I recently searched the internet to find a simple definition of customer experience management and failed miserably. I found helpful definitions, but they seemed a little over complicated. Here is my attempt at defining the term:
The processes, software and strategies adopted by an organisation to accomplish excellent customer experiences.
There are several elements that make up customer experience management (CEM / CXM). This blog post will explore them all to further explain the term.
Customer Journey Mapping
To manage customer experience (CX) it’s important to have a bird’s eye view of the customer journey. The most efficient way to achieve this is by using customer journey mapping. This involves looking at every potential touchpoint a customer may go through whilst on a journey with your company.
Here is a summary of the different stages of any customer journey:
- Discovery & Choice – How do customers find and choose you? What channels are you available on? What type of marketing are you doing?
- Offering – What products or services do you offer? How good are the offers?
- Purchase & Service – What is your company’s customer service like? How easy and smooth is the purchasing process? How friendly and knowledgeable are your staff?
- Loyalty – How do you nurture existing customer relationships? What loyalty programs are on offer?
It’s important to analyse each part of the customer journey looking out for areas to improve.
CXM should involve some kind of software to assist with managing customer data such as feedback and customer satisfaction scores. This may be a simple spreadsheet or a complex automated CX management tool.
Smaller companies or perhaps consultants can track customer feedback using survey software such as jotform. They can also track customer satisfaction scores and customer reviews on a spreadsheet. The data can be analysed and used to make customer improvement plans and to set annual and quarterly CX goals.
Larger companies should opt for a full blown CXM software package. There are many software options out there. CXM software can usually track customer feedback and analyse important data to produce recommendations for CX improvement.
Customer feedback provides a goldmine of data which can be used to improve customer experiences. There are a few steps you can take to get the most out of customer feedback:
- Choose a method to gather feedback – email and phone surveys work best.
- Choose a frequency – how often will you gather feedback?
- Analyse the data – use customer satisfaction scoring or a Net Promoter Score (NPS).
- Create goals and improvement plans based on survey results.
Leadership & Management
The CEO of an organisation will ultimately decide how much focus should be put on customer experience. This focus will then be filtered down to managers and will have an impact on their management style.
Team managers should have a clear vision and strategies aimed at monitoring and improving CX. This should include the ability to coach team members, skills-based training for themselves and their team plus the ability to deal with customer complaints.
Managers play a key role in CXM as they are often leading teams who interact with customers on a day-to-day basis. They will usually have an understanding of customer needs, pain points and issues. They can also heavily influence the customer service being provided by their team.
Managers should be equipped with knowledge, tools and strategies to play their key role in managing the customer experience.
A recent study of over 10,000 customers found one of the main problems customers wanted companies to fix was having friendly and knowledgeable staff. Customer service employees play a huge role in CXM as they are responsible for interacting with your customers. They deserve to be equipped with skills and training that will empower them in their roles.
Here are the five key training areas all customer facing staff and managers should have access to:
- New Starter Training – Every new employee should be given a formal induction to their role and the organisation.
- Technical Skills Training – This involves specific job training that teaches the technical aspect of a person’s role.
- Customer Service Training – This course should teach the basic soft skills needed to deliver exceptional customer service.
- Continuous Professional Development Courses – Including topics such as productivity, time management and problem solving.
- Wellness Training – Courses should be made available on topics such as mental, physical and emotional wellness.
Integrating a robust training program will make a positive contribution to the management of customer experiences. Empowering employees with knowledge will bear much fruit.
Head Of Customer Experience
More than ever before, organisations are recognising the need to appoint a person to lead, monitor and take up the responsibility of CX. Without an appointed person, the responsibility will usually fall in between the CEO, marketing and individual team managers.
All of these departments contribute to the overall customer experience. However, it’s far more effective to have one person whose sole responsibility is to measure, manage and improve customer experiences. The Head of CX will do this by managing all of the elements I’ve mentioned in this post.
The person appointed can provide monthly, quarterly and annual CX reports. They should also create and present plans and strategies to the CEO and the rest of the organisation on how to improve customer experience.
The Head of CX should also aim to reduce the burden on the CEO and team managers in terms of staff training, data analysis and the implementation of CX improvement plans.
Customer Experience Design
The final element of CXM is the design of customer experiences. This involves thoughtfully planning out every interaction, touchpoint and platform that a customer may come into contact with.
The design process should be done by the Head of Customer Experience in partnership with the CEO of an organisation. A great example of this comes from Ralph Lauren who recently redesigned its digital customer experience.
So, there you have it, a full explanation of customer experience management and all of its wonderful elements.
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