Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Blogger Tom Wentworth: Customer Experience Management - Technology or Strategy?

Customer Experience Management (CXM) is important to all businesses, there is no argument there. But what seems to be a common misconception is that CXM comes from a software product you install and that with the click of a button and a short download you can provide the ultimate customer experience.
One of the first things a successful business needs to recognize is the mindset that CXM is not a product; it is a strategy and discipline. No matter how you engage with a company, you should have a seamless experience. There is no technology you can install that gives you customer experience; it is a business process that technology plays a significant role in.
What Customer Experience Is
The most important thing to begin with is a corporate belief that customer experience is an important method to keep loyal customers as well as ultimately grow revenue. As a company, you need to instill the principle that anything that is experience related is a discipline and not a product, in order to achieve business goals through Customer Experience Management.
According to a recent Forrester Research, Inc. report,
"CXM technologies should not be confused with the profession of understanding and leading customer experience design activities. Rather, CXM solutions allow businesses to manage and optimize the customer experience through content management, commerce, targeting, analytics, and optimization capabilities across digitally enabled customer touchpoints.”
What Technology Provides
The technology factor does play a role in CXM because for most organizations, the digital channels are some of the most important touch points in a customer experience discipline. Customers visit websites, they join Facebook pages and they tweet at organizations, all of which have technology components to them.
For the most part, companies have made investments with existing customer experience solutions that provide information organizations use as a basis for CXM strategies. For example, analytics solutions provide a way for organizations to track data, which in turn allows them to be customer centric because to have a good CXM platform you need to have a strong data management strategy in place.
You also have to be able to track customers and that is a tie to CRM solutions. Email remains important because it is one of the predominant methods of communication used to keep in contact with customers. Web Content Management platforms are also important because content is the cornerstone of cross-channel engagement.

The approach to integrating technology with an overall Customer Experience Management strategy will prevent companies from seeking out any type of “rip and replace” technology to solve a CXM problem, which doesn’t actually exist. This strategy provides an opportunity to connect these integral pieces of your organization to content and context, which is the basis for implementing a successful customer experience.

The fundamental building block to a successful CXM strategy is content. Once there is buy in from the top of the organization that CXM should be considered a discipline, and this is a goal for the organization, content is then used to determine how it is customers want to do business with the company. If you integrate Web Content Management with your existing “Systems of Experience”, you can begin to market to customers in a holistic, cross channel way rather than the siloed approach we have seen fail in the past.

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