Managing the Customer Lifecycle and Keeping Your Clients EngagedNovember 2018 / Share
Customers are the rock on which your business is built. Whether you're a professional services firm with corporate clients or a retail brick-and-mortar shop appealing to local consumers, whoever is buying what you are selling is of the utmost importance. While owners have to deal with a litany of day-to-day operational tasks, it's vital they make time to better understand and provide value to customers.
Case in point, the end of the transaction is certainly not the end of the relationship. You want to inspire repeat business and cultivate customers for life. It's no easy task to sustain and grow a customer base when consumer preferences change so quickly, but it can be done.
The key is to take the long-term perspective: to look at the customer lifecycle and how businesses can improve at each stage to better manage and monetize customer relationships. Here's where to start:
Everything begins with acquisition. Customers aren't born, they're made. Businesses often devote plenty of resources to acquisition, but they have to be careful about spending too much. Acquisition can be costly, so ensuring your spend is concentrated on your most effective conversion methods is crucial, be it direct marketing over search optimization or vice versa. Acquisition must not only be effective in appealing to customer, but also cost-effective.
A common pitfall many businesses fall into is not looking past acquisition. Customers aren't exactly the set-it-and-forget-it type: Businesses must actively retain their accounts. This need arises not long after acquisition. The two should be symbiotic concepts to any business owner — acquisition and retention are tightly intertwined. As soon as customers are acquired, they should be onboarded. This sets an optimal foundation for productive and profitable relationships. Ensuring high-quality customer service is a good way to further support retention efforts.
Retention depends in large part on engagement. Disinterested customers will churn, and customers who haven't heard from the business in a while are also at risk of leaving. Get creative with your engagement initiatives to power retention and create loyal customers. Loyalty programs, in fact, are highly effective vehicles for engagement and retention. Businesses benefit by strengthening bonds and customers win by accessing rewards. Having a strategic communication plan is also important. Owners should, for instance, analyze their email campaigns to refine frequency of emails to match customer activity.
To generate lifetime customers, businesses have to provide value along the way. No matter how loyal a customer is, if there's greener pastures elsewhere, there's always a chance they may defect. Tiered promotions in loyalty programs are one way to create value for consumers. Another is to provide recommendations or personalization. Businesses have a wealth of customer data at their hands that can be leveraged to both provide and drive customer value. Analyzing purchase history, for example, can help businesses identify cross- and up-selling opportunities.
Managing the customer lifecycle requires a fair bit of attention from businesses. That means getting any help you can from a bank to manage financial responsibilities and needs can be a big help. When looking for such services, talk to Vectra Bank.
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The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, business or investment advice.