A world-class customer experience is the result of everyone in an organisation working together, knowing business processes inside-out and being in sync with current initiatives – especially when it comes to customer interactions.
A key takeaway from a recent Columbus report exploring customer experience technologies and loyalty-boosting best practices across the B2C and B2B spheres was that organisations will need to bring together and make the most of the skills, technology and in-depth customer insights available to them in order to succeed.
Enter customer experience management (CXM) – underpinning customer interactions with tools that enable employees to give customers what they want, when they want it.
Moving from ‘market and sell’ to ‘develop and serve’
CXM is more than a traditional Customer Relationship Management solution. A simple contact management system is great for recording telephone numbers or measuring salespeople’s performances, but it’s not designed to support the full customer journey. Expanding on the concept of CRM, CXM solutions manage and act intelligently on the many layers of information flowing through a business at every stage of the customer journey.
Instead of just operating on a ‘market and sell’ approach, CXM builds on this to enable decision-makers to ‘develop and serve’ customers in a personalised manner. This can include interactions on social media or the personalisation and optimisation of a customer’s favourite website. But equally, it can take on larger projects such as maximising product availability through predictive maintenance algorithms or developing a fully servitised product line using field service management, case management and the Internet of Things.
Developing customer loyalty through data
Happiness and product satisfaction are the best yardsticks for measuring customer experiences. CXM considers how happy customers are and whether they are likely to recommend a product or service to others, rather than simply analysing their purchase history or other company interactions. This helps create more accurate insights from both individual customers and the entire customer base, which is key to mapping out best practices for boosting customer loyalty.
Buying structures in businesses today are more complicated than ever. Take retail, for example. Multiple buying personas for every prospective customer means there needs to be a comprehensive customer strategy in place to meet expectations – ranging from professionals looking for smart work clothes to more personal shoppers after a casual wear or fitness gear.
Each level of information can be valuable to a business that’s trying to take a new product to market or find people that might be interested in its service. CXM provides the platform to collate this information and – more importantly – the opportunity to add context and generate truly actionable insights. Rather than simply compiling a spreadsheet of customers, CXM helps businesses seamlessly integrate the wide array of productivity tools to optimise this and support the customer journey.
Four approaches for CXM success
When it comes to deploying a CXM solution, these four approaches set companies on the path to rapid success:
- Put the customer experience first. The ability to measure and articulate improvements in customer experience ensures that your efforts add customer value. Think “outside in”, and make sure you aren’t simply changing business processes for the sake of it
- Target a “unified” experience at every stage of the customer journey, including at the touchpoints where non-sales departments engage with and influence your customers. This means viewing the customer as a single entity and creating a seamless and consistent experience for them every step of the way.
One optimal scenario of this might involve marketing teams overseeing brand and product campaigns in a Product Information Management system, while operations build field service frameworks or accelerate the introduction of servitisation models
- Think “agile”. Don’t be afraid to experiment with proof of concept projects to measure the value and feasibility of new solutions. A simple way to start is to break the project into phases and build on the success of each subsequent stage. This will help deliver value into the business immediately, validate assumptions on potential return on investment and ensure the CXM system picks up users gradually
- Do not ignore “digital feedback loops”. This Microsoft term describes the use of information to proactively establish and analyse relationships between customers, products and data. Data is the best way to learn and inform business decisions, and this must be a driving principle of any project
Actionable insights into your customer’s experience – take it personally
The most effective business solutions of tomorrow will be designed with a focus on using data analytics and machine intelligence to support fully customer-centric decision-making. CXM makes a head-start on this by bringing together all information, communications and touchpoints within a company and turning data into actionable insights to help the customer journey.
A well-executed customer strategy is a certain way to gain a competitive edge and intelligent CXM systems that consistently produce actionable insights are a big part of this. At Columbus, we work hard to understand our clients’ USPs and identify the surest path to success. There is a fitting CXM solution for every business, and by carrying out business process analysis, we can ensure the right customer-centric approach for any organisation.
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