Service Life Cycle Transformation in Consumer Goods Companies

Service Life Cycle
The digital era has transformed the Service Life Cycle in numerous ways, especially as customer experience becomes a key determinant of a brand's success.

In today’s digital era, consumer goods companies are witnessing a significant shift in the way they manage the service life cycle. With customer experience taking center stage, the traditional approach to service life cycle management has evolved to accommodate the rapid changes brought about by digital technologies.

Let’s explore how the service life cycle has transformed consumer goods companies and the impact of these changes on customer experience.

To understand this change, we need to revisit the past and revise the methodology of how the Service Life Cycle was conceived.

The Service Life Cycle methodology

The service life cycle is a critical component of managing consumer goods companies, as it encompasses the entire journey of a product or service from its inception to its end-of-life. By understanding and managing this life cycle, companies can better control costs, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.

The usual methodology can be divided into 5 main stages:

Development

During this stage, consumer goods companies identify market needs, generate ideas, and design products or services to meet those needs (Heskett et al., 1994).

Introduction

Companies launch new products or services and establish their market presence. This stage involves marketing efforts, building distribution networks, and providing customer support (Heskett et al., 1994).

Growth

As the product or service gains traction, companies focus on increasing market share and improving profitability. They may also refine their offerings and expand their target audience (Levitt, 1965).

Maturity

The product or service has reached its peak potential, and sales growth slows. Companies focus on maintaining market share, managing costs, and maximizing profits (Levitt, 1965).

Decline

As consumer preferences change and new competitors emerge, demand for the product or service wanes. Companies must decide whether to discontinue, reposition, or reinvent their offerings (Heskett et al., 1994).

This model has not changed much since its inception in 1965, however, it has evolved and been transformed importantly.

Service Life Cycle Vintage Coca-Cola 1950
Copyright © The Coca-Cola Company

Understanding and controlling the Service Life Cycle has always benefitted FMCG companies by providing insights into how consumers and shoppers behave.

This would heavily influence the launch of their next product or service.

 

Benefits of the Service Life Cycle

Improved decision-making

By understanding the life cycle stage of their products and services, companies can make informed decisions about resource allocation, pricing strategies, and product development.

Increased customer satisfaction

A focus on the service life cycle helps companies tailor their offerings to meet changing customer needs and preferences, enhancing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Enhanced profitability

Effective management of the service life cycle enables companies to optimize costs and revenue streams at each stage, maximizing profitability.

Greater market adaptability

Companies that actively manage their service life cycle can better anticipate and respond to market changes, maintaining their competitive edge.

This last point has been a critical factor in driving innovation and new ways of connecting with the shopper in the last decade and has forced companies to adopt a shopper-centric approach.

New considerations for the Service Life Cycle

When implementing the service life cycle in a consumer goods company, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Shopper-centric approach in the Service Life Cycle

Focus on understanding and anticipating customer needs and preferences throughout the entire life cycle. This approach allows companies to tailor their offerings, marketing strategies, and support services to better serve their customers and enhance customer loyalty.

It is important to understand that this approach implies a transformation of the entire organisation towards the shopper.

Related content: Being shopper-centric starts from the inside out

Continuous improvement

Strive for ongoing improvement in product design, production processes, and service delivery. Incorporating customer feedback and analyzing performance data can help identify areas for improvement and drive innovation (Levitt, 1965).

Sustainability

Consider the environmental and social impact of products and services throughout their life cycle. Incorporating sustainable practices, such as reducing waste, optimizing resource usage, and promoting ethical sourcing, can contribute to a more sustainable and responsible business model.

Digitalization of the Service Life Cycle

Embrace digital technologies to streamline processes, improve data analytics, and enhance communication and collaboration within the organization. Digital tools can enable companies to better manage their service life cycle and respond more rapidly to market changes.

Transformation of the Service Life Cycle

The digital era has transformed the Service Life Cycle in numerous ways, especially as customer experience becomes a key determinant of a brand’s success.

Companies need to be constantly evolving and adapting to the new way of reaching individual customers and businesses.

For IDCOM, this is the core of our methodology. Always being shopper-centric. 

  1. Rise of digital touchpoints
  2. Personalization and customization
  3. Real-time feedback and communication
  4. Increased competition
  5. Shopper-centric innovation

 

Related content: Business Transformation: Embracing Change for a Brighter Future

The digital makeover of the Service Life Cycle

As you can see, we are witnessing a significant shift in the way we manage the service life cycle.

With customer experience taking center stage, the traditional approach to service life cycle management has evolved to accommodate the rapid changes brought about by digital technologies. 

Let’s look at the drivers for this new makeover, which we briefly touched on earlier.

Embracing digital touchpoints

Remember when you could only interact with brands in physical stores? Well, those days are long gone. Now, with websites, social media, and mobile apps, you can connect with your favorite brands anytime, anywhere. This digital revolution has made it crucial for consumer goods companies to create seamless customer experiences across multiple channels.

Personalization is the new norm

No one likes being treated like just another number. Today, consumer goods companies have access to loads of data on their customers, allowing them to offer personalized experiences. By tailoring products and services to individual preferences, brands are making sure customers feel seen and valued.

Let’s talk about feedback

In the past, it took ages for companies to hear back from customers about their experiences with products and services. But now, thanks to social media and online reviews, customers can share their thoughts instantly. This real-time feedback loop keeps brands on their toes, pushing them to up their customer experience game.

Competition gets fierce

The digital era has made it easier for new players to enter the market, turning up the heat on established consumer goods companies. To stand out from the crowd, brands need to focus on providing an exceptional customer experience that sets them apart from their competitors.

Co-creating the future

Gone are the days when companies created products and services in isolation. Today, brands are increasingly involving customers in the innovation process, making them an integral part of the service life cycle. This customer-centric approach ensures that offerings are better aligned with customers’ needs and preferences.

The Impact on Customer Experience

The digital transformation of the service life cycle in consumer goods companies has had some significant effects on customer experience. After all, the main driver of the shopper-centric approach is the Customer or shopper experience.

Over and over again have we seen that today’s shopper it more complex and less loyal, so it is up to the companies to get their Brand DNA across to shoppers in a way they can connect and appreciate it.

How? Allow me to share with you the most important ways to impact the shopper.

Consistent and seamless experiences

With multiple digital touchpoints at their disposal, customers expect a smooth and consistent experience across all channels. Brands that can deliver this seamless experience will likely win customer loyalty and trust.

Meeting individual needs

Personalized experiences make customers feel like brands truly understand and care about their preferences. This sense of being valued can lead to greater satisfaction and long-term loyalty.

Swift problem resolution

The ability to share feedback in real-time pushes consumer goods companies to address issues quickly and effectively. By actively listening and responding to customer concerns, brands can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction.

The differentiating factor

In a competitive market, a top-notch customer experience can be the deciding factor that tips the scales in favor of one brand over another. By prioritizing customer experience throughout the service life cycle, consumer goods companies can set themselves apart and build a loyal customer base.

Remember, this is even harder today because of the lack of customer loyalty. When disenchanted, a customer will drop you as fast as they considered you.

Collaborative innovation

Involving customers in the development and improvement of products and services not only leads to better offerings but also fosters a sense of ownership and loyalty among customers. By placing customer experience at the heart of the service life cycle, brands can cultivate lasting relationships with their customers.

Final thoughts on Service Life Cycle makeover

There you have it!

The digital transformation has big brands on edge all the time, forcing innovation and shopper interaction. Let me provide you with some final recommendations to avoid a negative impact on the customer experience.

Embrace the omnichannel approach

Remember when we talked about how customers can connect with brands anytime, anywhere? To ensure a smooth and consistent experience across all channels, companies should integrate their marketing, sales, and customer support efforts. By having a unified strategy in place, they can make sure customers feel valued, regardless of where or how they interact with the brand.

Leverage data responsibly

It’s great that companies can use data to offer personalized experiences, but there’s a catch—privacy. Brands need to strike a balance between personalization and respecting customers’ privacy. So, while it’s crucial to use data to tailor products and services, it’s equally important to be transparent about how it’s collected and used.

Listen, respond, and improve

Real-time feedback is a game-changer, but it’s only helpful if brands actually use it. Consumer goods companies should actively listen to what customers are saying, respond to their concerns, and make improvements based on the feedback. This will not only help address problems swiftly, but will also show customers that their opinions truly matter.

Stand out with exceptional service

With competition getting fiercer, it’s crucial for brands to step up their customer experience game. By investing in employee training, adopting innovative solutions, and constantly refining their offerings, companies can provide a level of service that sets them apart from the rest.

Co-create with your customers

As we’ve seen, involving customers in the innovation process can lead to better products and services. But how do you do that effectively? By fostering a sense of community and using tools like online forums, surveys, and focus groups, brands can give customers a voice and make them feel like they’re part of the journey.

By focusing on these strategies and placing customer experience at the heart of the service life cycle, consumer goods companies can create exceptional experiences that win over customers and build lasting relationships. 

Until next time…

 

References:

  1. Heskett, J. L., Sasser, W. E., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1994). Putting the service-profit chain to work. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 164-174.

  2. Levitt, T. (1965). Exploit the product life cycle. Harvard Business Review, 43(6), 81-94.

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