Almost every customer experience (CX) professional understands the three main stages of the customer lifecycle: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. But in many instances, customer experience is relegated to a post-purchase service and support activity.
Instead of viewing this vital point in the customer lifecycle more holistically, many organizations think about it perfunctorily: How do I support people that use our products? If they have a problem, how can I most efficiently and effectively help them fix their issue? Can I migrate them to a self-service model? How can I help them optimize their use of products while minimizing human interaction?
Missing in this equation is focus on benefits to both the customer and the organization when a relationship evolves over time. Better questions to ask include: How am I engaging my current customers so they develop deeper affinity? How can we develop a symbiotic relationship that results in better products and services? What is the best way to better serve their needs?
One powerful asset in customer engagement is content, particularly thought leadership. Many organizations create their thought leadership as part of demand gen programs. In some instances, it also gets shared with current customers as part of a formal CX content program. In these cases content serves as a stand-in for human interaction. Yet, most CX organizations do not think in terms of a content calendar that spans the entire customer journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase and in many cases have little visibility into all available content.
For example, thought leadership created as part of a demand gen program is an integral part of driving awareness and becomes an asset for the website. If no one is charged with sharing the asset with the customer experience team, an opportunity goes unrealized. Ideally, someone would send new content assets with a message: “We have this fabulous piece of thought leadership that would appeal to customers that look like ABC.”
Conversely, collaboration back to marketing or sales from CX would deepen content strategy. This time the message would be: “We’ve noticed that customers are reluctant to convert to a later version of our product because of these three factors. If we create content or a sales play specific to this situation, we would close more deals and drive deeper loyalty with customers that share attributes XYZ.” Organizations would thus create a virtuous circle that enables conversations, provides inputs into product development, and contributes to a meaningful thought leadership roadmap.
For thought leadership to be effective, it needs to be a cultural imperative inside the organization. A recent eBook from ComBlu, “Thought Leadership Is More Than Content“, lays out the phases of thought leadership maturity, offering readiness factors for each phase and tips for progressing from one stage to the next.
Content serves as an organization’s proxy at all points of the customer lifecycle. As such, the content experience needs to be stellar and progressively personalized, no matter the stage. In this way, it pulls its weight as part of the customer experience relationship-building rubric.
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