Customer experiences begin the moment a consumer finds your business – through a search engine, from a voice-activated device, word of mouth, or social media. It also extends post-sale, when you have the opportunity to turn a one-time customer into a loyal advocate for your business. To build an effective, cross-channel local experience starts with customer experience management (CEM or CXM).
What is customer experience management?
Customer experience management is the combination of all your organizational processes that are aimed at monitoring and improving your customer experiences at each touchpoint, across all channels.
Good CXM is a differentiator for your business, as customers demand more and more from your products and services. Because of its key role in putting your business top of mind for your customers, it’s crucial to get it right! When CXM is done well it helps both keep customers and generate positive word of mouth that brings in new customers – every organization’s dream.
In short, a happy customer is a loyal customer, who introduces your products and services to others. So how can you make sure you’re making the most of every opportunity to create a good customer experience?
Good customer experience starts even before your customer has paid for a thing. Your branding is the first impression anyone has of you. From there, think about how a customer feels at every stage of the customer journey. Is your website easy to navigate? Can a customer easily find the information he or she is looking for?
How is the buying experience? Is it smooth to complete? Do you answer any follow-up questions or comments the customer makes?
How is the after-sale period? Do you follow up to ask for feedback on how you could improve the customer experience?
Considering how customer experience feels at each stage of the customer journey will help you solidify your customer experience management and get the most of your efforts to deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
CRM VS CXM
So, if CXM is customer experience management, then what is CRM? CRM stands for customer relationship management.
This most often means the technology used by an organization to manage its prospect and customer data from first contact to transaction to post-sale interactions, and any other relevant touches with the customer. CRM systems are often sales-driven and are intended to help sales teams and managers track sales activities, results, and reporting across the entire business.
Think of a CRM as an old-fashioned Rolodex, on steroids. It usually includes contacts, relationship information, stages that sales opportunities are currently at, and potential future opportunities. CRM systems also offer forecasting capabilities and predictive insight that scores prospects and customers on how likely they are to buy. This all helps the sales team manage their efforts, workload, and helps the business identify where it should focus to maximize its return on activities and strategic goals.
If a CRM is a technology focused model, then CXM is much broader. For example, Forrester Research says there are six disciplines for great customer experience.
When it comes to boots on the ground, we think a complete CX program needs five essential components:
These five components create what we call the CX loop. You can see that CXM covers far more that’s specific to the customer. CRM which includes aspects of the sales cycle and finance department activities.
What are the benefits of customer experience management?
As we know, customer behaviors are not random, but are anchored in strong relationships. And, they’re bolstered by engaging experiences with your organization.
Every experience offers the chance to make an impression on your customer that will influence their behavior, and ultimately your business.
That means that a successful customer experience management program offers multiple benefits, including:
- Holistic understanding that helps you see how you customers behave across all touchpoints and all channels, across the entire customer journey.
- Increased share of wallet. This includes always-on monitoring customers’ feedback to understand their pain points and focus on improvements that matter to them. You’ll also find new cross- and up-sell opportunities.
- Reduced customer churn by identifying and acting to save at-risk customers. Remember, a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than 25% increase in company profit, and sometimes up to dizzying heights of nearly 95% increase. Now that’s the kind of ROI we like!
- Improved customer acquisition through deeper loyalty and recognition across customers and prospects.
- Boost Voice of Customer metrics like NPS and correlate this improvement to revenue.
- Make better business decisions based on accurate customer feedback delivered to the relevant people in your organization.
What are the challenges of Customer Experience Management?
CX Management is a journey peppered with obstacles, including some fundamental hurdles which can derail a whole program.
Executive buy-in is one of those, as it takes time, resources and focus to reach CX success, and without a place in the boardroom, CX is destined for failure. Recently, we’ve seen growing acknowledgement by the C-suite and other leaders of the importance of successful customer experience management.
Achieving a holistic view of the customer also poses three challenges that need to be addressed:
- Finding the right Customer Experience Management software or CX platform that can:
- Capture the Voice of the Customer across all touchpoints and channels.
- Deliver role-based insights in the right format at the right time.
- Empower people across the organization to improve customer experience.
- Leverage information from external data sources (e.g., CRM) to enrich and give context to CX data.
- Breaking down silos within the organization. So often customer experience is managed separately by various departments, regions, etc. This leads to disjointed efforts, often fuelled by a lack of executive engagement and an overarching customer experience strategy. Customer experience solutions – fueled by the right technology and services like Forsta – are an essential tool in achieving a holistic view of the customer.
- Another key challenge which often stalls CX programs from taking off or reaching the next level will sound familiar to many CX professionals – the difficulty in linking customer experience to business KPIs. Even if you’re in the position of running a CX program based on CX metrics like NPS or Customer Effort, eventually the business will want to know exactly how your program helps achieve its key objectives: revenues, costs… And there are many models that can help build this financial linkage.
The bottom line
We know that good customer experience management is key to your business success.
A successful customer experience management program sets your organization on the path to better customer knowledge to help drive your business decisions and results.
Doing it isn’t easy – but when you get it right, you stand head and shoulders above your competition.
This post was originally published on Forsta.