Beyond The Customer Lifecycle - Catering To Customers When They Will Most Appreciate It
Beyond The Customer Lifecycle
Catering to Customers When They Will Most
Beyond The Customer Lifecycle I Catering to Customers When They Will
Most Appreciate It
While many a company takes into consideration the customer lifecycle when
designing their customer experience strategies, few consider that they need to
cater to the needs of customers during transitional life stage moments or
The traditional approach used by companies across most service sectors in
designing their customer experience has been to do so around the customer
lifecycle, examining all interactions with existing or potential customers along a
typical route that goes something like this:
1. A consumer has a need arise for some given reason
2. The consumer explores alternative suppliers that can satisfy that need
3. The consumer picks one supplier
4. The consumer goes through an application or purchase process
5. The consumer uses the given product or service
6. The consumer assesses their satisfaction with the experience relative to the
given product or service
7. The consumer disengages with the supplier to choose another one the next
time they need the given product or service, or, continues with the relationship
they are already in due to their satisfaction
While this approach is a smart one in that it considers the typical interactions
most consumers have with a company, it does not take into account those which
occur on a less frequent basis but may be of much greater importance. These
interactions can be categorized into two general groups:
Life stage Moments
Life stage moments are those which most individuals experience a few times a
decade, but are moments that are of critical importance. They are memorable,
usually joyful, and sometimes stressful. They are moments that companies often
ignore, failing to be there for their clients when they may be needed the most.
These life stage moments represent a wealth of opportunity for companies
wanting to better their customer experience, as their competitors are likely
doing little around them.
While it may be difficult as a company to know when these moments occur in
their client’s lives, it’s not impossible. Every interaction with a client is a chance
to capture information about the moments throughout the year that will be
important to them. Some sectors will be able to know much more about when
their customers will have life stage moments then others.
Some examples of these life stage moments and how to know when it will
happen in a client’s life, and what could be done for the client:
Graduating from high school or college – Based on birth date, captured by
most companies in the service sector.
Example actions – A telecom sending a congratulatory SMS and gifting free
celebratory minutes, or designing and offering a university student bundle
catering to this segment’s specific needs
First or new job – Based on changes in service usage, as in the case of a bank
being able to tell when a customer has a new job due to a change in the
company giving the direct salary deposit.
Example actions – A bank sending a congratulatory SMS, or a retirement
planning guide/ an investor’s guide (based on the amount change in the person’s
Marriage – Based on customer profile changes, as in the case of a request to
change a last name or their title to Mrs.
Example actions – An airline sending a congratulatory fruit gift basket celebrating
the client’s nuptials.
Having children – Based on usage changes, as in the case of a customer
buying diapers and baby food for the first time, recorded on their loyalty card,
or, on their credit card.
Example actions – A bank sending a “How to Save For Your Child’s Education”
booklet, along with a gift toy piggy bank, or a congratulatory cigar to dad.
Moving into a new home – Based on an address change request.
Example actions – A telecom sending a mover’s checklist to the client, reminding
them of all the issues they need to still possibly resolve related to their move.
Child graduating from high school or college – Based on information that
could be obtained through a loyalty card application, regarding children’s
birthdates, or, through a request from the client to change an account holder’s
name at a bank or telecom firm.
Example actions – A bank sending a brochure discussing the financing
alternatives available for putting a child through college.
Retirement – Based on the discontinuity of a direct deposit along with the
client reaching retirement age.
Example actions – A telecom sending a congratulatory SMS and a book about
hobbies, celebrating their newfound time.
Some companies have already begun realizing the need to cater to customers
during these life stage moments. TDS Telecom, a company based in the United
States with over 1 million subscribers, has a Mover’s Resource Center on its
website, designed to make moving easier for its customers. Not only does it offer
a one-stop solution for moving the customers phone line and internet service,
but also provides a wealth of information and links around moving, with a
Moving Guide, Moving Solutions, and Moving Checklist. Citibank financial
planners, as another example, congratulate their clients who are getting married,
and use the opportunity to discuss with them the importance of financial
While some of the actions taken can be directly aligned around cross-selling or
up selling, most of them are relationship-boosting efforts, meant to let the
consumer know that their company is with them during the critical times in their
lives. As such, the aim is to increase customer satisfaction and retention, not
ramp up sales.
In some cases, the actions that can be taken are one-time in nature (i.e. sending
an SMS or a gift), while others are more permanent and lasting, and as such, can
be used over and over again (creating a booklet on how to invest, or a university
student bundle). Regardless, companies should attempt to address these life
stage moments their customers experience in the most relevant manner
possible, based on their customer portfolio.
Spontaneous events are those which most individuals also experience a few
times a year, but are much more negative in nature. They are memorable for the
wrong reasons, usually resulting in anguish and frustration for the individual.
These events are also often ignored by companies, as services can be offered to
the client base to make these experiences less painful for them.
These events, unlike life stage moments, do not have to be predicted
beforehand. Rather, companies need to offer a set of products and services that
will be turned to by customers at such times.
Some examples of these spontaneous events and examples of what could be
Car Broke Down
Example offerings – A telecom providing a hotline for tow truck service, with
global positioning utilized to locate the individual.
Had an Accident
Example actions – A bank offering low interest credit to clients who are faced
with large hospital bills they may not otherwise be able to pay. Or, a telecom
offering operator assistance to individuals to locate the closest hospital.
Lost a Job
Example actions – A bank allowing a customer to delay credit payments up to 3
months throughout the length of a given loan without any penalty. Or, a telecom
offering a payment delay or tariff usage cap service for a small fee, aimed at
helping the individual manage their finances during difficult times.
Lost Cell Phone
Example actions – A telecom offering a customer cell phone insurance, or, at a
minimum, a phone number backup service, intended to help individuals quickly
get up and running with a new phone.
Turkcell, Turkey’s leading mobile phone service provider, has an excellent service
that lets customers back up their cell phone numbers through their phone, free
of charge. With the push of a button, the most recent numbers recorded on the
phone are wirelessly sent to be stored in a server. Customers are thus assured
that even if they lose their phone, the phone numbers on it can easily be
retrieved. Turkcell also benefits from this service, as its customers can begin
dialing their contacts as soon as they purchase a new phone. HSBC Bank in Hong
Kong also is there for its customers when they are most needed. The bank allows
customers who have recently become unemployed to not worry about their life
insurance premium payments. The bank allows for insurance premium payments
to be deferred for up to two years (or until the individual resumes working)
without any interest accumulating on the delayed payments.
The actions that can be taken around supporting customers during spontaneous
moments can be revenue generators, aimed more at providing protection to the
customer for a small fee. The appreciation of the customer who relies on the
service in a time of need will more than outweigh any negative feelings they may
have for paying a small fee.
Companies should examine their own customer base to determine the right mix
of actions and offerings that can be conducted and developed to cater to their
needs. Customers will truly appreciate the fact their company values them,
leading to deeper, longer, and more profitable relationships.
About Forte Consultancy Group
Forte Consultancy Group delivers fact-based solutions, balancing short and long term
impact as well as benefits for stakeholders. Forte Consultancy Group provides a variety
of service offerings for numerous sectors, approached in three general phases -
intelligence, design, and implementation.
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