What is Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM) and why it’s changing the way we do business.
The experience your customers have while working with your business is paramount to the long-term success of your company. The number one reason someone will choose to do business with your company over your competitors is the experience you provide them. In fact, reports indicate that this single factor will become increasingly imperative for small business success over the course of the next few years.
Customer experience management – also known as “relationship marketing” – is the key to ensuring your customers are happy with their experience. Customer experience management enables your company to track, organize and oversee each interaction between your customers and your company from the beginning to the end of the customer life cycle. Doing so optimizes interactions based on the customer perspective and in so doing fosters long-term loyalty.
The concept of tracking and optimizing the customer experience may seem too personal or idealistic; anyone who chooses to dismiss this growing trend, though, will quickly lose touch with business relationships. Relationship marketing has become a critical component in a hyper-connected and hyper-competitive modern marketplace. Managed effectively, it can help strengthen your brand preference, boost revenue from existing customers and via new sales, improve long-term loyalty and reduce costs by reducing customer turnover.
Of course, companies need to take the steps required to begin customer management and need to develop a strategy to guide their relationship marketing efforts.
Have the right systems in place
If you have any form of client base or customer prospect list, a customer relationship management (CRM) system is necessary. With relationship marketing, you need a comprehensive, regularly updated view of your customers. You need to manage customer experiences with phone calls, live chats, website purchases, texts and social media. With more information to process than ever before, it is imperative that you integrate this data with existing customer account data.
A good CRM can help you bridge the gaps between your communication channels while making integration easier. Agents can use the tools to look up information about previous customer interactions and previous products. They can then combine this with customer data or inventory information to give customers information on things like new products, their accounts or inventory.
Customer data analytics shows you how to market and sell to customers one-on-one. Personalization strategies like location-based services tell you where your customers are in real time so that you can give them customized information.
Understand your audience
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the real people you want to target in business. Having a personality behind your targeted client takes your business tactics a step beyond demographic targeting and helps you reach out to real people. You need to know who your clients are, what they need and how you can best connect with them. Narrowing your broad range of clients to those who benefit the most from your company helps everyone. Discover who is worth targeting and how you can effectively employ customer service or referral programs to reach them.
Use social media tools to add delight
Foster a culture of delight through systems that help you truly understand your customers and prospects. Social media tools can help you efficiently accomplish this goal. Regularly share items that are informative, relevant and backed by authoritative sources. Of course, your company should be active on social media, maintain a blog and share relevant videos – but do not stop there. Continue to give your clients and customers resources that engage and delight them. When companies stop delighting their clients is when the competition can step in and fill the gap. So give your customers the attention they deserve.
Build delight into your culture
Delight should be at the forefront of how you emphasize company values to your team. There is no handbook to prepare your team for the array of experiences they might have with customers, but you can prepare your team by focusing on company values. Make delight a core value of your business. Convince existing employees of its importance, hire people who share this value and make it an instinctive part of the activity of your sales force.
Nurture relationships over time
The goal of all these steps is to help you build relationships. You need to gain the trust of your customers, and you can only do that by building a relationship. First and foremost, be honest. Focus on building long-term relationships with clients so that they know you care more about them than just selling a product once. Focus on your 12-month, 5-year and 10-year goals, and remember that sales will come after you have gained trust.
As you attempt to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers, you may want to embrace emotional analytics, which helps you track how customers feel after an interaction with your company. There are several different software options available that can help you gather this type of information so that you are able to easily identify areas that need improvement.
Over the long-term, relationship marketing will be the most critical component to your success. If you choose to ignore it or mismanage it, your company will likely eventually fail. But if you acquire the right systems, work to understand your audience, foster a culture of delight in your workplace, nurture long-term customer relationships, and embrace new technology to reach out to customers, you will help ensure your company’s long-term growth and success.