Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5 Steps to Successful Customer Experience Management

These days, customers expect companies to offer customer preferences in order to reduce the buying cycle time and increase the value. With the increasing number of channels and the need for consistent experience, we have been hearing about the ever-evolving ‘customer experience’ systems. This journey from CRM to CEM, marks a shift from an internally focused to externally focused solution to offer better customer experiences.

In the past, being internally focused gave more time for companies to adopt and evolve, but in the CEM era, companies don’t have the same time. The balance is between great customer experience that drives loyalty and ‘relevant preference’ that will drive commerce. According to a recent Business2Community article written by Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organization culture enthusiast and author of www.futuristCMO.com, here are five steps to get the best out of CEM initiatives:

1. Build seamless interactions
Customers are expecting seamless interactions across traditional channels like in-store, call-center, online as well as new channels like mobile and social. Though technology can play a role in enabling this, employee (internal) based seamless interactions can really transform customer (external) based seamless interactions. 

2. Deliver consistent value
Consistent experience across channels due to end-to-end processes, functionality rich channel systems, de-centralization to harness channel incubation, management commitment offers a chance for customers to build trust. Flexible and functionality rich solutions across fast moving channels such as social, mobile will help companies deliver consistently in a fast paced environment.

3. Offer relevant preferences using real-time approaches
Connecting the customer transaction data, front line interaction information and non-enterprise data such as social, mobile can help companies to understand the current and future needs of the customer. Leveraging big data and analytics to come up with relevant preferences for customers will be a key differentiator considering the number of alternatives available. Real-time solutions through big data, analytics, In-memory and human intelligence will transform commerce and customer experience.

4. Develop a partner ecosystem that can collaborate
Customer experience management is a cluster of products that have to work together to offer a holistic solution. It’s critical to have the right set of partners who are innovators, have a good partner ecosystem, and are open to integration with other vendor products.

5. Implement Total Customer Experience (TCE)
In Total Quality Management (TQM), the quality of products is the responsibility of everyone involved in the creation and consumption ecosystem. So, TCE should be a philosophy across the entire organization. Customer experience is not just a front line issue as competition, delays across departments can badly impact customer experience. In the connected media age where customers immediately share more of their negative experiences than positive ones, such negative stories can impact commerce.

Overall, CEM will continue to evolve due to innovation and customer trends, so companies must create an agile ecosystem.

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