The customer lifecycle begins with awareness and matures to advocacy, from the first interaction with your brand, to an evangelized super-user who raves about and recommends your product to friends, family and associates.
This Process Street article focuses on the customer lifecycle management – how to understand the different stages of the customer’s lifecycle, and guide them from initial awareness to long-term advocacy, with the help of tech.
Optimal customer lifecycle management is vital as this can maximize customer lifetime value (CLV) by boosting customer retention. This, in turn, will bolster your bottom-line by:
- Selling to an existing customer base: There’s a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer base relative to a 5-20% chance of selling to new prospects.
- Increasing customer retention: A mere 5% increase in customer retention is enough to raise a company’s profits by 75%.
Getting customer lifecycle management right can be tough. To help you, we’ve put together this list of essential tools to complete your customer lifecycle software stack, for optimal customer lifecycle management.
Each tool is chosen as per the customer lifecycle stage it’s best used for. Each customer lifecycle stage will have differing aims, which means it’s vital you use the right tools to meet your objectives. For this article, we’ve done the work for you.
- Understanding the customer lifecycle in detail
- Customer lifecycle software to help build brand awareness
- Customer lifecycle software to promote customer engagement
- Customer lifecycle software to ease customer evaluation
- Customer lifecycle software to help your customers make a purchase
- Customer lifecycle software tools to use post-purchase
- Customer lifecycle software tools to promote customer advocacy
Understanding the customer lifecycle in detail
Customers pass through several stages as they interact with your brand. These stages make up the customer lifecycle, and are as follows:
- Awareness 💡: This is the first stage of the customer lifecycle. During this stage, the prospect recognizes they have a problem and have an impulse to act and solve this problem. They see your offering as a potential solution.
- Engagement 🧐: Once your customers are aware of you, they’ll start to seek out your marketing content by following you on social media, signing up to your email, checking out your blog, etc. They’ll also start to pay attention to what others are saying about your brand. Your prospects are engaging with you.
- Evaluation 👨🔬: Once your customers have identified their problem to be solved, they’ll research the best solution. During this evaluation phase, customers will be comparing you to your competitors. Customers can use online, word-of-mouth, showrooms, sale representatives, or other sources of information.
- Purchase 🥇: This is crunch time. Your prospect has made their final decision. And because you employ effective customer lifecycle management techniques, your prospects have chosen you over your competitors.
- Post-purchase 💰: Once your customers have made their purchase, the hard work doesn’t stop there. You want to retain your customers, and to do that you need to use the right post-purchase strategies. This means delivering an exceptional customer experience. This stage is all about preventing customer churn.
- Advocacy 🙇♀️: Advocacy is about getting your existing customers to positively talk about your brand and offering. At this stage, you’ll want to cement your relationship with your customers. You should continue to provide a high-quality, supporting service, plus nurture a connection with proactive engagement. Your aim is to create an emotional bond with your customers. If you do this well, you’ll see your customers jumping back into the purchasing stages of their lifecycle, upgrading their purchases, and encouraging others to do the same.
You want to move your customers from the awareness stage to the advocacy stage in as little time as possible. There are a plethora of software tools out there to help you do this. With this in mind, we’ve scoured the software space to find the best tools you should use for each customer lifecycle stage.
Customer lifecycle software to help build brand awareness 💡
Prospects enter the customer lifecycle at the awareness stage. During this stage, you must have a clear idea about where your target audience spends most of their time. If we take the average American, they spend 6 hours a day online. This means the process of identifying, reaching, and analyzing your target audience’s online activity should be trouble-free.
Below are tools to help you during this awareness stage.
Use Hootsuite for social media management
Hootsuite has over 200,000 paid accounts and millions of users across the globe. The platform is used for social media management. Users can schedule posts across multiple social media accounts to build brand awareness. Once more, Hootsuite allows you to find, distribute, manage and optimize your social content.
- Social media analytics
- Campaign optimization
- Social ads and social engagement
- Follower analysis
A free trial is available. A professional plan starts at $53.00 per user per month. A team plan starts at $135.00 per user per month. A business plan starts at $708.00 per user per month.
Use WordPress for your content marketing strategy
Creating free and useful content is intent-driven marketing, and should be used alongside your interruptive marketing initiatives. Content marketing is intent-driven because your customers are searching for the information you’re providing for free. Use WordPress to support your content marketing strategy.
WordPress is a popular website and blog-building platform. WordPress a is free and open-source software that gives you website ownership. You can customize your WordPress site to how you want by changing the theme, adding customer WordPress plugins and unique apps.
- Content authoring
- Content scheduling
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Free version available. Personal plan at $4 per user per month. Premium plan at $9 per user per month.
Customer lifecycle software to promote customer engagement 🧐
When your customers become aware of your brand, they’ll want to engage with you if your product or service is relevant to their interests. A blog and social media marketing are both useful here, but there are other additional methods – and supporting software – you can use to build engagement.
Use Insightly for contact management
With these activities interconnected, your team has a holistic view of each opportunity or contact, meaning you can anticipate the needs of your customers and deliver superior customer experiences.
With Insightly, you can automate various marketing activities and help deliver great content to the customer. This content gives a personalized feel for increased engagement. Insightly offers a centralized platform to store customer-centric data to track the customer journey.
- Contact and account management
- Task/activity management
- Lead management
- Customer support portal
- Social collaboration features
- Reporting and forecasting
CRM pricing starts at $29 per user per month. Professional plan at $49 per user per month. Enterprise plan at $99 per user per month.
Use Salesforce CRM for a 360-degree view of each customer
Salesforce CRM promotes customer engagement by creating a 360-degree view of each customer. This means you’ll be able to see a customer’s activity, how they’ve engaged with your marketing efforts in the past, and other insights powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Salesforce will even tell you the right moment to engage with your customer because timing is everything. Plus, a lot of this outreach is automated taking a load off your team’s plate.
- Contact and account management
- Customer contract management
- Product and price list management
- Lead management
- Campaign management
Pricing ranges from $25 per user per month to over $300 per user per month.
Customer lifecycle software to ease customer evaluation 👨🔬
The evaluation stage is the last stage before your customers purchase your company’s products or services. Customers are comparing your product to your competition, and asking the following questions:
- What’s unique about your product?
- Does your company provide any sort of guarantee to minimize risk for customers?
- What are the additional details that move the needle for a customer to make the purchase?
Use HubSpot to understand your customers better
Thinking about the above-listed questions, you can use HubSpot as an out-of-the-box feedback tool to easily capture qualitative and quantitative feedback and understand your customers better.
With this important customer information, you’ll learn what brand attributes hold you back during the evaluation phase (e.g., maybe your product doesn’t have a unique selling point (USP), or maybe your customers feel the purchase is too risky).
Hubspot Customer Feedback helps you use Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to measure customer loyalty over time. Send Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys to understand how easy it is for customers to get the support they need, or distribute customer satisfaction (CST) surveys to understand how satisfied your customers are.
- Contact and account management
- Opportunity and pipeline management
- Desktop integration
- Lead management
- Email marketing
Starter plan at $51.75 per user per month. Professional plan at $891 per user per month. Enterprise plan at $3,573 per user per month.
Use Mopinion to listen to your customers’ voice
To help your customers through the evaluation phase and guide them to choose your offering over your competitors, you need to listen to what your customers have to say.
Collect and analyze feedback from websites, mobile apps, and email campaigns in real-time. With Mopinion’s easy-to-use interface, you can build, design, and configure feedback forms how you like. Once more, you can target feedback forms to specific groups of prospects to gain insight into why they’re not converting and making a purchase.
- Brand design consistency
- Feedback collection
- Device responsiveness
- Feedback aggregation
Growth plan at $232 per user per month. Turbo plan at $582 per user per month.
Customer lifecycle software to help your customers make a purchase 🥇
It’s easy to think that once your customers have made a purchase, your job is done. This thinking is incorrect, as it’s at the purchase stage where your work begins.
You want to simplify the purchasing process, and listed below are the tools to help you do that.
Use Apple Business Chat to speed up the purchasing process
With Apple Business Chat, customers can get answers to their questions, schedule appointments, resolve issues, and make purchases without leaving the messenger.
Let’s say you have a prospect in the engagement stage, and they use Apple Business Chat to get in touch. You can engage the customer, and lead them straight through to the purchasing stage in one platform. What a simple and easy process.
Once more, you can connect Apple Business Chat to your Apple Pay account, streamlining the process further, moving from customer engagement to payment and purchase.
While using Apple Pay, prospects are sent list picker prompts allowing the customer to select one or more items, such as products or locations. This again helps your prospects come to a purchase decision and select additional items for this purchase.
- Apple Pay connection
- List picker prompts
- Ability to send chat URL website links
- Time picker to prompt the user to pick available slots
Apple Business Chat is available with a Sunshine Conversation plan starting at $495 per user per month.
Use OptinMonster to quickly generate leads
OptinMonster is a cloud-based solution for lead generation and marketing automation. Users can create A/B tests for a range of custom opt-in forms without the need for coding. Create unique campaigns or offers based on the location and behavior of visitors, allowing you to segment their email list based on subscriber interest and website interactions.
OptinMonster allows you to compare different form variations to find the layout, headlines, content, style, and opt-in trigger that generates the most conversions.
OptinMonster is designed for you to grow your email list, get more leads and increase sales.
- Geo-location tagging
- User behavior tracking
- Convert images to link to an opt-in form
- No-code drag and drop builder
- Campaign templates
The basic plan at $9 per user per month. Plus plan at $19 per user per month. Pro plan at $29 per user per month.
Expand your payment options with PayPal
PayPal is a popular payment processing platform with features for in-person and online transactions. PayPal offers a global service featuring invoice, mobile, and recurring payment in 100 currencies. PayPal comes with an embeddable Buy-now button. Clicking this button allows the customer to sign into their PayPal account and purchase the item automatically. This quickens the purchasing process and diversifies the payment options you provide.
- Online payment acceptance
- Bill me later
- Barcode scanning
- Online invoicing
- Shopping cart
- PCI compliance
- Inventory tracking
- Virtual terminal
No free trial is available. Selling on a website, through an invoice, or via email costs 4.4% + $0.30. Selling on eBay costs 3.9% +$0.30. International sales apply currency conversion fees.
Customer lifecycle software tools for post-purchase customer management 💰
The post-purchase stage of customer lifecycle management aims to increase CLV and retain your customers. In this section, we present the tools to help you do that.
Use Process Street to deliver exceptional customer experiences
Process Street is a no-code solution for documenting your business operations to reduce error, improve efficiency and create consistency. These benefits transcend to your customer success operations, improving customer experiences.
With Process Street‘s customer success software, you can:
- Standardize your approach to customer success: By using Process Street’s no-code workflow builder, you can create templates for your team to follow for them to handle issues and opportunities in the best possible way.
- Lighten your customer success workload: Eradicate manual tasks and connect your workflows to the platforms you use daily using Process Street‘s Automation and Webhook features.
- Handle multiple customers in one process: Simplify your processes by using Process Street’s Conditional Logic feature when building templates.
- Make the best decisions for your customers: Use Process Street’s Approvals feature to make sure all customer success documents and decisions are run by your Customer Success Manager. Make decisions on the move, and provide feedback from where you are with one quick click.
- Task progress monitoring
- Rules-based workflows
- Template management
- Third-party integrations
- Workflow management
- Customizable reports and templates
Free plan available. Pro plan at $25 per user per month. Enterprise plan available on a quotation basis.
Use Churn Zero to increase customer retention
Churn Zero is a real-time customer success platform that helps subscription businesses fight customer churn during the post-purchase phase. The Churn Zero platform is uniquely designed to integrate with CRM systems. By doing so, Churn Zero:
- Helps businesses understand how their customers use their product/service.
- Assesses customer health and the likelihood a customer will renew product/service subscriptions.
- Gives businesses the means to automate and personalize the customer experience through timely and relevant touchpoints.
- Customer health scores
- Customer profiles and segments
- Customer monitoring
- Reporting and dashboards
There’s no pricing information available. You can request a demo here.
Customer lifecycle software tools to promote customer advocacy 🙇♀️
Once your customers have purchased your offering, and they are satisfied with the experience, you then want them to be pillars of your brand. Customer advocates are those that spend the most money, bring in customers and shout about your brand from the rooftops. This is the final stage of the customer lifecycle, and below are the tools to use during this stage.
Use Influitive to build a community of advocates
Influitive allows you to build a community of advocates and invite your customers, developers, partners, and employees to complete challenges, referrals, product reviews, social media posts, plus more. As your customers complete these personalized challenges – which you can target at specific groups – they earn points, badges, and move through different levels.
You can easily visualize and report on the customer activities completed and the ROI of those activities by integrating Influitive with your CRM – like Salesforce.
- Social network integration
- Contact sync
- Customer engagement
- Downloadable reports
- Qualitative solutions
- Social media integration
Customer advocacy plans starting at $1,499 per month.
Use GrowSurf to focus on the referral aspect of advocacy
Use GrowSurf to focus on the referral side of brand advocacy. GrowSurf is a leading software that allows you to set up, automate, and track all of your brand advocates using GrowSurf’s simple and effective referral system.
With GrowSurf you can launch a customer-to-customer referral program to incentivize word-of-mouth referrals and grow organically.
- Activity dashboard and tracking
- Affiliate marketing
- Campaign analytics, management, and planning
- Customizable branding
Startup plan at $200 per month for 10,000 participants. Business plan at $400 per month for 25,000 participants. Elite plan at $600 per month for 75,000 participants.
Integrate your customer lifecycle software apps together using Process Street
The applications mentioned in this article are uniquely designed to serve one stage of your customer’s lifecycle. As mentioned, Process Street is an excellent app for delivering exceptional customer experiences. But Process Street has another brilliant use case when it comes to customer lifecycle management.
Each stage in a customer’s lifecycle is linked, meaning stages should not be considered in isolation. Customer movement is fluid from one stage to the next, and customers can even move backward, and jump stages. What you need is a means of linking these customer lifecycle stages and the applications used in each. And to do that, you can turn to your business processes.
At the core of your business, there are processes. These processes form a network, linking teams, departments, and tasks. By documenting your business processes, you’ll have full transparency of who is doing what and when.
In terms of customer lifecycle management, you can use your documented processes to track a customer’s movement between the lifecycle stages, and interact with the relevant applications when needed. For this interaction, you can integrate Process Street with other customer lifecycle applications using the third-party integration tool Zapier.
With these integrations, customer information is securely stored in a Process Street workflow and passed back and forth between this workflow and your customer lifecycle applications. For more information on how to set up these integrations, visit our Integrations help page.
What tools and software do you use for customer lifecycle management? Are there tools you think should be listed in this article that we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!