Customer Lifecycle: Importance and Stages

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Inci Rodoplu
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If you’ve ever taken care of a plant, you might have experienced a process quite similar to the customer lifecycle, in a matter of months. Think of your entire relationship with it, from the moment you buried seeds into the soil to all its growth stages. Think of your expectation of the first, scrawny leaves, the way you watered it every day. The joy in seeing the first flowers, the determination against pests, the surprise when you see the new roots and branches. And the period of withering away, wondering anxiously if it will come to life again. Trying to decide if it is gone for good or if you should invest in vitamins to keep it alive. This is the whole process of the customer lifecycle, in a flower pot.

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Managing customer lifecycle is like cultivating plants.

What is the Customer Lifecycle?

Customer lifecycle is the sum of all your interactions with the customer. It may be long and prosperous or it may end with churn at some stage, for some reason. It consists of five stages that involve pre-sale, sale and after-sale interactions. All the stages are measurable and the result gives you “customer lifetime value”, in other words, how valuable a customer has been to your business in the course of your entire relationship.

Why is Customer Lifecycle Management Important?

Customer lifecycle management tells you two things: If the customer is worth going the extra mile or not, and how you can improve your customer interactions and sales. 

A regular customer is usually more profitable than closing a one-time deal because customer retention is less costly than acquisition, and it provides various upsell opportunities. Customer lifecycle management also helps you take better care of your existing customers, who create more value than others and may even be more beneficial with some special treatment.

The second important benefit of customer lifecycle management is that it provides you with information on the areas of improvement. If you’re stuck on any stage of the customer lifecycle, you can make targeted investigations, find better solutions to specific problems, and set smarter goals.

What Are Customer Lifecycle Stages?

Customer lifecycle stages consist of people becoming aware of your product, the period of consideration or customer onboarding, the first purchase, the next purchases and finally customer loyalty or recommendations.

In gardening terms, customer lifecycle can be interpreted as dibbling, sprouting, flowering, yielding fruit and branching.


The first stage of the customer lifecycle is reach, where you plant your marketing materials into the right soil and wait for the first leads to sprout. The best practices are knowing your target audience well, reaching them wherever they are and delivering your message effectively so that they want to know more about what you offer. 

If you are stuck on this stage, this means you’re not visible enough. You might be addressing the wrong audience, your marketing messages may not be relevant, or you may need to invest in SEO and social media marketing. Measurable success of the awareness stage leads to customers reaching out to you for more information, like product features or price review.


When the prospect reaches out to you, he or she becomes a lead. A simple visit to your website makes the customer a target for relevant ads, following on social media means being open to brand messages, contacting the customer service can lead to an offer the customer can’t refuse. Knowing the customer’s needs and being prepared to answer them, or utilizing an effective customer onboarding strategy will help you move on to the next stage and make the actual sale more smoothly.

Being stuck on this stage means that you’re not convincing enough. You might need to be more accessible, agile, or informative to convince the customer that your product or service is worth giving a try to satisfy his or her specific need. Here are some methods to improve your customer service practices and move on to the next stage confidently.


The customer decided to purchase your product or service! Hooray! But don’t lose track of your customer while cheering up because it’s far from over yet. It is easy to get stuck on this stage if the customer experiences payment issues, receives a product that doesn’t meet his or her expectations, or can’t reach support when in need. 

Even if you have converted the leads to actual customers effectively, you’ll still need to keep in contact with them to show that you care about their experience, offer them some relevant items that can meet their other needs and remind yourself from time to time to successfully move on to the next stage.


As mentioned earlier, first-time customers are good but repeat customers are better. Having the first-timers choose you again for the next time, and the time after that means that you’re providing a positive customer experience and building trust. 

Retained customers are bread and butter for any business. If you are stuck on this stage, you might be experiencing some satisfaction or trust issues; or maybe you just lost your customer to a competitor because you failed to be remembered.  


Building customer loyalty has always been a challenge but today competition is more fierce and customers are more demanding. But having loyal customers and brand advocates should be the ultimate aim of businesses because those customers are the ones who create the greatest customer lifetime value. Loyal customers not only make purchases regularly and provide a steady income, but they also recommend your brand to others and help improve sales. 

The best practices include improving key customer satisfaction metrics, making use of the loyal customers’ valuable feedback, and providing them with special perks and offers to build a sustainably evolving relationship.

How to Build an Effective Customer Lifecycle Strategy

Building an effective customer lifecycle strategy requires a holistic marketing approach and a step-by-step roadmap. The basic principles can be summarized as follows: 

  • Plan each stage with the customer’s needs in mind.
  • Constantly track and optimize metrics such as cost per acquisition, ad impressions and conversions, transaction values and frequencies, engagement, NPS and CSAT values.
  • Pay special attention to customer service.
  • Invest in customer management tools for interactions.
  • Keep on doing what works.

With a customer-oriented, comprehensive, and sustainable strategy, you’ll be more likely to enjoy longer and more fruitful customer lifecycles.

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  • İnci Rodoplu believes that products of imagination make life a little more interesting and have chosen writing as a profession because words are the most effortless form of making sense of the world.