Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of customer interactions out there? If so, you’re not alone.
The ways brands interact with customers have diversified at unprecedented levels over recent years. This has made the concept of customer experience not only much more complex, but also more crucial than ever before. So much so, that 81 percent of companies view customer experience as a key competitive differentiator.
So, if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace, there’s one sure-fire way of doing it – focus on delivering a truly outstanding customer experience.
And that’s where customer experience management comes in.
Before we delve deeper, let’s look at a definition of customer experience management (CEM or CXM).
According to Gartner, “Customer experience management is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
In a nutshell, customer experience management is about being as attentive to your customers needs and wants as you can possibly be. To do that, you need to track, oversee, and organize interactions with customers throughout the customer journey.
If you think that creating the best possible customer experience should be a priority, you’re right.
Good customer experience management makes good business sense. In fact, there’s a whole host of reasons why customer experience management is important. When you do CEM well, it means you can:
There’s very little agreement on who is responsible for customer experience.
Just over one-third of respondents (34 percent) in one survey said the CEO is in charge, 12 percent said the customer service department, and another 12 percent said the marketing department. Not very conclusive.
In reality, customer experience is a multichannel, cross-departmental issue. Philosophically, customer experience is the responsibility of everyone within an organization. Practically however, that can create confusion and inertia.
Given the nature of customer experience, creating a management function that sits outside of the traditional company structure may make the most sense. For that to work, though, it must have the clout to create company-wide change. That means strong organizational support, and a close relationship with the CEO. It’s becoming more and more common to see companies creating a C-level position specifically for customer experience management, often known as the Chief Experience Officer, or CXO.
Getting customer experience management right relies on one thing more than anything else – truly understanding your customers. Only then can you create and deliver the kind of customer experience that wins you loyalty, advocates, and, ultimately, revenue.
That is easier said than done, of course. But, by following these steps, you can make sure you’re on the right track:
Some 57 percent of marketing professionals say the most effective tactic for improving customer experience is collecting customer feedback. So, anything that helps you do that better is a boon.
Your best bet is to use a customer experience management platform. CEM software allows you to measure, understand, and improve customer experience without having to manage the process from multiple tools.
A good CEM system should:
In a landscape where customer experience can make or break a company, you simply cannot afford to take customer experience management efforts lightly.
While the whole company has a responsibility to get behind the cause, creating a specific role with the right tools at their disposal to drive things forward is likely to be the most effective route. Do that, and you’ll manage to create more than just a good customer experience – you’ll create a successful business well into the future.
Benedict Clark is a psychologist and writer, having previously spent 8 years in the digital marketing industry. With a master's degree in Business and Occupational Psychology from Kingston University, he writes about the interplay between customer experience and psychology for Acquire.