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Customer Experience Management is big news in marketing right now, and with good reason. This year alone, around 89% of businesses expect to compete on the basis of their customer experience, rather than price or their brand name, up from 36% in 2010.
To be adept at managing the customer experience it’s useful to clarify our understanding of what customer experience is. Often referred to as CX, it’s the sum of all of the interactions, experiences and touchpoints a customer has with a business, from the perspective of the customer. Customer Experience Management encompasses the activities undertaken by a business to shape and influence this experience.
It seems straightforward, but there’s a lot to consider here, and the term is increasingly being confused with a wide array of other marketing jargon. This article sorts through the mess of buzzwords and technology to explain exactly what CEM is (and isn’t).
Well, there are similarities. CEM and CRM are more like marketing cousins. Both deal with customer data and aim to prolong customer relationships, but there’s a lot more that’s different.
The data capabilities of CEM tools are far more advanced than those of your typical CRM tools. While both are capable of storing and managing customer data, and triggering actions based on this data, Customer Experience Management technology mines deeper into the company’s big data to gain unparalleled levels of insight.
CRM and CEM systems can link together, one informing the other, but it’s the CEM system that provides marketers with the holy grail of the discipline – the Single Customer View.
Customer journeys have never been more unique or difficult to track. Half of all transactions on ecommerce sites involve multiple devices (Marketing Week). All the way back in 2012, 67% of consumers were reported to move between devices mid-shop (Google). Customer Experience Management involves tracking these customer journeys across devices and channels, on and offline (which is where the Single Customer View comes in).
By tracking this information, organisations can get better insight into their customers’ behaviours, the pain points in their journeys, where in the journey they’re losing customers and what they’re doing well. These insights can then inform the ongoing CX strategy.
CEM has many strings to its bow. Marketing automation is one of them – but not as you might know it. Instead of a series of emails based from form submissions, automation from a CEM system is hugely powerful. It’s based on the big data insights and Single Customer View discussed above, and is channel neutral (or channel agnostic).
So yes, you can send an email when a customer makes a purchase. But you could also provide a pop-up with a personalised offer on your website if a visitor gestures to leave. You could send a text message when an order has been dispatched. You can generate product recommendations in real-time, or schedule dynamic content to change automatically, or send a push notification encouraging your customer to revisit your app if they haven’t opened it at their usual time. All of this targeted to the exact customers you want, when you want, automatically.
Customer service is a big part of providing your customers with a great experience, but it’s only one part. The service experience can have a big impact on sales, with 74% of consumers spending more when the service is good (Ebiquity). It also has a huge impact on customer loss, with 66% of brand switchers blaming poor service (85% of which was preventable) (Kolsky).
Customer service interactions are typically initiated by the customer, either to complete a transaction or to resolve an issue. Improvements in the overall customer experience can reduce the time your customers spend with your service agents – simply because the issues don’t arise. Customer Experience Management can help you find, and deal with, these pain points before they become an ongoing issue.
Whether it’s integration of channels, or integration of systems, CEM is all about the integration. It can integrate data from disparate sources and different channels, creating a Single Customer View of all interactions with a given customer. It can integrate with all of your business software (tech stack), not just to gather data but to analyse and monitor activity and automate actions. It can link together all of your business and marketing channels for a truly omni-channel experience and integrated marketing campaigns.
Personas are really useful tools in marketing. They can help you form a better picture of key segments of your audience, allowing you to create content and campaigns tailored towards specific groups. They’re still useful for Customer Experience Management, particularly when it comes to writing or creating content for your site or communications, but when it comes to content delivery CEM goes much further.
CEM software gives you the tools to completely personalise your content delivery for each individual customer. This doesn’t just mean adding their name into the message but displaying a unique blend of content tailored to their own wants and needs, rather than the typical wants and needs of the ‘persona’ you’ve allocated them to.
CRO is all about making sure your website is performing as well as possible, testing different hypotheses based on data insights to see which version of your site performs best. It’s not just about converting sales, but about achieving all of your website objectives.
CEM platforms give you all the insights and tools you need to perform A/B testing and implement changes based on the results, but unlike a classic CRO system it goes far beyond your websites. You can conduct multivariate testing (MVT) on any and all aspects of your customer experience, from websites, to campaigns, to individual communications on any channel.
Big data is aptly named. In the last two years, we’ve managed to create more data than ever existed previously – more data than has been created since the dawn of time (Forbes). Big data has been the focus of a lot of discussion in the marketing press, but it seems that people are still ill-equipped to deal with it, with only 30% of companies having a central data management function (Royal Mail Data Services).
Customer Experience Management technology thrives on big data. It will gather, sort, analyse and display all the data into an easily digestible format so that even the least data-savvy marketers can get insights from it. This process is what fuels the Single Customer View, and informs personalisation, content automation, campaigns – and the entire customer experience.
The discipline of Customer Experience Management owes a lot to the diverse marketing disciplines that have gone before it, but is a distinct skill in its own right. It’s the only way to create a truly personalised, connected experience for every single one of your customers, on every channel, every time. Request a demo of Intilery’s CEM platform now to see what your business could do.