Organisations worldwide are facing unprecedented disruption as they manage the emerging impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses. With rapidly altering client needs and priorities, maintaining client relationships through effective Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) is critical in maintaining customer confidence, trust and loyalty. Our blog  from February, outlined key factors Corporate and Investment Banks (CIBs) should consider in applying customer lifetime value (CLV) to their clients. This month, we look at examples from industries at the forefront of using CLV to see what could be applied to CIBs.*
After returning to Apple** in 1997, Steve Jobs held a Q&A session at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California to unveil his plans for the company. When challenged by a member of the audience on his strategy and views on technology, he explained: “…you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards with the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try figure out where you are going to try to sell it.”  From annual losses of approximately $1 billion and a stock price valuation of $0.78 per share, Apple’s journey from a polarized, loss-making organisation in the mid-1990s to one of the most successful brands to date, is driven by the organisation’s focus on customer centricity .
HOW WAS IT DONE?
The turnaround started with a review of Apple’s product lines and inventories, where jobs cut 70% of their product production, with the intention to sharpen its focus and efforts on developing profitable product lines. Within just over a year, Apple was turning $309 million profit for the full financial year, and the company “was back from edge of grave” . Apple’s rebound success demonstrates competitive benefits to its CLV approach by having effective product alignment and customer engagement through customer-centric product design.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
For CIBs, by refocusing product line offerings, market coverage, geographic footprint and client-servicing approach, they can optimise their products and services to strategically target profitable clients.
IS IT JUST ABOUT PRODUCT?
Effective product alignment with customer engagement cannot be achieved without understanding customers’ journey and the customers’ interaction with the organisation. This can be illustrated by Disney’s longstanding vision of ‘bringing magic’ to every customer when interacting with their brand. At Disney Parks & Resorts, all ‘cast members’ undergo intensive training on its four key values as part of the company’s philosophy on creating magical and personalised customer experiences . Every inch of Disney’s parks is carefully planned and executed to provide a seamless magical customer experience - testament to the lifelong customer loyalty it receives in return. On average, Disney parks have a 70% return rate from its first-time visitors . Despite the recent closure of its parks and cruises following COVID-19 global travel and lockdown restrictions, consumer affinity to the brand has remained strong through its media and streaming services. Since its launch in November 2019, Disney Plus has gained over 50 million paid subscribers globally, almost reaching its original minimum target of 60 million subscribers by 2024 , demonstrating continued brand loyalty.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THE GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT PLAYER?
The key learning for CIBs is to understand the end-to-end customer journey and identify where seamless personalised customer experiences can be delivered. This can be done through utilising digital technology and automation that have the ability to speedily adapt to new product offerings during periods of uncertainty, particularly in a continued competitive and saturated market environment .
ARE UNIQUE CLIENT EXPERIENCES COSTLY?
Finally, market competition pressures and commoditisation, can present opportunities for CIBs to explore cross-sector partnership opportunities. Increased costs and competition led two pharma rivals GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to combine their consumer healthcare businesses to one 'joint venture’ in 2019. It is anticipated the integration of two businesses is to bring annual cost savings of £0.5 billion and plans are underway to spin off the new business and float it on the stock exchange within three years . In an effort to reduce costs, CIBs should consider adopting similar partnerships with rivals, for example, by developing a shared services model and participating in industry utilities, where firms can collectively pool resources for back-office processes, in order to channel focus on activities that create most value for clients.
These examples from non-financial services firms demonstrate that understanding how clients interact with a brand, what clients need, and identifying opportunities to deliver increased value to the client underpin the effective application of CLV. Apple’s continued technology market domination is driven by being one step ahead of ‘knowing what its customer wants’ and developing products and services customers want to buy from Apple, compared to its competitors. Conversely, Disney’s ethos on ‘bringing magic' to every step of their customers’ journey, fosters an emotional connection with its customers, and in turn brings a cross-generational customer loyalty. Furthermore, our research  suggests that a customer-centric culture increases innovation and drives competitively advantageous financial results.
Worldwide economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold across every sector, with increasing speculation of a global recession , it is essential that CIBs remain committed to adapting how they operate to best serve clients. Announced earlier in April, BNP Paribas jointly launched two €1 billion COVID-19 bonds with the Nordic Investment Bank and European Investment Bank, to provide funds to help European nations manage the economic impacts of the pandemic . A similar bond initiative was launched by Bank of America earlier in May, with its focus to support the financing of the health industry in response to the pandemic .
Current events demonstrate increasing pressure for firms to prioritise stakeholders over shareholders, by increasing focus and adoption of sustainable investing and wider ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles. Latest data illustrates despite market uncertainty, investments in sustainable funds have more than doubled in comparison to the previous year – this remains a key reminder for investment banking (IB) firms, their shareholders and clients on the importance of ESG issues, and the role IB firms play in socially responsible investing . In a changing economic landscape, it is critical for CIBs to adopt innovative solutions to help clients navigate through financially uncertain times in order to stay relevant. Our next and final blog post in the CLV series, we will share our insights on how CIBs can unlock more lifetime value from their client relationships.
------------------- Following this article, there will be a series of publications that will address various topics in relation to client lifecycle management of corporate and investment banks with a focus on customer lifecycle value in capital markets.
*This blog is an independent publication and has not been authorised, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.
**Apple is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
 Deloitte, ‘Reimagining the true value of your client relationships: key factors to consider’, February 2020, https://blogs.deloitte.co.uk/financialservices/2020/02/reimagining-the-true-value-of-your-client-relationships-key-factors-to-consider.html
 GlaxoSmithKline, ‘GSK completes transaction with Pfizer to form a new world-leading Consumer Healthcare’, August 2019, https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/gsk-completes-transaction-with-pfizer-to-form-new-world-leading-consumer-healthcare-joint-venture/
 The Economist, ‘Covid-19 causes Britain’s fastest economic contraction on record’, April 2020, https://www.economist.com/britain/2020/04/11/covid-19-causes-britains-fastest-economic-contraction-on-record
 BNP Paribas, ‘Development Banks Launch Financial Response to COVID-19 Pandemic’, April 2020, https://cib.bnpparibas.com/sustain/development-banks-launch-financial-response-to-covid-19-pandemic_a-3-3473.html
Organisations worldwide are facing unprecedented disruption and continue to battle with the emerging impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic to their businesses. With rapidly altering client needs and priorities, maintaining client relationships through effective Client Lifecycle Management (“CLM”) is critical in maintaining customer confidence, trust and loyalty.