Customer Experience Management Best PracticesCustomer Experience Management is a dedication to serving customer needs from their perspective. Customers make paychecks and budgets possible, and shareholders leave when customers leave — not the other way around. Hence, profits as the purpose of a business is a misnomer — every organization, and every job, exists to serve a customer need — and profits are a necessary and desirable byproduct of meeting those needs both effectively and efficiently.
Customer Experience Optimization is a concept that few have considered — it is company-wide alignment with customer priorities to grow both revenue and profit naturally. You cannot optimize both revenue and profit unless your company is fully aligned with customer priorities; otherwise waste will prevail in a nonstop hamster wheel trying to get your customers to love your brand.
Customer Experience includes all of the steps a buyer takes to get and use a solution, from the time of a buyer's realization of a need until the buyer deems the need no longer exists. Customer Experience is defined entirely by customers, but the solution provider defines customer experience management (CEM). The customer is the judge of whether the experience was acceptable or stellar, or not. The core of excellent customer experience is having the right product/service work the right way the first time and every time, supported by the right processes, policies, attitudes and decisions.
That requires full engagement across the entire enterprise to prevent junk for customers as well as delight customers with dependable delivery of the brand promise. CEM seeks to understand the gap between desired and current experience as seen from the customer's viewpoint. Then CEM solves the gap holistically and anticipates the evolving needs of the customer to prevent future gaps.
For clarity, see:
- Definition of customer experience management at bottom of this page.
- What is Customer Experience Management? article.
81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition.(1)
10 Characteristics of Customer ExperienceTen characteristics differentiate CEM from the common knowledge of former initiatives such as customer satisfaction, loyalty or customer relationship management. The level of understanding of these characteristics among executives company-wide was assessed in the 2010 ClearAction B2B CEM Benchmarking Study.
- The best understood tenets of CEM (top half of graph below) reflect aspects of customer perception measurement.
- The lesser known tenets describe the customer's high degree of control in characterizing customer experience, and the need for organizations to maintain insatiable curiosity and uncanny adaptability for delivering superior customer experiences.
- 1. Perspective: customer experience is defined entirely by the customer, not the solution provider.
- 2. Preventive: customer experience gravitates toward the easiest and nicest methods to get and use solutions that address customers' needs.
- 3. Duration: customer experience encompasses the point from which customers become aware they have a need until they say that need is extinct.
- 4. Dynamic: customer experience evolves with the customer's context — the purpose and circumstances of their need, and overall experience reference points.
- 5. Choice: customer experience is built on trust and mutual respect for variety; share of budget is more important than loyalty.
- 6. Multi-faceted: customer experience is measured by functional and emotional (social and personal) judgments related to the customers' expectations.
- 7. Operational: customer experience is shaped by all the contributors to an organization's processes, policies and culture, in addition to the physical product or service associated with the customer's need.
- 8. Integrative: customer experience is impacted by the degree of alignment among departments, technologies, channels, etc.
- 9. Anticipatory: customer experience is ongoing, where the present and future are equally or more important than the past.
- 10. Transparent: customer experience sees through the solution provider's motives and intentions, and favors genuine sincerity for the customer's well-being.
- Executive sponsorship
- Formal business process for CEM
- Employee empowerment & engagement
- Organizational learning (knowledge management)
- Quality tools (Pareto, fishbone, etc.)
- Systems thinking
- Change management
- Internal branding
- Recognition and awards
- Incentive pay
- Balanced scorecards
- Relationship skills training
- Conduct a monthly customer interview with live streaming to all employees, including Q&A and a follow-on action workshop. — Sungard Energy & Commodities.
- Visit customers' homes/businesses to observe how they're using the product/service, including work-arounds and integrations with other products/services — CenturyLink and Maersk Line.
- Correlate customer survey ratings with revenue and customer relationship duration, to prioritize funding decisions for product and business development — Citrix.
- Set aside a day for every executive (300+ !) to shadow a front-line employee, and then champion ways to help put customers first throughout the entire company — TELUS.
- Follow-up with every dissatisfied customer survey respondent to apologize and find out what could be done to improve the situation — Virgin Mobile and Intuit.
- Center internal data not on financials, but on customers, with an eye toward growing customer value — Cisco.
- Listen to customers in-depth to understand their pressures as a basis for negotiating more realistic service level agreements that energize front-line employees and foster customer delight — NCR.
Here are the ten ways that customer experience is unique from customer satisfaction:
Customer Experience Management Success FactorsCEM has evolved to a more mature, customer centric field with roots in total quality management and customer satisfaction, and metamorphosis through customer loyalty, customer relationship management (CRM), experiential marketing, and word-of-mouth marketing. CEM encompasses all of the above, with an operational emphasis on enterprise-wide engagement for alignment of what you do and your customer's priorities.
How do you identify those priorities? Best practices in customer sentiment monitoring differentiate between enablers of customer experience (the firm's solution) and customers' desired outcomes, focusing feedback mechanisms on the customer's world rather than the company's world.
If your organization has become disillusioned with customer-focus initiatives, rate your historical use of these essential tools for initiative momentum:
Customer Experience Management Best-Practice Examples:
Here are some great things underway in leading companies:
As the dynamics in the customer's world are constantly evolving, an insatiable curiosity about customers is a key to success. Company-wide alignment with customers prevents waste (improves profit) and prevents customer hassles (improves organic revenue growth).
ClearAction has personal experience implementing these best practices in large, fast-paced organizations that emphasized acheiving strong business results. Let us share practical methodologies and solutions to aid you in your customer experience management journey.
Participate in the 2013 B2B CEM Study
Send your completed customer experience optimization self-assessment (DOCX file) to lynn.hunsaker@ClearAction.biz for advice on how to accelerate customer experience excellence.
Customer Experience Statistics
Customer Experience Tips
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Complimentary article on 4 steps for building a customer-centric culture.
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- B2B CEM Best Practices Study
Customer Experience includes all of the steps a buyer takes to get and use a solution from the time of the buyer's realization of a need until the buyer deems the need no longer exists.
Customer Experience Management is company-wide dedication to serving buyer needs from the buyer's perspective. CEM is a composite of customer management efforts.
Customer Experience Optimization is company-wide alignment with buyer priorities to grow both revenue and profit naturally.