Tag Archives: customer

The customer lifecycle isn’t

There’s a lot of talk about the customer lifecycle and the benefits of paying attention to it out there.

A typical customer lifecycle goes like this: A potential customer discovers our offerings, learns about them and our value proposition, buys our offerings and thus becomes an active or current customer, and finally stops buying our offerings and thus becomes a former customer.

But is this really a typical customer lifecycle?

I don’t think so anymore. I think this more typical: A potential customer is born, grows up, lives through adulthood, grows old, and finally dies.

Obviously, this is quite coarse-grained and could be detailed by adding many significant events.

The first lifecycle above really describes the relationship between a customer and a business (and this only in a very limited way).

Paraphrasing Chris Potts, businesses need to decide how they want to appear in their customers’ activities, experiences and lives. I think this a lot easier to do when taking the second perspective on the idea of a customer lifecycle.

The need for shared-value propositions

A shared purpose draws people to connected companies (Gray, 2012, p. 218, 253) and the larger-than-the-organisation shared enterprise (Graves, 2010, p. 13).

In Tom’s Enterprise Canvas, the value proposition links a service to the shared enterprise’s purpose, i.e. it explains how the service contributes to achieving this shared purpose. The service’s purpose is delivering this proposed value to…whom?

Traditionally, a value proposition focuses on value delivered to customers, but as Dave, Tom and others argue, this view is too narrow in this increasingly connected society (note that I didn’t say economy): today an effective value proposition needs to consider the value delivered to all stakeholders, including employees, partners and customers (there are more).

In other words: An effective value proposition must be a a shared-value proposition.

Adapting an idea by IDEO, a sustainable service delivering such a value proposition must strike an effective balance between human desirability, commercial viability and technical feasibility. Such an effective balance must be achieved not only for the provider of the service-under-discussion but also for all other stakeholders such as customers, partners, suppliers, etc.

References

Graves, T. (2010) Mapping the enterprise: modelling the enterprise as services with the enterprise canvas. Tetradian Books.

Gray, D. (2012) The connected company. O’Reilly.

Service experience is more than just customer experience

Veigo Kell, retweeted by Bob Marshall, said the following on Twitter this morning:

It is remarkable how little the people running organizations know about the experiences of the people working around them. ~Dan Pink, Drive

This led me to write this post which I had thought about writing before but then put off:

An organisation should rightly be concerned with the experiences customers and users have when interacting with the organisation, i.e. humans and automated services representing the organisation. However, many humans other than customers and users are involved with the organisation. Some of those closer to the organisation are employees and partners. Note: See this blog post by Tom Graves for a discussion of other players in the enterprise, in particular anti-clients. So if it is beneficial to care about our customers’ experiences, it is surely (even more?) beneficial to also care about the experiences that humans working with and for our organisation have. (An ethical argument for doing so can easily be made, too.) A complete view of service experience has to consider the experiences of all stakeholders. And while I’m at it, let’s not forget service outcomes, i.e. non-experiential service results: A complete view of service outcomes has to consider the outcomes for all stakeholders. In other words, I suspect it’s “human-centered design” and not “customer-centered design” for a reason.