Managing Customer Lifecycle

Lifecycle management has been around for decades, typically referring to the product development lifecycle that starts with innovation and is followed by idea development, product production and product support. Another interesting application of this concept is 360-degree corporate management evaluations, where a manager's boss, colleagues, direct reports and customer contacts are interviewed regarding a particular manager's skills and abilities. The results of the 360-degree analysis are then turned into a specialized training plan based upon identified manager weaknesses.�

Customer lifecycle surveys follow the same 360-degree concept, and have recently become very popular among top companies as they try to improve their products and services, and the customers' overall experience. The general customer lifecycle is acquisition, service and support, retention and growth, and eventually customer loss. Many companies have realized that in order to achieve company objectives with customer throughout their lifecycle, additional information is needed about the customer at each phase of their development.�

Different questions are appropriate for each stage in a customer's lifecycle, and the methodology for each stage will differ in survey mode, questionnaire style and sample design. With newly acquired customers, for example, the survey should be aimed at determining the first impression that your company is making on your customers.

A new customer survey should cover such issues as:

  • How the customer found you and chose you.

  • Who else they considered and why.

  • Whether the honeymoon period exceeded their product and service expectations.

  • Whether you are delivering on promises made.

  • Whether you are building a lifelong relationship.

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