Customer experience is the beating heart of any company. Chris Mean, chief operating officer at Columbus UK, describes how Customer Experience Management can intelligently inform business decisions.
Providing the best possible customer experience (CX) is crucial for any successful business. For this to happen, everyone in the organisation must be in sync with what’s going on in and around the company, particularly when it comes to customer interactions. That’s where Customer Experience Management (CXM) comes into play.
CXM solutions manage and intelligently act on the many layers of information flowing through a business along the various stages of the customer journey
CXM expands and enhances the classic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) concept, which mainly operated as a contact management system. While it was a useful place to get telephone numbers, or to measure salespeople’s performances, it was never viewed as a crucial element in supporting the customer journey.
Thanks to CXM, that’s all started to change. Building on CRM, CXM solutions manage and intelligently act on the many layers of information flowing through a business along the various stages of the customer journey. CXM doesn’t just enable us to “market and sell”: more importantly, it helps us “develop and serve” our customers in a personalised manner. This can include interactions on social media, or personalising and optimising a customer’s favourite website. It can range from the development of fully servitised products using the Internet of Things, Case Management and Field Service Management to maximising product availability through predictive maintenance algorithms.
A modern CXM solution is a platform for all the communications within a company and covers touchpoints like the various digital channels that are now so central to business. CXM considers how happy customers are and whether they are likely to recommend your product or service to others, rather than simply looking to their next purchase or other company interaction. This deeper level of knowledge can provide unprecedented insights into consumer habits and the best ways to boost customer loyalty. It’s an integral part of digital transformation: rather than simply overseeing a spreadsheet of customers, it helps you seamlessly integrate the wide array of productivity tools that businesses now use.
Buying structures in businesses today are more complicated than ever. In retail, for example, there are multiple buying personas for every prospective customer, from professional (going to work in smart dress) to personal (walking the dog or going mountain biking). Each of these levels of information can be hugely 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.
When it comes to deploying a CXM solution, adopting the following approaches can bring immediate results.
- Think “outside in” and put the customer experience first. The ability to measure and articulate improvements in CX ensures that your efforts truly add customer value, and that you aren’t simply changing processes for the sake of it.
- Pursue a “unified” experience at all stages of the customer journey, including in the touchpoints where departments outside sales engage with and influence your customers. This should be a seamless and consistent experience, where the customer is seen as a single entity throughout. For example, marketing could use a modern Product Information Management (PIM) system to oversee brand and product campaigns, while operations could build field service frameworks or accelerate the introduction of servitisation models.
- Think “agile”, and don’t be afraid to experiment with proofs of concepts. Breaking the project into phases and building on the success of each will help deliver value into the business immediately and validate assumptions on potential return on investment. This also ensures the CXM system picks up users gradually as it moves through its various stages.
- Look to “digital feedback loops”. This Microsoft term describes the use of information to proactively establish and analyse relationships between customers, products and data. Remember, data is the lifeblood of any organisation. The intelligent business solutions of the future will focus less on chasing information and more on supporting decision-making through machine intelligence. It is essential to build this concept into any project.
By putting customers first and processing relevant information consistently to produce actionable insights, companies will gain a competitive advantage. Working with a partner like Columbus, with experience of the best solutions, technologies and approaches, will amplify your results. We work hard to understand our clients’ USPs. Our customers can leverage not only our experience of different products, but perhaps more importantly, our knowledge of what works in different industries to help deliver the best possible CXM solution. By conducting business process analysis, we can identify the surest paths to success.