Gartner has identified that the new buyer’s journey encompasses three simple, but intimately related, parts: Buy, Own, and Advocate. In the article "Improve the Customer Experience by Knowing the (New) Customer Journey, Gartner analyst explains "Today’s customer buying journey spans buying, owning and advocating. It is progressive so that if brands do the right thing in the buy and own stage, they earn customer advocacy."
The Own stage starts from the point of Purchase and continues throughout the useful life of the product. Unless customers are well taken care of during this stage, they may never get to advocacy stage which is critical as other prospective customers increasingly rely on ratings and reviews of the existing customers.
Even though there is a very strong business case to have brands engage with existing customers more, many organizations view retention and growth as being outside of marketing's purview. Own stage is typically managed by Customer Service and Support. Since many companies consider customer service as a cost center, they may not pay that much attention or allocate as much budget to own stage when compared to investments in customer acquisition or buy stage.
As many industries move to recurring revenue models based on subscriptions, companies are recognizing the importance of customer retention and the cost of customer churn. In the durable goods industries, companies like GE have popularized the services model to grow revenues and profitability for diverse range of products from Aircraft engines to medical equipment.
89% companies see Customer Experience as key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention. Customer Service and Support executives now have an opportunity to play a strategic role in improving customer experience and help companies maximize value from existing customer base.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) represents what a brand can expect over the life of the relationship if the customer continues to be satisfied and happy. Brands need to apply the same level of discipline, resources and effort toward expanding existing customer revenue as they do toward acquiring new customers.
Customer Service and Support executives should apply different strategies in obtaining buy-in for the Customer Experience projects focused on the Own stage of the Customer Journey. When talking to CEOs and marketing leaders, Service executives should be ready to talk about:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) vs Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
- Ways marketers can generate demand within existing install base
- Opportunities to create upsell, cross-sell and expansion
After getting a buy-in to focus on projects to focus on existing customer base, companies face many challenges in their efforts to provide unified experience throughout the Own stage:
- Brands generally have incomplete, incorrect data about which products customers own and how they are using them
- There is very limited content designed to help customers get more from existing products and understand the benefits of expanded usage
- Many departments responsible for customer lifecycle operate within their own silos making the 360◦ view of the customer an elusive goal
Faced with these challenges, companies have given up control of post-sale customer relationship. Instead of proactively managing the customer experience, companies have mostly adapted a reactive stance by relying on call centers and service issue resolution.
Customer Service and Support Executives need to focus on orchestrating experience and engagement at all touch points during journey mapped to their specific industry and customers. E.g. the durable goods own stage may include onboarding, usage, warranty, support, service, and upgrade.
The nexus of web, mobile, social and IoT technologies are for first time enabling brands to stay in touch with customers through the life cycle and gain insights to engage in more meaningful ways. Companies can now create additional revenue opportunities by offering innovative digital services, service plans, and subscription programs.
Customer Experience is the new competitive battle ground and brands can win by protecting and nurturing existing customer to realize the true customer lifetime value. 5% increase in customer retention can lead increase in profitability by 25-90%. Focus on the Own cycle of Customer journey will lead to better advocacy and lower customer acquisition costs.
Most CRM and Digital experience platforms mainly focus on marketing and Buy stage. mize is unique in focusing Own stage of the customer journey. Contact mize to learn more about Connected Customer Experience platform and Smart Blox focused on enable brands to retain existing customer base and maximize and customer lifetime value.
Eric Marlan, a Senior Product Manager with Mize, manages the product roadmap for the Mize Connected Customer Experience platform and Smart Blox modules focused on the areas of Registration, Warranty, Parts, Service Plans, Support, Field Service, and Knowledge.