Forrester has long advised marketers to shift from a product- and channel–centric approach to a customer-obsessed approach. Customer obsession puts the customer at the center of your leadership, strategy, and operations and allows companies to provide maximum value to customers through superior products, services, and experiences. But in Forrester’s The State Of Customer Obsession research from last year, we found that just 8% of decision-makers classify their company as fully customer-obsessed.
This finding highlights the need for enterprisewide organizing principles that align every piece of the customer relationship with a customer-obsessed vision and allow companies to track their progress. The Forrester Customer Lifecycle Framework helps B2B and B2C business leaders — enterprisewide! — calibrate what are too often internally focused processes instead of the customer’s process and perspective. This shift in focus triggers several pivots:
- From “what we do” to “what our customers want”
- From your process to the customer’s process
- From one stage (e.g., acquisition) to the entire customer lifecycle
- From “transactions” to “relationships”
Marketing, customer experience, sales, IT, digital, and other business leaders who have made the pivot to engage with customers across the lifecycle have learned that the pivot is not exceptionally disruptive and — crucially — delivers significant benefits, as it:
- Improves the ROI of marketing spend.
- Accelerates new customer acquisition time cycles.
- Increases customer lifetime value.
- Creates a lifelong stewardship of the customer relationship.
- Drives customer value, loyalty, and advocacy.
Leaders can use the Customer Lifecycle Framework to conduct initiatives such as:
- Improving the buying experience to win more business and drive loyalty from the start of the relationship.
- Creating a seamless transition for your customer from purchase to value realization and satisfaction.
- Boosting retention and increasing customer lifetime value.
Whether your challenge is to improve the quickest B2C interaction or to build long-term strategic relationships with B2B accounts or B2C customers, start with a holistic view of the customer lifecycle to drive your organization to look across siloed operations and deliver the experience your customers want and need.
For the full description of Forrester’s Customer Lifecycle Framework, please see the published report here. Of course, the Customer Lifecycle Framework may raise some questions when companies first adopt it:
- How should I balance resources across the customer lifecycle?
- How do different internal stakeholders collaborate to engage customers across the lifecycle?
- How does the customer lifecycle differ for different segments of buyers?