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It’s one of the phrases that have risen to the top of many a business agenda. A rapidly growing amount of companies and executives are talking about it, to be sure. And its place on businesses’ lists of investment priorities is higher than ever.
What is Customer Experience Management?
Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM) is a business and technology term used to describe the process or system for tracking, managing, and organizing every interaction between a customer and a company throughout the customer’s entire journey.
The goal of CXM — and therefore of any customer experience management software — is to help an organization respond to and exceed customer expectations, helping increase satisfaction, drive loyalty, and reduce churn.
Before we dive into details on what exactly customer experience management involves, let’s first consider this definition of “customer experience.”
Customer experience is the cumulative impact of all interactions and experiences between your business and the customer, at every touchpoint across the entire customer journey, and viewed entirely from your customer’s perspective.
To be clear: your company already provides a customer experience. The key lies on whether or not you’re already talking about it and managing it.
Breaking down “silos”: how companies today approach customer experience management
Customers used to interact with companies through a limited set of touchpoints and channels: in-store, on phone calls, or via traditional media (TV, print, radio).
Thanks to, among other things, the continued growth and evolution of technology, the number of touchpoints and channels has since increased. Now — on top of all the places where interactions happened before — customer experiences can be shaped by a customer’s interactions with a website, a mobile app, a business listing on a third-party online review site, a brand page or a user-generated comment on social media, an e-mail, or a live chat conversation.
This expanded list of touchpoints and channels means that understanding your customers is a more complex business challenge than before.
For example, your Customer Service department may have an understanding of the customer that is completely different from that of, say, the team that monitors and responds to customer feedback on social media and online review sites. And your Web and mobile analytics team may have insights about the customer that are totally unrelated to what you gathered in your latest customer feedback survey findings.
Customer experience management helps you achieve a more accurate, integrated, complete, and unified view of the customer — the “360-degree view,” so to speak. Not a fragmented one.
As a process or a system, CXM can help break down silos within your organization so that all the different teams, policies, and functional groups that you have are united around the goal of understanding the entire customer journey, based on the customer perspective (and not that of individual silos) — then taking action based on this understanding.
Customer Experience Management Software
You need data in order to fully understand your customers and accurately measure their experiences. Again, with so many touchpoints and channels through which customers today interact with companies, this data can come from anywhere.
This is where customer experience management software comes in. It allows your company to listen to, interpret, act on, and monitor data that comes directly from customers (Voice of the Customer data) — and it extracts actionable insights with the kind of speed and precision that’s not typically possible through manual collection and analysis.
Depending on how comprehensive it is, customer experience management software can help your company:
- Collect and solicit customer feedback across multiple touchpoints and channels (feedback surveys, social media listening, online review management);
- Leverage tools for analyzing data and extracting insights that help drive business decisions and operational changes;
- Pin down customer sentiment in real-time and at scale;
- Measure customer experience and benchmark performance using metrics that cut across channels;
- Plan strategic initiatives that result in improved customer experience.
Look for comprehensiveness. Customer experience management software should connect various kinds of customer feedback and Voice of the Customer data across multiple touchpoints and channels.
Focus on insights. Data collection, while extremely important, is not the name of the game. CXM software is most effective — and delivers the best ROI — when it reduces complexity amid mountains of data and helps your company gain meaningful, actionable insights about customers.
Scalability matters. Your choice of customer experience management software must allow you to listen to every customer and every conversation at every stage of the customer journey — then dig into data on both macro and micro levels.
The right info is delivered to the right people at the right place and time. Your contact center, the marketing department, or your customer service team isn’t the only one with a stake in the customer experience. CXM software should engage all functional groups and empower them to focus and take action on the overall customer experience.