Excellence through Customer Experience Management (CEM)

Creating a superior customer experience requires that we understand the customer's point of view, states Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D in Rules to Break and Laws to Follow. "What's it really like to be your customer? What is the day-in, day-out 'customer experience' your company is delivering? How does it feel to wait on hold on the phone? To open a package and not be certain how to follow the poorly translated instructions? To stand in line, be charged a fee, wait for a service call that was promised two hours ago, come back to an online shopping cart that's no longer there an hour later? Or what's it like to be remembered? To receive helpful suggestions? To get everything exactly as it was promised? To be confident that the answers you get are the best ones for you?" (Peppers and Rogers 2008)1.

Customer Experience Management is a business strategy that focuses and redefines the business from the customer's view point. It is not about managing the customer but about managing the experiences that the customer has with our business. CEM must be embraced by the entire organization to be successful. Just like CRM, it is a culture that must live and breathe from inside and outside our business. To achieve maximum ROI, it is imperative that business silos are eliminated, business processes are developed, customer expectations are clearly defined and that key metrics are tracked. Only then will the foundation be set to offer our customer excellence through CEM.

Why is CEM important to my business and my customers?

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) receive, on average, 21.5% of overall corporate profit from their service operations making customers pivotal to a successful organization2. But surprisingly, many companies feel that they are not doing enough to ensure that they achieve this or capture additional sales from their customers.

Best-in-Class service organizations have achieved 89% current customer retention, 28% current service profitability and 17% improvement in productivity by implementing CEM and improving performance efficiencies within the organization. But, this success could not have been achieved without tracking and reporting customer facing metrics. In fact, 76% if these organizations stated it was integral to this success.3

How do I go about developing a CEM to meet my business needs?

There are 5 key steps to developing a strong CEM platform. They include:

  1. What's in it for you and what's in it for the customer? Come up with key objectives that are attainable.
  2. If you are currently using a good CRM application, it should offer you the means to develop and implement your CEM strategy.
  3. Don't think you need to do this? Think again. If you and your team don't have a process, how will customers know what to expect? Consistency due to good customer-focused processes will bring great rewards.
  4. It is the acid test on how successfully you are meeting objectives and can let you know what your ROI is.
  5. Get customer feedback - How will you ever know if you are successfully meeting your objectives, improving customer satisfaction or if you have achieved customer experience excellence without the voice of the customer? Not sure where to go next with CEM? I am sure your customer will have some ideas.

The Last Word on Customer Experience Management

Our customers are busy. They want to do things quickly and painlessly. Make sure they can engage with you the way they want to be engaged but also give them a unique experience. It tells them that you know they are important. Leverage customer portals so they can access a knowledge base, create service cases, view invoices and place orders on-line. Personalize this experience by adding their logo to their portal or creating personalized messages with helpful tips.

The voice of the customer is everywhere due to the internet and social media. Don't just stick with questionnaires to get feedback. Use LinkedIn groups, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters and blogs to strengthen your relationships, generate ideas and make it easier to communicate with your customer they way they want to communicate.

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