Why the Customer Experience Lifecycle is Not an Infinite Loop

CX is a wild ride, that’s for dang sure

I’ve been listening to fellow entrepreneurs as well as a few friends who have been thinking about starting a new business and when they ask for my expertise in starting a business or making it better, I first tell them that a good start is to get a firm understanding of their Customer Experience (CX).

For whatever reason, if one Google’s the Customer Experience Lifecycle, the result is an array of infinity loops or just a general never-ending single circle. But business women and men know very well that the true CX Lifecycle has a possibility of a finite end — this is the point in a customer’s journey with a company’s offering (a product or service) in which they abandon its use.

As such, I propose the diagram above that shows the CX Lifecycle through a new lens that illustrates the points at which a customer may abandon a company’s offering.

The Unused and Forgotten

If a customer is completely satisfied with a company’s offering, it doesn’t mean that they will continue use. Ever bought that really cool emulator device that was so high-tech in the early 2000’s for it to just sit in a drawer forever? Or maybe you bought some cool tools for a little project you were working on that ended up in a box because you wanted to keep it “just in case” yet never seem to find the opportunity to use it?

Those types of purchases and items never did us any harm and we actually enjoyed using them and they worked fine for us. But unfortunately, sometimes they just get cast aside and we abandon them for no other reason than they are no longer useful or they’ve been unused so long that they sit in storage for years.

It’s at this point in the CX Lifecycle above that a customer has happily used the product and happily cast it away to the dusty drawers and boxes, never to buy additional accessories for it and possibly never to return as a customer again. It’s one and done.

The @#*$#*!

These are the poor quality offerings that never have its abruptly disheveled owner care to call customer support or troubleshoot fixing the problem.

If you think about a smartphone power cord that you ordered and it was DOA (dead on arrival), it may have blazed straight to the trashcan, all whilst swearing never to buy from that @#*$#*! company again. Short fuse? Perhaps, but this happens quite commonly, especially as the general population gets more and more used to having things NOW and having things work right away.

This doesn’t mean that the overall quality of an offering has to be poor to fit in this category; it could just be that the customer got the one bad egg, the lemon, the @#*$#*! on their first experience and they said,” never again.”

The Missed Save

Companies have more control over this in particular and, for me at least, it’s still the worst experience of any. This is where you have a bad experience that dissatisfies you and graciously give the company a chance to make amends and to fix the problem. It should be considered as the last chance that a company has to save a company’s offering from the black hole of abandonment. I say that because, if your company handles troubleshooting and customer service really well and goes above and beyond to help a customer that has an issue with the offering, then you know that you have done your best to make things right with the customer. Thus, you have a chance to save your offering from abandonment.

Where this usually goes wrong is when a customer receives lackluster customer service, the help website is non-existent or fails to offer an the right fix, or perhaps the customer worked through troubleshooting with a customer service representative and received terrible service from them. I am still surprised how many companies royally fail during a possible save, which is most. When a customer is dissatisfied because their purchase is not performing as expected, all it takes is one bad experience to abandon use completely.

Please think about the dissatisfaction side of CX Lifecycle. The true CX Lifecycle is not always sunshine and rainbows and your business will fare better by being proactive in ensuring that your customer doesn’t forget how awesome your offering is and continues to use it, doesn’t get a poor quality representation of your offering and does get all the effort possible in saving their relationship with your company. Don’t abandon your customer and they won’t abandon you.

And by the way, yes, my diagram does look like a silly pair of glasses. But you won’t forget it and I will be happy to know that you will remember to consider this important piece of the CX Lifecycle so that you and your business can be more successful.

If you are interested in learning more about how to approach these Customer Experience Killers and going through a program to identify, understand and take action on what may be killing your Customer Experience, you can get a free copy of an early draft module from my new system by contributing to the topic here.

Syndi Espinoza is a customer experience advocate, consultant & sales professional who helps others successfully transform their businesses.