Customer Experience Management Definition
According to TechTarget, customer experience management is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.
By fostering customer loyalty and optimizing interactions from the customer’s perspective, CEM can be adequately wielded to provide an overview as to how a company’s CXM is working and whether or not it is successful. Most importantly, a customer-centric strategy that encompasses all interactions is needed to manage the customer experience.
The Importance of Customer Experience Management
To manage customer expectations, it is crucial to be aware of and monitor customer experience. According to SAS, there are several tangible business values that come with effectively managing customer experience:
· Strengthen brand preference
· Incremental sales from existing customers and new sales from word-of-mouth boosts revenue
· Valued and memorable customer interactions improve customer loyalty
· Reduce customer churn, lowering costs as a result
Clearly, customer experience management is extremely important if you wish to truly know your customers and their perception of your company.
The Customer Experience Journey
In that same token, you can’t create a good CXM if you don’t understand the journeys your customers are undergoing. These touchpoints include traditional channels like website purchases, phone calls, and live chat as well as social media text and other communication mediums. However, with more communication channels comes more complexity. Using a customer journey map, companies are able to identify customer touchpoints throughout the customer lifecycle. This data then allows the company to create a customer experience based on predictable customer needs and behaviors. Customer satisfaction can also be improved as a business might be prompted to review and streamline its processes throughout the customer journey. The stages are as follows:
1. Inquiry – the customer first expresses interest in the product, researching it through the product site or through a third party, such as social media.
2. Comparison – in order to receive what they want, the consumer begins comparing your product with other goods and services.
3. Purchase – the prospect becomes a customer, leading to the service department to begin with installation or follow-up services.
4. Installation – part two of the purchase stage; a service or product needs to be physically implemented. This stage is most crucial in retaining a customer long term and building loyalty and brand retention.
Create a Good Customer Experience Management Strategy
A 360-degree view of consumers is required for CXM, which includes integrated, up-to-date data on customer accounts. TechTarget recommends four steps in creating a successful customer experience management strategy:
1. Understand your customer – understand customers’ needs and behaviors. This will allow you to create customer segmentation – or dividing a customer base into groups of individuals that similar in specific ways, such as age, gender, interests or spending habits – which will give you the capacity to start to truly understand your customers and what their wants and needs are.
2. Create a customer vision – once you’ve identified your target audience, you can create a customer journey map. A visual like this will allow you to identify customer touchpoints and anticipate how customers will interact with the product or service. An added benefit of this data is that it has the potential to help with customer retention.
3. Develop an emotional connection – evoke emotions and connections from a customer by creating a brand personality, or the association of human characteristics with your brand’s name to which consumers relate. Unsurprisingly, this developed association can help establish a relationship between the customer and the company.
4. Capture customer feedback – customer satisfaction should be monitored in real time. One way to measure this satisfaction is to evaluate customer feedback, which can help the company track customer perceptions, enable quality monitoring, and measure the success of the customer experience strategy.
Challenges in Customer Experience Management
While customer experience management is necessary to oversee the company’s relationships with its customers, that doesn’t mean that it come without challenges. Here are a few factors to look out for:
· Create a consistent brand experience across channels – customers expect your brand value proposition to remain consistent, even if they are willing to accept different service levels from different channels. Unfortunately, channel proliferation makes it difficult to ensure consistency across all channels, which presents a significant challenge when trying to appeal to customers in a cohesive way.
· Integrate channel and brand experiences – it’s difficult to achieve an integrated channel experience. Barriers can include technology, organizational territorialism and legacy processes.
· Consolidate data into a single view of the customer – a unified, coordinated customer communication would be the result of a single view of the customer across interactions, channels, products and time.
With any strategy comes its challenges. Fortunately, the benefits of being properly integrated into your CXM far outweigh the surmountable issues that can come with it.
Optimizing Your Online Customer Experience Management
In an age where nearly all transactions take place virtually, it’s important to understand how people interact with your brand online. It simply is not enough to have the best products – customers want to feel as though they have connection with your brand. And by 2020, Gartner predicts that customer experience will overtake price and product in terms of overall value to brand differentiation. According to Intrado, this is due to the fact that optimizing customer experience adds revenue, decreases costs and creates loyalty, enticing customers to keep coming back. This concept might seem like a lot to take in, but fortunately, there are steps you can take today to optimize your online customer experience management:
1. Evaluate where you stand right now – as AI, bots and virtual assistants are fast becoming staples in our homes, cars and workplaces, it seems logical to adopt the newest technological innovations at your company. However, doing so without proper strategy could lead to mistakes. Instead, gather the data currently at your disposal and see where your company stands. Position yourself strategically to interact with customers at all stages of the customer experience life cycle: aware, attract, adopt, purchase, use, service, and advocate. By paying attention to all the channels your customers gravitate toward, you can create a holistic experience that transcends devices, functions, and time.
2. Understand Your Customers – using the lens of your customers, customer experience experts can design the best strategies to solve the disconnect between what customers want and what companies deliver. For instance, Intrado points out that 86 percent of customers expect brands to let them choose a method of follow up or proactive engagement, but only 37 percent of contact centers think customers care about that factor. Further, 60 percent of customers believe they’re talking to the same agent when they switch from web chat to a phone call, but only one in five contact centers have that expectation. When it comes down to experience, customers want to be recognized and remembered, to be given choices, and have moments of delight. Intrado recommends using customer-journey mapping to learn how different customers choose to interact with your brand. This knowledge can come from solicited feedback through surveys or unsolicited feedback by browsing your social media. Using this data, you can understand attitudes, behaviors and triggers. Then, look for one area of your business where you can start small and make the most impact.
3. Understand how your customers interact with you – customers are seeking an experience that is simple. To optimize customer experience, your brand interactions should be functional, accessible, and enjoyable. Use analytics across multiple conversations to learn someone’s preferred methods of communication. From there, a strategy should grow that leverages customer data to optimize interactions across channels. Data should always be your go-to when deducing what customers desire.
4. Pay attention to your metrics – according to Intrado, on average, organizations use 3.31 key metrics to guide their business, which includes factors like average handle time, abandon rate and customer satisfaction ratings. Use your metrics to try to see your business through your customers’ eyes. When you know what customers perceive is happening, you can start predicting their behavior.
5. Include your employees in your strategy – if you want a customer-centric culture, start by hiring the right people. During job interviews, be sure to ask applicants how they’ve created great digital customer experience. With current employees, establish new habits by rewarding good behaviors and prioritize employee training. The delivery of your customer service experience all comes down to whether or not your employees will carry it out.
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