CQL’s Client Lifecycle consists of three (3) stages for a client: stabilization, optimization, and innovation. Our goal is to provide a flexible and predictable support model focused around the goal of your lifecycle stage.
So how do you know where you are in the client lifecycle? We typically will ask you a few questions:
Are you trying to just keep the site from having outages and supporting traffic and orders? Are things breaking regularly? If so, you’re in the stabilization stage.
Are you enhancing your existing structure with new UX, design, marketing initiatives and content? Are you looking for the quick wins? If yes, you’re likely in the optimization stage.
Are you spending time adding new software vendors, tackling a new returns process, or implementing new features and functionality? If so, you’re likely in the innovation stage.
While there are definite cross-overs among stages, especially between optimization and innovation, client lifecycle stages help build an integrated approach and roadmap for success with our clients. Although we are all working toward the long-term vision with each client, during each stage, our mindset is centered on that particular stage, allowing both teams to stay focused on the current goals and prioritize projects/tasks in accordance with that stage’s goal.
The 3 Client Life-Cycle Stages
During stabilization, we take the time to step back and make sure things are working as they should. The goal is to get your site stable, so you can run marketing initiatives, deploy new products and promotions, and update code in an environment where you are not afraid of things breaking.
This stage typically includes a lot of blocking and tackling to get your website is working as it should. First, we focus on a deep dive into analytics, checking to validate if your analytics data is correct. Basing optimizations and site changes on bad data is a recipe for disaster. Second, once analytics are fixed or reviewed, an analytics audit helps determine where/how we can make the site more stable.
Based on an analytics review, our recommendation could be to make improvements on an existing platform, to migrate to a new theme on an existing platform for a cleaner code base, or a new platform migration. We work together to determine the best long-term solution, realizing that resources, money, and time all play a key role in your stabilization.
By the end of this stage, your technical debt should be cleaned up, your integrations should be working seamlessly, and you should be free of “buggy” code. You will now have a solid foundation to grow your online business.
During optimization, clients will take what exists on the website and make improvements. With a solid foundation build, you can begin making incremental enhancements to your site, including optimizations to creative design, user experience, search engine optimization, search and merchandising results, and cart/checkout changes.
This is frequently the stage where most brands adopt a conversion rate optimization program, to begin testing ideas to drive incremental growth. At this stage, we use test results, analytics and heat mapping to guide our recommendations to clients and prioritize enhancements. In conjunction, we also recommend audits are done at this time:
an SEO audit to get a good baseline and make recommendations for improvement (keywords, technical enhancements, backlinks, and more),
an analytics audit to determine if new tags or tracking are needed to better understand user journeys, and
UX audits to compare your site against industry best practices.
By this final stage, your site has a stable foundation, all backend and third-party integrations are working, and you’ve accomplished the quick wins from optimizing your current site.
During innovation, you are now adding in features and functionality you couldn’t add in before. These could be initiatives like a new returns program, a new loyalty program, virtual fitting rooms, or other pie-in-the-sky ideas you have coming. At this stage, we are working on your long-term vision and implementing new solutions that drive business growth.
At CQL, we help clients in all stages of their lifecycle – from getting websites working seamlessly again, to finding the quick wins, to driving new growth from strategic initiatives. We are ready to help you get to Stage 3; are you ready?