Customer experience management has been garnering lots of attention in the business domain. In fact, it would not be wrong if I say that customer experience management solutions have become an integral element and hardwired into the corporate culture.
Every business today that wants to grow their business is busy looking for customer experience research. This is where the role of customer experience management starts.
Customer experience management or CEM or CXM consists of a series of activities that a company undertakes to provide a personalized, smooth experience to their customers. It’s all about understanding the customers entirely and ensuring that they are happy and satisfied at the point of interaction with your company, right from the start of the customer journey. In layman’s terms, customer experience management is all about fulfilling the customer expectations and establishing a positive perspective of your brand in their minds.
In simple words, customer experience management is about more than serving your online customers. It’s about more than understanding where the customers shop and what brand of dog food they purchase. It’s all about understanding your customers so comprehensively that you can create and deliver personalized experiences that will entice them to remain loyal to your business and evangelize to others about you. This is the most valuable form of advertising.
Gathering in-depth information about customers does not come all of a sudden. It takes time to form customer relations, and all it takes is extracting customer insight from all touchpoints and channels across your entire organization. This can be done with the help of customer experience research.
It is all about harnessing enormous amounts of customer data from online channels and extracting valuable insights from that data with speed and precision. This is what digital customer experience management is all about.
Customer experience management offers tremendous business benefits, including:
1. Positive word of mouth marketing for your business
According to a Nielsen survey of 29,000 consumers in 58 countries, 84% of people completely trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues. One of the best things that can happen to any company is when a delighted customer spreads a good word about a business. Word of mouth marketing is, in fact, the best form of marketing for your business.
It enabled a company like Zappos, an online shoes and clothing eCommerce portal, to achieve success and eventually get acquired by Amazon for $928M. Moreover, concentrating on customer delight worked quite well for them - nearly 75% of Zappos sales came from repeat customers.
2. Analyze customer feedback and leverage the insights to inculcate loyalty
There is a single rule to improve customer engagement - never forget to consider feedback. Feedback from customers can be scrutinized and employed to enhance crucial processes in an organization. It can aid you in filling up critical gaps in the customer experience process. However, the most essential function of customer feedback is to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Customers feel acknowledged when a company actually acts upon their feedback and suggestions. A prime example of that is Tesla. The company initiates various CEM programs that single out its biggest fans and provide them with offers and rewards to foster never-ending loyalty.
3. Communicate with customers in real-time to provide consistent customer service
Today’s customer has become highly informed, demanding, and desires on-time and personalized interactions without additional hassles. This is where they use a variety of channels like SMS, voice, social, and chat. This is where digital customer experience management comes into play.
When the customers employ multiple channels, it becomes all the more important to have a uniform customer view to provide effective customer service. Customers often get frustrated when they have to provide the same information multiple times. Isn’t it annoying when you call the customer service helpline only to provide an Order ID number referencing your order? The technology is already available.
So, it is time for companies to use effective digital customer experience management programs that can empower businesses to gain a 360-degree view of the customer and provide consistent customer service in real-time.
Designing successful customer experience management solutions can be a challenging task. First, businesses need to be aware of their customers and know them well to get customer experience management right. Here are some of the challenges that companies often face while devising customer experience management solutions:
1. Creating a consistent multi-channel brand experience
Do not forget that customers will be interacting with your brand online, through customer service, in person, and more. Hence, it becomes imperative for you to ensure brand consistency at every point of interaction. This is where digital customer experience management becomes critical.
2. Getting a single view of the customer
Today companies get customer data from various sources. Hence, the trick is to consolidate all that data into a single view to gain a 360-degree view of the customer. This becomes all the more difficult if the data remains siloed. This is where customer experience research comes into the picture.
Customers have their expectations and are well aware that companies already have more information about them than ever before. This results in customers demanding more personalization, and businesses must remember to personalize every customer interaction. However, companies can succeed in personalization only if they aggregate context to their customer focus to provide what customers want when they want. This is where customer experience management solutions come in handy.
4. Lack of executive support
The CXO and CFO do not take the budget allocation for investment for the customer experience management. Instead, it needs advice from several senior executives across the organization. This is perhaps the most significant handicap when it comes to implementing customer experience management in an organization. For example, working with the CIO will help you have the right technology to enable more sophisticated personalization while not forgetting continuity with existing IT and legacy systems. In addition, COO involvement can make sure that internal resourcing and processes support the requirements of the customer experience management program. This is where customer experience research can come in handy.
With so many things affecting customer experience, how do you exactly start the process? First, let’s find out the different steps to successful customer experience management.
1. Create and maintain comprehensive customer profiles
To deliver a stellar customer experience, you need to know your customers better than ever before. This ideally means creating and maintaining comprehensive customer profiles that aid you comprehend and measure your customers’ journeys at every touchpoint across multiple channels. The more you get to know your customers, the more effective you will deliver relevant offers. The more relevant your offers are, the closer will be the relationship between your business and your customers. This ultimately drives key metrics like loyalty and retention.
In the past, companies used structured data like demographic, transactional, and log data to create customer profiles. However, with times new emerging media like social media, video, RFID, sensor, geolocation, etc., have tied together with cross-channel coordination.
2. Make it personal
Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your customers, you need to utilize that knowledge to personalize every interaction. The key is to not only focus on the customer but also on the context in which the customer operates. Your data can aid you in maintaining that focus, particularly if you continue to enrich existing data with new sources. Once you add context to your customer focus, you can deliver relevant, insightful offers, advice, and recommendations along with service actions when a customer is most receptive.
Today, customers have more choices than ever before. Hence, if you do not provide a relevant, personalized, timely, and insightful message, they will move to your competitors. But if you are successful in doing it, you will drive brand loyalty.
3. Deliver the right message, right place, right time on every occasion
To deliver the most value at every customer touchpoint - and improve customer experience - you need to map analytics to specific stages in the customer lifecycle. This will help you to deliver the right message to the right place at every time.
Every life cycle stage is critical - from initial consideration to active evaluation to moment of purchase and even the post-purchase experience. Each stage is an opportunity to enhance the customer experience. And each stage is an opportunity to gather more insights that can help you accumulate feedback that can be used in your marketing processes to draw from the next time.
Chief experience officers are responsible for customer experience at every customer touchpoint with a company. To comprehend where those touchpoints are, it is necessary to draw a customer journey map, revealing the several interactions customers have with your brand. At a bare minimum, the map consists of four main sections:
This is where the customer discovers a company. This is often through the internet, via advertising, or through third parties like consultants, colleagues, or social media acquaintances.
Here the customers try to ascertain who your competitors are, research user perception, functions capabilities, cost, and other attributes of all competing products.
This is where the business wins big. It is also the beginning of customer retention and loyalty building.
Once a sale is completed, the role of customer service and support teams starts. This is where loyalty and repeat sales occur. If these teams cannot convince the customers, it can very much break the customer experience and send customers to the competitors.
Today customer experience has become a key component when making a purchasing decision. And it is predicted to increase in prominence as the days roll by. To pull off a successful customer experience management strategy, you need to be aware of all the touchpoints on top of the customer journey and your customers’ wishes and expectations.
Delivering a personalized, memorable experience is all about knowing your customers inside out and providing the right information at the right time and the right place.
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