What is Customer Lifecycle Journey? How To Create Yours in 2023

November 23, 2022
Ammar Mazhar
What is Customer Lifecycle Journey? How To Create Yours in 2023

Table of contents

Businesses of all sizes and sectors share the goal of converting leads into loyal customers. To achieve this, marketers have mastered tactics for attracting, converting, and potentially delighting consumers.

The core concept is to provide the audience with meaningful content and individualized experiences, resulting in a positive relationship with the brand.

To have this positive relationship with customers, businesses must employ the concept of the customer lifecycle journey, which tries to track the steps customers take to progress through the marketing and sales funnel.

In this post, we will walk you through the customer lifecycle journey, the need to create a customer lifecycle map, the phases of the customer lifecycle journey in SaaS, and the steps to create a customer lifecycle journey mapping.

What is the customer lifecycle journey?

Whether you are new to marketing or not, or if you're trying to learn about one of the essential methods for maximizing income earned from your various channels, you've probably heard of the customer lifecycle journey.

The word "customer lifecycle" is commonly used to describe how brands manage their relationships with customers at different stages before, after, and during the purchase. It identifies and capitalizes on the typical milestones shared by customers throughout their lifecycles. The term derives from customer relationship management (CRM) practice. 

It is also used to denote the creation and improvement of your company's brand with your customers in specific progressive steps to retain a loyal customer.

Understanding the customer lifecycle begins with understanding that it represents a real human relationship between your company and the customer; the more you care about details and pay attention to how you deal with them and what you provide to them at each stage, the more you'll gain in return. Revenue or having loyalists might be your wins since a successful brand always has the most loyal customers. Even if they can't get to purchase, they will always refer you to their contacts.

What is the difference between the buyer journey and the customer lifecycle?

You've probably heard much about customer lifecycles and the many names used to describe them, such as buyer journey and sales funnel. They might be a bit confusing to understand. You might even ask yourself why some terminologies, such as buyer journey and customer lifecycle, appear to define the same thing. Don't be fooled-the buyer journey is different from the customer lifecycle, and you must understand the difference.

The following is a comparison of the buyer journey and customer lifecycle.

Buyer Journey

The buyer journey describes a customer's steps before purchasing a particular product or service from a specific brand. This includes the awareness stage, when customers realize they have a problem; the consideration stage, when they find a solution to their problem; and the decision stage when they select which product or service is the best solution.

Customer Lifecycle

The consumer becomes a customer at the final stage of the buyer journey (the decision stage). However, your relationship with your customers continues even after they purchase. After all, a business's true success depends on repeat customers. Here, the customer lifecycle journey comes into play.

You should strengthen relationships with your customers throughout the customer lifecycle journey through regular engagement. Building relationships will help in the development of trust in your brand, which will improve customer retention.

However, getting customers to repurchase isn't your primary purpose. You'll want to build client loyalty, which means they'll only buy your products and services—and, eventually, will turn to your brand for whatever needs you can offer solutions to.

Why should you create a customer lifecycle journey map?

Companies may improve their customers' experiences and boost repeat business by optimizing their processes. A customer journey map provides valuable insights that allow businesses to focus on successful operations and processes. It can help businesses in various ways, including

Infographic: Why should you create a customer lifecycle journey map?

1. Helps you know your target audience

A customer journey map can assist you in answering important questions about your target audience, such as Who is your customer, and where do your customers come from?

The answers to these questions can assist you in determining where your consumers are coming from and what they want to hear from your business.

For instance, what drew your consumers to your website? Was it through social media, organic search, paid advertising, or email?

Furthermore, your map can include information about which devices your target audience uses and which promotional campaigns yield the best results.

2. Improves customer experience

A customer journey map will give important insights into the buyer experience, allowing your brand to be more proactive in providing positive experiences. A poor experience that is not precisely personalized to your client may be driving away more people than you think: 59% of consumers will leave a business after several negative experiences, and 17% will leave after only one.

A map shows you where and how to fulfill your prospects' and loyal customers' demands. With customer lifecycle mapping, you'll be able to ensure that you're offering the level of service clients require for a better and more positive experience.

3. Optimizes inbound marketing efficiency

Focusing on qualified leads is essential for effective marketing. Unqualified leads are a waste of your time and money. A customer journey map provides the data and information you need to generate more quality leads by helping you determine who is the best fit for your brand. This mapping also gives you a better understanding of where your clients are and who they are as individuals.

You may also utilize your customer journey map to do inbound marketing.

A customer journey map lets you discover what drives inbound leads to your website and how to capitalize on these opportunities.

4. Drive repeat business 

While new business is essential, repeat business is key to a company's prosperity. Loyalty is an important aspect of customer purchases. It might be even more important than the price in some cases. 56% of customers in a poll said they are willing to spend more money for a brand they trust, even if there was a cheaper choice elsewhere.

When businesses provide an outstanding customer experience, they encourage repeat business. They promote successful repeat business by reaching out to buyers throughout important lifecycle points of their journey, such as when they are likely to purchase again.

5 Phases of a customer lifecycle journey in SaaS

The SaaS customer lifecycle comprises all of the processes from a client's first interaction with your product to their signing up. In other words, it refers to the processes that lead to potential consumers knowing about your company and the product or service you provide, interacting with it, and purchasing.

Knowing when customers will arrive when they leave, and how much time they will spend in your business is critical for developing future policies. All phases of a customer's lifecycle journey are essential for converting customers into repeat customers.

To create positive customer experiences, you must prioritize your relationships with customers. As a result, it is critical to take customer lifecycle management seriously and to follow a plan.

Here are the five stages of the customer lifecycle journey in SaaS.

Infographic: 5 Phases of a customer lifecycle journey in SaaS

1. Conversion

Once potential customers have shown interest in your product or service, they will begin to evaluate what they want, eliminate what they don't want, and ensure they can afford the service or product they purchase.

At this stage, you must now connect customers to your brand by giving accurate and satisfying guidance to those considering trying your product. Typically, this occurs when a consumer is given a free trial of a SaaS product. The goal here is to demonstrate to the consumer exactly what services you can provide and prove your services' value.

At this point, you must educate the customers you have attracted about the product or service they are thinking about purchasing. Explain how to use the basic features and get the most out of your product or service.

You can educate your customers in a variety of ways. Some examples are anecdotal how-to videos built within the application, courses given by qualified instructors, how-to guides, and online help centers.

Assist them in getting past their initial hesitation. You'll be one step closer to converting potential clients into loyal customers if you assist them in making decisions.

2. Onboarding

In the onboarding stage, you welcome new users into your ranks and show them how much you appreciate their willingness to take a chance on your brand. This is also the stage where you assist them in getting set up, depending on the specific product or service you offer. This may involve installing software, importing data, and configuring the software to fit their unique requirements.

You'll most likely have a checklist of actions consumers must take to be considered wholly onboarded. Sometimes it's as simple as generating a log-in and gaining access, and other times it's a months-long implementation including data integrations, project planning, and several stakeholders.

Email automation makes it simple to walk potential customers through the onboarding process. Email automation is helpful whether you're teaching your customers the basics of your website, using call-to-action to inspire action, or introducing yourself and your staff members.

Following is the example of email automation where call-to-action is being used to inspire action by stating the benefits of Sumo Logic.

onboarding example

Whether you execute the onboarding with a specialist team or provide the tools the customer needs to do it themselves, you'll want to track how long it takes. Onboarding time is a critical key performance indicator (KPI) to monitor and reduce as much as possible.

3. Product Adoption

Product adoption refers to the process through which people become aware of a product, understand its value, and begin to use it. The product adoption process is often divided into four stages: awareness, interest, evaluation, and conversion.

When people think about product adoption, they often consider metrics such as the number of sign-ups or daily active users. These metrics, however, do not reflect whether users are successfully integrating your service or product into their daily routine, adding it to their arsenal of business tools, or embracing it as something they cannot live without. Actual product adoption occurs when the value of your product outweighs the cost and effort required of the user to make a change.

Remember that you don't need to win over new users or early adopters. As you add new features and make changes, think about how you might assist existing consumers in recognizing the value of your product.

4. Loyalty

The ultimate goal of your brand is to maintain customer loyalty. At this point, the customer has become a valuable asset to the brand by making repeat purchases and recommending it to their family and friends. Spreading awareness throughout social circles through word-of-mouth referrals, writing favorable reviews to lead potential buyers to the next stage, or even posting about their experience with the business derived from loyalty.

To reach this stage, a consumer must have been through the three previously described stages. Brand loyalty is developed and fostered via seamless experiences that match customers' demands and prove the value of your service or product.

5. Advocacy

Customers satisfied with your service or product will not hesitate to tell their friends, family, or acquaintances about your brand, which is where brand advocacy comes in. It is excellent to cultivate this advocacy to retain customers engaged in your business and attract new customers.

Customer lifecycle marketing is an integral part of your entire marketing strategy. Always remember that the customer lifecycle cycle is a cyclical process that continuously brings in new clients and keeps existing ones. Therefore, you should only dump a customer if they paid for your SaaS solution.

You must implement a well-thought-out strategy to assist you in reaching your company and marketing objectives.

5 Steps of creating a customer lifecycle journey mapping

Now that we've established what customer journey mapping is and why it's essential, here's how to make your own:

Infographic: 5 Steps of creating a customer lifecycle journey mapping

1. Define Your Target Audience

First and foremost, you must understand who your customers are, where you can find them, and what unmet needs motivate them to seek out your product or service. Making a customer persona will assist you in defining your target audience. Some traits to define are as follows:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job Role
  • Family Status
  • Personal goals
  • Preferred social media sites
  • Professional goals

These insights may be obtained by reviewing your demographic data and interviewing customers. Customers may be asked the following questions to help assist their map-making process:

  • How did you learn about our company?
  • What drew you to our product?
  • What problem were you attempting to solve, and what objectives did you want to achieve with our product?
  • How long do you spend on our app? How simple was it to find your way around?
  • Did you need customer service? How useful was it?
  • Is there anything we can do to help you make the process faster or easier?

2. What to map

Choose the parts of the customer journey to map and then draw a behavior line from there. A behavior line outlines what your consumer does on their journey on your website. For example, do they Google information about your company? Or did they locate your brand via social media? The behavior line will depict each step they take to become a paying customer.

You could map a new customer journey, the process of resolving a product issue, or the renewal process. You could begin with your most profitable journey, your most common journey, or the journey that appears to fail the most frequently.

3. Identify elements to include in your map

Identify all the actions and steps a buyer takes when interacting with your brand. This includes conducting a survey or clicking on an email link. Consider the emotional motivations behind their actions as well. Their emotions may change throughout the journey. For example, a company may begin its search overwhelmed because they need more time and money to devote to 1:1 marketing. They get relieved or happy as they get closer to discovering an automated solution for customization because they understand there is a more practical approach to simplifying their efforts.

Also, mention any weaknesses or pain points that your customer may encounter. When you understand the hurdles in your customer's path, you may take action to overcome them. For example, after a customer purchases, you can send a FAQ page for their questions or an informational email to walk them through using your solution or product.

Following is an example of an informational email about a certain feature in FreshBooks.

4. Add necessary touchpoints

Touchpoints are places on your website where customers engage with you. Study all of the touchpoints where your customers reach out to you, as well as those you believe they should be using.

Keep in mind that there are additional ways for customers to find you online, such as social media, email marketing, paid advertisements, or third-party sites. Perform a Google search for your brand to check where you are mentioned online.

5. Adjust and optimize

Analyze the outcomes once you've mapped out the customer journey. Look for different ways to improve customer service and make the process easier. The customer journey map might help you identify areas where your buyers' demands could be more satisfied. When you critically see your customer journey map, you will improve the client experience and focus your attention where it is most valuable.

Experiment with your map for each persona and follow the journey to your brand site. By taking the journey yourself, you might gain a feel of what your customer is going through. Then you may make tweaks and improvements directly related to the customer's pain points.

Make your customer lifecycle journey easier with Appflows!

Each SaaS company's customer journey may differ, but certain fundamental features connect all journeys. It's all about viewing your service or product through the eyes of your consumers and predicting the actions you'll need to take to ensure their success with your product.

To support customers throughout their journey, you need a platform like AppFlows.

AppFlows is your brand's most powerful and effective user journey mapping tool that helps create and manage intricate customer lifecycle journeys. AppFlows is a low-code solution for product managers that allows them to quickly develop behavior-driven email flows using a drag-and-drop automation builder and pre-built recipes.

Author Bio

Ammar Mazhar

Ammar Mazhar

Content writer by day and a book nerd by night, Ammar Mazhar has been writing for 3 years for B2B and B2C businesses. As a wordsmith, Ammar knows how to write SEO-optimized content that your users will find insightful, igniting results for your business.

Related Articles

Ready to get started?

Unlock unparalleled growth with powerful user journey mapping