When ROUNDMAP’s creator, Edwin Korver, set out to rethink the customer development process, given the sudden rise of social media and digitalization from 2008 onwards, he had no idea where it would lead him or even what it was for. He only knew from experience that the linear funnel analogies, used by marketers and salespeople to describe the customer acquisition process, were dreadfully missing the point.
To better understand his creative journey, we suggest reading the Making of ROUNDMAP.
The Customer Lifecycle Map (PDF) is located at the ground level of the ROUNDMAP™ Framework. We call it the Ultimate Level of Truth™ because whatever a company aims to achieve, it can only thrive when it succeeds at the customer interaction level. It incorporates all frontline activities. All other business activities are, as confirmed by Michael Porter, secondary to and supportive of the frontline activities.
At first sight, the Customer Lifecycle Map (CLM) may be overwhelming. But once you are past the initial sensation, most likely with the help of a ROUNDMAP™ Practitioner, you’ll be bound to appreciate the incredible richness of the mapping system.
What is it for?
There is no simple answer. Some may want to increase customer lifetime value (CLV), others may want to know why customer satisfaction is below average, while some want to understand why customers flinch from the moment of purchase. Or you may want to reveal hidden gaps and constraints in the process or uncover new growth opportunities. There are a million reasons to use the Blueprint.
But please be aware that while ROUNDMAP™ has brought down the entire customer development process from something that is complex into something complicated, the process is still packed with emotional triggers. You’ll still need people to understand buyer motivation, while data will help you to understand the implications of the underlying emotions and motivations.
Who is it for?
While the CLM incorporates all primary activities, as described in Michael Porter’s Value Chain theory, it is not exclusively designed for frontline employees. Success depends on careful orchestration of the entire value chain, from the front(line) to the back(office), and even beyond the boundaries of the organization, the so-called value network. So, roleplay should also incorporate (some of) those that are directly or indirectly involved in the customer development process.
The CLM can be deployed in any given situation, for-profit or not-for-profit, that requires ongoing communication as well as listening to engage internal and external stakeholders, such as customers, patients, fans, citizens, visitors, or partners. In a sense, the map could also be named a Stakeholder Lifecycle Map.
What does it mean?
It is called a Customer Lifecycle Map because the primary purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. Without it, a business can’t fulfill its secondary purpose, which is to capture an equitable share of value for its stakeholders.
It refers to a Lifecycle because every team member, regardless of their position or function, has an equal obligation to serve the customer to the best of their ability, throughout the relationship with the customer.
And it is called a Map because it’s a step-by-step mapping of all the aspects related to the two-sided frontline-customer interaction.
How to use it?
As shown on top of our homepage as well as below, the Customer Lifecycle Map is placed preferably on a round table, with people directly or indirectly involved in the customer process, standing or sitting around it. What you get out of it, depends on what you set out to achieve. But understand this: the answers to most of your questions are probably already known by one or more staff members; all you need to do is to create the right circumstances, think of psychological safety, and raise the right questions while giving staff members an equal voice.
The CLM may involve roleplay. For instance:
- Ask customers to sit at a roundtable, for instance, every quarter, and get ask them about their experiences, expectations, and challenges.
- Or prepare an agenda with a series of issues you want frontline employees to address as a group.
- Or get people from different silos together to share stories to improve cross-functional communication and collaboration.
- Or switch roles and functions to raise a mutual understanding and practice empathy.
- Or get people to discuss and solve a particular problem or issue.
- Or discuss opportunities to attract better customers.
- Or prepare your staff for an upcoming marketing campaign.
- Or involve employees in a change initiative.
It’s up to you. The Customer Lifecycle Map will act as a catalyst. In any case, you should encourage people to speak freely and openly, without repercussions, to get the best results. To create a safe environment for people to speak out, you may need to honor a set of simple but critical Roundtable rules.
If you would like to get started with the Customer Lifecycle Map, we suggest contacting us, so we can connect you to a nearby licensed Practitioner.