5 Key Areas of Customer Experience Management
From the single moment a customer makes contact with a brand, their experience begins. First impressions, ongoing communications, and post purchase support all shape a customer’s experience and subsequently, perception of a brand. When customers have awesome experiences, they make repeat purchases and often refer others. Yet when customers have negative experiences, they’ll find another provider in a heartbeat. This is why customer experience management is so crucial — the brand with the best experience wins.
So what does strong customer experience management look like? What are the key areas? And how do we break down the customer experience management process?
You’re about to find out.
What is Customer Experience Management?
Let’s get back to basics for a moment. What exactly is customer experience management?
Customer experience (CX) management is a strategy that tracks, analyzes, controls, and (hopefully) improves interactions with your customers at every touch point. Examples of touchpoints where a customer interacts with your brand are your point of sale, bill payments, and customer support agents.
CEM analyzes the overall customer experience by collecting nitty gritty behavioral data and direct feedback. The data represents the perceptions that customers have across all interactions with an organization.
In other words, CEM is the labor that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that customers feel fabulous when they're engaging with your brand (and talking about you to their friends and family).
If you’d like to learn more, check out our guide to Customer Experience Management.
Why is Customer Experience Management Important?
Customer experience management is, without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of a successful experience brand. It is the heart and soul of loyalty, repeat business and referrals. Here are just some of the benefits of CEM:
- Strengthen Brand Preference: Customers have more options than ever, and they know it. When you focus on customer experience management, and exceed customer expectations, you become the preference over competitors.
- Boost Revenue: An awesome customer experience means your customers will spend more. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
- Reduce Costs: Focussing on CEM is a more efficient way to grow. The cost of acquiring a customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining one.
- Personalize Engagement: When you understand exactly what your customers want, you can tailor your experience to meet their needs.
- Improve Customer Loyalty: Customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product. Instead, they stay loyal with companies due to the experience they receive.
How do you Manage the Customer Experience?
End-to-end customer experience management is built upon a holistic approach to customer experience optimization. Strong CEM will optimize the customer experience with the company as an entity, foster customer conversion and retention and improve brand image. To do this, customer interactions must be overseen at every touchpoint and experiential data must be gathered to guide necessary changes in the customer experience.
Let’s break things down into five key areas.
The Key Areas of Customer Experience Management:
- Identifying customer needs
- Qualifying customer experience touchpoints
- Data collection and analysis
- Building a customer-centric brand culture
- Refine and repeat
Identifying customer needs and expectations
Put simply, a great customer experience is one that matches the customer’s expectations. Step one of customer experience management is to identify what that need is, and dissect it. Is it an emotional or physical need? What are your customer’s pain points? What’s most important to them? The more you know about your customers' needs, the better your brand experience will be. For example, some customers might be driven by performance, others by empathy and others by price. As Christine MchHugh, Vice President of Customer Service and Operation Service for Starbucks says “Figure out what matters most to your customers. Don’t assume if you haven’t already asked”.
Qualifying customer experience touchpoints
Get your pen and paper ready, it’s time to draw a map. In order to effectively track, analyze, control and improve customer experiences, you need to map out all touch points throughout the customer journey. It’s also important to qualify the significance of each touchpoint. For example, if you’re a company that sells electronics, it might be super important for your customers to have post purchase support should they need assistance with set up or troubleshooting. This may not be so important for a company that provides transportation, for example.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey (also called the buyer journey or user journey). It helps businesses step into their customers’ shoes and experience their business as a customer would.
It visually illustrates customers’ processes, needs, behaviors and perceptions through their interactions with your brand. It also helps to segment and create personas for your customer base.
For simplicity's sake, here’s an example of a basic ‘current state’ customer journey:
Data Collection & Analysis
Gathering and analyzing data can feel like an overwhelming task, but with the right tools and strategies in place it can be a streamlined, automated and uncomplicated process. The key to success in capturing customer feedback is to continuously harvest the voice of customer data. With a good CEM software, you can gather and analyze the insights, surveys and feedback you need to fine-tune your experience.
Customer Experience Software
Customer experience management software is an invaluable tool used to measure customer loyalty, understand how to best respond to their needs and ultimately take the necessary actions to improve customer experience, and therefore customer retention.
As a refresher, CEM software:
- Combines behavioral analytics with automated engagement and satisfaction surveys.
- Integrates with CRM software for a detailed understanding of your customers and how to reach them.
- Stores data in a way that is secure and easily navigated by your team.
Essentially, it automates, streamlines and keeps everything in one place. God bless technology.
Building a customer-centric brand culture
Data and analysis aren’t much use without decisive CEM strategy and action. As you’re collecting customer data and insights, you need to be responding, and creating actionable steps to improve and enhance the customer’s experience at every touchpoint.
For example, if you know how much your customers value your post purchase support line, invest efforts and resources into it. If you realise your customers care less about service speed, and more about quality, divert your resources and training that help to meet those customer needs.
Customers become loyal because of emotional attachment and how they feel when they use a product or service. It is your job to tap into that emotion, and create a brand culture that builds an authentic, emotional connection with your customers.
This customer-centric approach needs to be baked into a brand’s daily culture. Frontline teams need to be empowered and armed with the customer insights they need to help deliver authentic, winning experiences.
Hot tip #2? A coaching platform can help your organisation coach, motivate, and empower your frontline workers to deliver on what matters most to your customers.
Refine and repeat
Customer experience management is not a one off task. It’s an ongoing process that should constantly evolve, develop and grow, alongside your customers needs and expectations. Regularly measuring your customer’s perception of your brand and taking actions on insights is the key to successful CEM. You could constantly be receiving customer reviews, survey scores and analysing churn rate.
When refining and repeating, you should:
- Track progress on actions taken
- Calculate ROI on CEM
- Focus on tangible results rather than metrics|
To Wrap Up:
If you want to improve customer experience, your first point of call should be customer experience management. Identify what your customers needs and expectations are, map out their customer journey, use real-time customer feedback and data to drive decision making, build a customer centric brand culture, and never stop refining and repeating.
Join thousands of companies who use AskNicely to win on customer experience. Book a Demo today.