As a brand or retailer in the age of digital disruption, the customer journey from pre-sales research to retention has created a growing demand for rich, engaging, and consistent experiences across multiple channels and touchpoints. Omni-channel commerce has gone from buzzword to action item.
The revolution of Web 2.0 turned consumers into publishers with product or services opinions reaching tens of millions, and that little complaint letter on bad restaurant service became a viral video. The dynamics with the consumer relationship shifted so completely and quickly that the web forced businesses to end their one dimensional monologues and begin a conversation with consumers – and ultimately the control of the conversation went to the masses.
The effect of these revolutions have left us with an evolving business practice referred to as Customer Experience Management or CEM. This new imperative set of practices and business values can enable organizations to optimize consistently great customer experiences.
Digital Clarity Group asserts that CEM begins with the very first touchpoints and encompasses the entire relationship with a brand:
“Customer experience (CX) is the totality of a customer’s interactions with a company or brand. Note that in this definition, customer refers as well to prospects – those who have not yet conducted a transaction with the company – and that the totality of interactions includes all channels and touch points over the entire life of the relationship.
As a business discipline, customer experience management refers to the strategies, processes, skills, technologies, and commitments that aim to ensure positive and competitively outstanding customer experiences .With specific reference to technology, CEM names the array of software tools that organizations use to create, store, deploy, analyze, and optimize the aggregations of digital content that make up or contribute to the user experiences on both digital and non-digital channels.”
As a business discipline, CEM demands a commitment to knowing, understanding and serving customer needs, and that commitment needs to run deep throughout the entire organization. This isn’t a software solution, a plug-and-play package that can simply be turned on with the flip of a digital switch. Instead, businesses need to take the long view. What does the technology landscape look like in terms of helping to create or assist the digital consumer’s experience? There is a rapidly evolving technological ecosystem that needs to be implemented based on strategy, not on budget.
And remember—the technologies are not the experience.
This approach is new and may be painful, as just a handful of organizations are prepared to meet this challenge with all the in-house resources in place to create and deploy the strategies that will inform the technological investments. Most companies will need to look outside their own conference rooms for help with this transformation. Is your brand ready to take the leap?
To read more on CEM, the urgency of implementing this in your business and the three inconvenient truths about digital transformation, download The CEM Imperative: Customer Experience in the Age of the Empowered Consumer.