What is Customer Experience Management?
When we talk about customer experience we're talking about the way a customer personally feels about your company, its products, services and, well... everything: all of the tiny details and micro-moments that add up to create an opinion.
Identifying, analyzing, and guiding the touchpoints of the customer journey is a surprisingly sophisticated challenge. Luckily, decades of digital science and market expertise are available to help you shape the best possible experiences for customers.
What 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.
In other words, it's labor that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that customers feel fabulous when they're engaging your brand (and talking about you to their friends and family).
Customer Experience Management (CEM) vs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a company's view of a customer, primarily through the lens of sales. It tracks engagement and purchase histories of individual customers with an eye toward future sales to individuals.
Customer experience management (CEM) focuses on the customer's view of a company. It collects data from a wider range of touchpoints – including sales, but also social platforms, customer service history, website interaction, and customer experience surveys.
CRM VS CEM
- A CRM tracks the company’s view of a customer, while a CEM tracks a customer’s view of the company.
- A CRM focuses on the sales funnel while CEM focuses on touchpoints. Customer touchpoints are your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. Examples include your point of sale, bill payments, and customer support agents.
- Whilst CRM data is centered more on customer transactions, CEM data is centered more on more granular behavior and overall customer satisfaction.
In a nutshell, a CRM manages the customer and a CEM enables them! Together, CRM and CXM intersect to increase repeat business and referrals.
The Customer Experience Management Process
CX management is a dynamic, ongoing process of perpetual improvement for any company. The management cycle has some basic steps...
Assess Current Performance
Collect data from customers to understand which of your touchpoints are providing the best experience and which ones are not. For example, through customer surveys, you may find that your customers are impressed with their experience in store, but are unsatisfied with the level of post purchase support.
Build A Customer Journey Map
Use data from all available touchpoints and outside sources to understand the paths that different customers take to purchase your products, from the first time they decide to click on your social ads or website to the moment their purchase is complete, and on to the service requests they make later on.
Here’s a simple example of what a customer journey map may look like, from Hubspot.
Once you know the areas that need improvement, and the ways that people are interacting with your brand, it's time to set specific goals for improving (or maintaining) customer satisfaction at various steps in their journey. For example, you may set a goal to increase your NPS score by 10 points in 3 months.
It's time for creative solutions. What changes can you make to reach your new CX goals? How will you track those changes? Who will be in charge of these programs? What is your timeline?
Determine where to invest your efforts and resources. For example, incentives like customer loyalty campaigns can get you moving in the right direction. Which customers said in survey responses that they're thrilled with you right now? Send them a little exclusive offer that incentivizes them to come back again soon or, better yet, spread the word to their community.
The strategies are put into action. New tactics are tested out – ideally with as much precision and care for individual customer needs as possible. All the while, you're collecting new CX data from customers about all possible touch points. A hot tip? A coaching platform can help your organization coach, motivate, and empower your frontline workers to deliver on what matters most to your customers.
Once your new tactics have yielded a considerable amount of data, it's time to re-assess. Which have improved? Which have declined? Which are holding steady?
Revise and Repeat
Based on the most recent round of data analysis and assessment, you'll make tweaks to your customer experience management tactics and begin the cycle all over again. It's a constant pursuit of perfection.
Benefits of Customer Experience Management
A well-honed management system enables you to do more for your customers with the resources at your disposal. Better management means better workflow and clearer vision, which allows you to reach more ambitious goals. Effective Customer experience management can:
Being proactive with unhappy customers allows you to retain more of them. If you don’t engage them with a CX survey, you might never know about it, and they'd silently drift away to a competitor. A strong database allows you to identify similar folks who might also be likely to churn.
By integrating CX management data with demographic and CRM data, you're able to approach customers as individuals, connect on their preferred platforms, and help find the products that are the best possible match for them.
Lower CX Costs
Every business is allocating time and money to customer experience, whether they realize it or not. With a data-driven approach, you're able to allocate those resources where they're needed. Less waste, better ROI.
Best Practices For Customer Experience Management
Streamlined workflow and strategy is essential to effective customer experience management. Equally important: setting your team up for success within your customer experience campaigns.
Set Clear Goals
Goals should be specific, quantifiable, and challenging but still within reach. For example: if shoppers are rating your online checkout poorly, one goal might be, ‘Improve Net Promoter Score for checkout by 5 points before the end of this business quarter.’
Break Down Silos
A customer's feelings about their shopping experience is influenced by many factors – website speed, payment options, inventory, customer support – all at the same time.
If your web team is only looking at CX data about web issues and the warehouse is only looking at CX data pertaining to inventory, you'll only improve CX in a piecemeal fashion. Departments need to share information, understand how they're connected, and collaborate with each other.
Track Employee Experience
Employee experience surveys are useful for improving your team management. Many major corporations use NPS metrics internally as well, sending anonymous surveys to all staff members, in order to more accurately understand how employees feel about the work environment and specific campaigns. Anonymous surveys enable you to learn what your team really thinks, so you can keep improving their experience in the process.
Features of a What To Look For In A Customer Experience Management Platform
The process relies on smart strategy as much as it does on smart technology. Both are necessary if you're going to effectively manage customer experience at scale.
CX is all about trying to understand how customers feel when they interact with you. Considering their emotions is essential to managing their experience. Empathy is required. Happy customers are good for business. Establishing a customer-centric culture starts from the top. Coaching platforms can help empower your team in building a culture that puts the customer experience at its center.
Granular Data Collection
If CX management is a way to see your brand through a customer's eyes, you need as much quality data as possible for an accurate, detailed portrait. This means collecting data on all possible touch points throughout every customer's journey.
Real-Time Data and Analysis
Instantaneous data collection allows you to get customer feedback on a given touchpoint while the experience is fresh in their minds. Real-time analysis means your performance metrics are always current – and logged in detail for historical analysis.
Ticket Management + Flagging
Identifying dissatisfied customers is important for brand management and sales. By automatically flagging respondents who provided low NPS scores, and even setting up tickets in integrated CRM systems, you can reach out to these people right away.
The cyclical nature of a CX management strategy ensures that your methods are always improving and that you can continuously take accurate, honest inventory of your team's performance. With granular data collection and analytics you can even identify performance factors down to the individual touchpoints, team members, and incidents.
At the end of the day, a strong CX management system, integrated throughout your office and with all other data platforms, is a means to more easily, effectively, and authentically connect with people – your customers and your employees as well.
Doing that is no small task, but a management platform can take care of the calculations and the rote tasks that are required for any campaign at scale. You can stop worrying about the nuts and bolts of customer experience management, focusing instead on creative solutions and execution.