To Whom It May Concern

What is the ROUNDMAP™ for? It is a question I get asked a lot. So let me inspire you with a few ideas on when and why you’ll need an integrated mapping system, and how to use it to your advantage.

A simplified customer lifecycle implies targeting the right customers, with the right message and the right solution, at the right time, at the right place, at the right price, and with the right service. Repeat.

This sounds pretty straightforward, but unfortunately, reality is a bit more complex:

  • You are not alone in this world – competition is never far off.
  • Your story may not be very inspiring.
  • Your promise may be questionable.
  • Your value proposition may not be very appealing.
  • Customers may not have heard of you and therefore don’t trust you.
  • Your reputation may be ambiguous.
  • You may not have provided information to help customers make informed decisions.
  • Your service agents may not be known for their helpfulness.
  • Customers may get annoyed by your retargeting efforts.
  • Customer feedback may be ignored.

While these are just a few of the aspects worth paying attention to, the biggest question is: WHO is going to pay attention to it and WHEN?

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair

The customer lifecycle is a series of separate processes, divided over multiple teams and departments, which often not communicate effectively, or not at all.

When revenue, profit, market share of some KPI starts to decline, leadership will demand an answer. But who is responsible for the downfall? Is it marketing? Is it sales? Or customer service? And what if each of these departments is convinced they are not to blame? Or worse, blame each other?

Many decades ago, the people involved in the production process came up with a solution to a similar problem: how can we prevent products being shipped to customers that don’t fit their specs? The answer was: quality control. In its earliest and simplest form it was just a go/no go procedure: if the part produced didn’t meet the sketch, the part would not leave the factory. Since then, all kind of approaches were introduced, from Total Quality Control (1956) to Lean Six Sigma (2001).

What we suggest – with regards to who is to blame for declining customer performance – is the introduction of Customer Success as a ‘quality control’ function of an integrated customer lifecycle approach. However, the customer development process currently passes through three departments: marketing, sales and customer service. Sending out a NPS (Net Promotor Score) questionair, after the customer has been served, is what quality control was in production, some hundred years ago.

That is why we have proposed Customer Success as the fourth department. It has already been incorporated successfully by SaaS (software-as-a-service) suppliers, but we believe the approach could and should be introduced everywhere, be it with a slight twist.

SaaS suppliers, like Salesforce, observed that many customers terminated their contract three months following the date of purchase. As it turned out, sales people received their full bonus, provided the customer was being retained for 3 months. By pro-actively onboarding customers Salesforce managed to decrease the churn rate dramatically. Today, Salesforce has some 3.000 customer success agents, responsible for onboarding and satifying customers for as long as possible.

While Customer Success is known for reducing churn for SaaS suppliers, there still is an unresolved issue with regards to who owns the customer and who get incentivized for upselling. The solution, in our view, is the integrated customer lifecycle approach, which in effect incentivizes the combined customer-facing value chain. That doesn’t mean everyone has to be incentivized equally, but at least equitably.

What is the ROUNDMAP for?

Well, as an integrated mapping system of the customer lifecycle, crossing multiple teams and departments, it intends to offer a unified perspective on the overall customer creation and retention process: from a business point-of-view as well as a customer-point-of-view.

We can not observe what we pay no attention to. Attention is everything, preferably supported by data. So, while the ROUNDMAP is a cross-silo and cross-structure mapping system of the customer dynamics, it also offers means to measure what needs to be measured, to manage what needs to be managed. ROUNDMAP, therefore, provides you with a holistic view of the whole process, from strategy to execution and from touchpoint to touchpoint, as well as a detailed eye on each step in the process, allowing your business to act timely, decisively and effectively. Well before the shit hits the fan.

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