CEM: Customer Experience Management

CEM, or Customer Experience Management is the process of taking ownership of the customer’s entire buyer journey from start to finish. It’s easy to get it confused with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which serves a similar, yet unique purpose. While CRM focuses on data and statistics to calculate sales and growth opportunities, CEM provides a customer-centric perspective and is focused on retention and improving the overall journey of the customer rather than pulling in more sales and growth. In 2017, the lines between the two will begin to blur, and that’s a good thing.

The good news is that CRM and CEM work well together and provide a rounded view of each customer as one without the other will be insufficient in any interaction with a current or potential customer. As an added benefit of focusing on the customer experience, a company is more likely to have a higher number of referrals and brand loyalty throughout their customer base.

Customer experience management is all about considering your customer’s perspective in everything that your company does and every decision that you make with the overall objective of increasing profit through the management (and improvement) of customer experience. CRM and CEM are not mutually exclusive, but rather, work well as a combination in which the CEM uses CRM data to build and maintain the critical relationships that companies have with their customers.

So, how do you tackle customer experience management and creating powerful experiences that develop into relationships? Here are a few tips:

Know your customer

It may seem like common sense, but a lot of businesses don’t really take the time to consider who their customers actually are. Dig into target personas. Who’s your ideal customer? Where do they come from, and why are they coming to you? Knowing your customer through highly-detailed target personas will give you a better understanding of how to approach customer experience management as a whole.

Know what they expect

It’s not about what your customer is purchasing. It’s about the experience the customer expects to have before, during, and after a sale that leaves its mark. You should already be fully confident in the product and/or service you’re selling. At this point, it’s instead about the lasting “thing” you want to leave a customer with in order to grow retention and develop powerful customer relationships. Finding out what they expect from working with your business is crucial in developing a perfect experience management process.

Understand the buyer journey

Before you’re able to “master” the buyer journey from beginning to end, you need to actually know what it looks like. Who’s a typical customer? Where do they typically start? What’s a typical next step for them? And so on. Once you’re able to answer all of that, then and only then can you developing a mastery of the buyer journey.

Get reviews

Everyone loves reviews and especially positive ones. Utilize these reviews to your advantage. If there’s a certain piece of feedback that really resonates with a customer experience, take note. There are likely other people who have had the same thoughts regarding the experience (i.e. persistent salesperson, humorous call center rep, etc.).

On the flip side of reviews are customer complaints, perhaps the more important of the two. With customer complaints, there’s no reason you should be ignoring them like they’re not there. Instead, take advantage of the criticism. Just like positive reviews, a lot of people probably have the same criticism given, they’re just not open to sharing it out in the open. Learn from these criticisms and adapt your approach to customer experience management.

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