Customer Experience Lifecycle
The following is an interesting adaptation of the classic Customer Life-cycle analysis
The first spark is Need. It's not part of the traditional customer experience life-cycle but Need (i.e., a solution to a problem) often begets the rest of the cycle.
This is the rest of the stages of the life-cycle are defined, from the customer's perspective:
Awareness: This is when customers first become aware of your brand, which might happen as a result of your marketing or advertising efforts or word of mouth/referrals from a friend.
Consideration: Now that they are aware of your brand, it becomes one of the brands in their consideration set. This means that they'll research and investigate your products and services, along with those of your competition.
Selection/Purchase: Once customers have done their homework, they are ready to select and purchase your products or services.
Experience: During this stage, customers learn how to use and consume your products or services, training, support, etc. Ultimately, if they are satisfied with the experience because you've met their basic needs and expectations, it leads to the next stage.
Loyalty: During this part of the the lifecycle, customers feel comfortable with the brand experience, and, as a result, continue to use your products and services and will even broaden their purchases to other products or services that they haven't used in the past.
Advocacy: If your customers reach this point, you're starting to get into exciting territory. This is when customers become an extension of your sales force and recommend your products and services to their friends and colleagues. They've had nothing but exceptional experiences to this point.
Engagement: While you've reached a pretty solid stage in the relationship when your customers hit Advocacy, Engagement brings in that emotional bond. Now we're talking Love and Trust. They can't live without your products or services.
Raving Fans: And finally, I believe that the ultimate customer experience yields Raving Fans. These customers have gone beyond Engagement, beyond that emotional bond. Is that possible? Yes! Consider those brands where customers feel they are part of something bigger, where they show an outward expression of their devotion to the brand: they tattoo their bodies with the brand logo or even name their children after the brand!! You know the examples: Apple, Zappos, and Harley Davidson are just a few!
The last part of the customer experience life-cycle: Departure. Obviously, this is the one stage of the life-cycle that companies hope customers never achieve, but, as you know, it happens. Departure can take many forms: churn, cancel, die. You can't control the latter, but the former two are in your hands. How will you ensure that your customers never reach that stage?