The 6 Phases of a Product Life Cycle: Untapped Opportunities to Enhance Consumer Experience

servify-hexagon-explained

Buying a product today is essentially investing into an experience. When we, at Servify, think of Consumer Experience, we envision all the touchpoints - or the critical moments when end-users interact with the brand on their way to purchase and beyond. As a McKinsey study rightly puts, scoring an ‘okay’ from your consumers isn’t good enough. Moving their experiences from ‘average’ to ‘wow’ helped companies boost consumer loyalty by a factor of 1.5x at a minimum.

With a greater emphasis on a Product’s entire lifecycle, brands reap the benefits from continued consumer engagement, leading to consumer loyalty. Especially when most consumers are digital natives who are used to on-demand services like ordering food, cabs and streaming media. Also in today’s hyper competitive market where product features and price point are no longer the differentiator, ensuring brand loyalty by excelling at each consumer interaction, becomes vital.

Servify believes that there are 6 key stages in the life cycle of a product, each with its own set of unique challenges. While giving a memorable experience in each phase will turn end-users into evangelists, each phase individually requires its own optimum solution.

1. On-boarding

Right from the moment a user buys a product, begins an experience cycle. The entire process that users go through when they start their journey as a consumer of your product or service, is referred to as on-boarding. A typical on-boarding journey might consist of several touchpoints - a visit to the retailer or logging on to the brand’s website for the warranty activation of the appliance, or multiple phone calls to the brand’s call center to arrange a visit from a technician to install a product.

The current process of on-boarding a consumer is not only time consuming but also has several break points. The consumer experience also remains a frustrating one, which involves multiple engagements across channels as opposed to a seamless journey and delayed fulfilment as opposed to easy and instant fulfilment.

A great on-boarding experience increases product adoption leading to significant brand stickiness. We believe that seamless on-boarding process starts from the point of purchase which enables smart warranty activation and seamless process offering consumers a choice to select preferred time and date for the installation.

2. Usage & Assistance

With the speed at which technology is evolving, expecting consumers to adapt to new technology and form factors is unsound. Consumers face issues with their products when they do not know how to use it or do not know DIY fixes which can significantly increase product downtime.

This not only reduces product adoption but also leads to increased load on the brands’ call centers or visits to the service centers. Proactively showing end-users how a product works with the help of interactive guides will reduce reliance on calling for help thereby boosting confidence on the product. Moreover, more than 80% consumers prefer self-help solutions over calling a toll-free support number.

Smart Diagnostics is one such self-help solution, which can quickly scan the health of any product and suggest remedial steps in an easy to follow manner. These tools can proactively look for any signs of trouble and alert consumers well before any failure event.

It’s essential to implement new-age ideas when users are accustomed to using smart devices and voice-based assistants. We’ve helped brands realise how to fully maximise the potential of digital transformations by leveraging technology that not only minimises interactions with support channels but also engages users to proactively discover additional ownership benefits for their products.

3. Break/Fix Service: Seamless Support

Consumers naturally expect the product or service to work right, right from day one. On those occasions when it isn’t, they expect easy access to a support team and a rapid resolution. When this expectation isn’t met, consumers will often take to social media to share their experience with others. Although brands fear negative online reviews, social media also provides happy consumers the opportunity to become advocates and to share their positive experiences of a brand.

Currently there are multiple vendors involved in this process including call center, service partners, social media escalation teams, logistics partners, payment gateways etc. All these work different priorities leading to an opaque and fragmented experience for the end-user.

However, a great experience delivered in this stage can boost loyalty and possibility of repeat purchase. Trust earned during these events will boost repeat purchase significantly. The probability of selling to an existing consumer is much higher than to a new one. Selling to an existing consumer reduces cost of acquisition significantly thereby increasing profitability.

Servify’s tech platform has unified the various ecosystem partners to ensure a seamless experience in getting quick support as per their convenience. Not just that, we also enable a single page overview of their request, so that they are aware of the status as well as steps taken during each stage. The same view is also reflected on our service partner’s dashboards, which gives them a holistic view of each request and eventually boosts each consumer’s experience.

4. End of Life (EOL): Trade-in & eRecycle

As the product reaches the end of its useful life, consumers can opt to trade-in their product or give it for safe recycling. Today, both of these are largely operated by unorganised channels. eRecycling a product through unauthorised channels can lead to unsafe recycling which usually does more harm than good to nature. Also, typically trade-in prices are configured for lowest device quality, which penalises consumers whose devices are in good condition. The EOL stage provides multiple opportunities for brands. A consumer with an end of life product is a natural candidate for repeat purchase.

Servify’s trade-in offerings helps assess fair buy-back price based on objective assessment of the condition of the device. Moreover, consumers can use the buy-back price to upgrade to the latest product from the brand. Trade-In & Buyback Programs provide our partners with a persuasive dialogue to get their consumers to make the leap to the next version, update or transition to your brand. While trade-in and upgrade programs aren’t new, the way we have innovated in this space and brought efficiency to the process, certainly is.

Imagine having to only answer a few questions and run a simple test to evaluate a pre-used product’s price. Or holding a phone to a mirror to verify that the display is in good condition. These are some of the actual solutions we have deployed for businesses that want to offer the best experience to consumers, while consumers get the best value for their existing products.

5. Discovery: Recommending New Products

We owe the term ‘soap-opera’ to large FMCG brands. Because of their decision to sponsor radio and then TV programs to reach the audiences most likely to buy their products. And with the number of product advertisements a consumer is bombarded with on every medium, making a purchase is a conundrum.

An end-user may have a plethora of questions running through his mind while contemplating available options but there are some questions that take priority over others. Like,

- Will a new product be compatible with my existing ones?
- Does the new product need separate installation; or will the same setup work?
- How can it be configured to the existing settings?
- Can it easily restore backed-up data?


Suggesting compatible new products which work perfectly with an existing set is the ideal consumer experience. While such recommendations might not seem that difficult for now, moving to an interconnected IoT world, the challenge could be compounded manifold. Leveraging the knowledge of pre-existing set of products to suggest new ones is the perfect scenario, which only an intelligent platform can make.

6. Purchase: Offering Best Value

After a consumer has considered, deliberated and finally made the decision to buy a new product, there are other equally important enhancements that will build consumer loyalty. Starting with getting the best value of the current product while upgrading to a new one. At Servify, we have brand authorised programs for Assured Buyback that provide the best value of pre-owned devices to consumers.

An elevated consumer experience can begin right from the time a great recommendation was made to buy a certain product from a certain place, offering certain advantages. But such suggestions can only be arrived at when a platform has deep integrations with the ecosystem, works with major global brands and understands the needs of consumers to empower their ownership experience.

The Hexagon

These 6 phases in a consumer’s lifecycle are universal in nature, irrespective of the product in question. And since Servify wants to deliver the best post-sales experience, we have adopted our logo to represent the hexagon: an embodiment of the 6 stages of every product’s journey.

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