Sent: 24-11-2009 10:32:01
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Customer Experience Management Part 2
In the first part of this series I looked at what Customer Experience Management (CEM) was and how it is claimed to be different from Customer Relationship Management (CRM). In the second part of the series of more detailed articles soon to appear in the ATC Monthly Digest, I consider what you need to do to ensure that your business is customer centric? This is a brief over view of that piece.
What all too many forget is that every time a customer interacts with a company, a customer experience is created. Customers inevitably talk about their experiences to others. Advocates are customers who recommend a business based on good experiences; opponents are those who actively criticize it. Information from advocates highlights where the company is performing well and delivering the experiences that customers expect. Information from opponents identifies where they are failing their customers.
To be successful with a CEM strategy, it must be engaging. To engage your customers, you must first engage your staff (which is illustrated in the Digest article by an amusing and very relevant example). It's not so much what we experience, it's how we experience it. People need to be engaged which is the real key.
Whilst a CRM strategy will provide all sorts of ways and means to learn about the customer, one basic ingredient is missing according to many who support the CEM approach. That is simply the brand of the company.
The argument is that brand is not something that is built through advertising. It is something far more personal. It is developed whenever people come into contact with a company be it with the receptionist, the person who answers the telephone, or the adviser they meet when discussing their financial circumstances. At every touch point an impression is made and the summation of those experiences is interpreted by the individual as their perception of that brand. This is important as it is suggested that a CEM strategy that is not branded is not likely to be effective.
A branded customer experience amplifies your brand via intentional and consistent delivery of brand experiences every time they come into contact with the company, no matter who in that company they meet, or how they experience the brand (i.e. through personal contact, through word of mouth, or through some form of media or impersonal communication). Only when you're branded, can you differentiate. Only when you're differentiated, can you develop loyalty.
Sounds all pretty basic. Unfortunately it is not as many companies seem to be ignoring these concepts.
Believe it or not research from a survey of the customers of 362 companies found that only 8% described their experience as 'superior'. If that was not bad enough, this was in stark contrast to what the companies themselves thought. 80% believed the experience they have been providing was in fact 'superior'. Whatever way you look at it, that is a massive gap what the companies thought and what the customers believed.
As the authors note, the companies need to try and understand the full range and unvarnished reality of their customers' experiences to gain an understanding of just what is happening.
In the previous piece I mentioned some work by Reichheld. He came up with a relatively simple method to start the process (I stress start, more is required). He developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which involves asking one simple question, namely, 'How likely is that that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?' Reichheld argues that if your company has a substantially higher NPS than the competition, it is likely to grow at a much faster rate than its competitors. Although limited, the NPS can help companies make a judgment as to how far they have progressed in terms of delivering an outstanding or perfect customer experience.
There is obviously much more to this and the above is only a brief outline of the second article in the ATC Digest series. Next time I will summarise the third and final part in that series that provides details on how to implement a CEM approach as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid.
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