business and the customer is established, this relationship must be nurtured. This requires time, effort, and intentionality on your part.
4. Retention: It’s great to get a new customer, but it’s even better to keep them for the long haul. The best way for this to happen is to consistently meet the customer’s needs.
5. Advocacy: When a customer is at the point of leaving reviews and telling others about how great your business’ services and/or products are, not only have they reached the ultimate stage of loyalty, but they are also at a point of contentment where they actually feel comfortable bringing others along for the ride.
Knowing where your buyer stands in the customer lifecycle is helpful information that will allow you to strategically communicate with them in a way that provides the guidance and support they need to comfortably progress in the relationship.