Thought Leadership

What is Customer Experience Management?

A Definition of Customer Experience Management

Customer experience management (CEM) describes how a company takes control of its interactions with customers. Gartner offers a spot-on CEM definition: “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” Organizations’ departments and groups often plan customer interactions from their own perspectives, or silos, rather than from a customer’s perspective. CEM is the concept of viewing and improving those interactions entirely from the customers’ perspective, and true CEM encompasses the customers’ entire journey with a business. The goal of customer experience management is to build customer loyalty and to reduce customer churn.

Benefits of Customer Experience Management

As businesses find themselves trying to remain competitive in today’s ultra-competitive and connected world, customer experience management has become critical to their success. In fact, customer experience management is incredibly valuable to companies of nearly any size because of the benefits of CEM, as outlined by SAS:

  • Strengthen brand preference through differentiated experiences
  • Increase revenue with incremental sales from existing customers and new sales by word of mouth
  • Improve customer loyalty, and create brand advocates, through valued and memorable customer interactions
  • Reduce customer churn to lower costs

Methods of Customer Experience Management

There are several methods of customer experience management, but most companies approach it using the same basic CEM model. First, companies get feedback from their customers to get a fundamental understanding of their experience. Companies may capture feedback through surveys and customer satisfaction polls and outreach. After companies have gathered feedback from customers, they share the insights across the organization.  It is most helpful if the insights are shared in a timely fashion and in the most relevant way for each department. It’s critical that the right people get the right customer insights at the right time. Finally, companies need to ensure they are delivering the optimal customer experience based on that feedback. Companies must continually evaluate their customer experience in order to improve upon it.

Challenges of Customer Experience Management

Of course, designing a successful CEM strategy can be a daunting task. Businesses must know their customers, and know them well, in order to get customer experience management right. One of the toughest challenges is creating a consistent multi-channel brand experience. Don’t forget that customers are interacting with your brand online, through customer service, in person, and more. It is crucial that you ensure brand consistency at every point of interaction.

customer-experience-management-definitionAnother challenge of customer experience management is getting a single view of the customer. Companies get customer data from a multitude of sources, and the trick is to consolidate all of that data into a single view to gain a 360-degree view of the customer. This becomes especially difficult if the data remains siloed.

Another challenge of customer experience management is personalization. Customers have expectations and are aware that companies have more information about them today than ever before. That translates to customer demand for personalization, and businesses must remember to personalize every interaction. Businesses can succeed at personalization if they add context to their customer focus so they can offer what the customer wants, when the customer wants it.

Customer Experience Management Systems

Companies do not need to handle their customer experience management all on their own. Customer experience management systems are software solutions that help to improve time-to-market by delivering more personalized experiences to customers. Leading customer experience management solutions connect data sources in real time so that companies are better equipped to engage customers through personalized experiences, which leads to greater customer lifetime value.

The key to customer experience management is getting a single view of customers by breaking down silos and getting the deep customer insights that help businesses create more personalized customer interactions.

Further Reading

For further information on customer experience management, visit our blog. For your convenience, we have linked to three of our most recent customer experience management posts below: