Customer experience management (CXM or CEM) helps businesses track, analyze, and refine the way people interact with their brand to increase overall customer satisfaction. It begins as a concept (“are we delighting our customers?”) that’s followed by a series of activities (“how can we be sure?”). Well-executed CXM is an ongoing process of constantly reassessing the customer experience to make sure it’s going well and making adjustments to the touch points that aren’t.
Customer experience management is the method by which companies observe how customers engage with their brand on advertising platforms, social media, websites, and in physical locations, and then implement changes to improve consumer engagement based on those observations.
Why Customer Experience Management Matters
Companies that don’t prioritize customer experience management risk being at a disadvantage over competitors who take the time to learn what their customers want and expect. There’s also a remarkable amount of money on the line. According to the 2020 Digital Marketing Trends Report by Econsultancy and Adobe, companies with a laser-focus on CXM were three times as likely to significantly exceed their top business goal in 2019.
Customer experience management is part of a larger customer relationship management (CRM) process. It’s not a one-time assessment of your customer relationships, but rather an ongoing process you’ll rely on throughout the lifetime of your business.
Monitoring and recording customer interactions across multiple touch points, including email, phone calls, social networks, and your website, can be a complex process. Add in engagement with the support team, billing department, or individual sales agents and the process becomes downright unwieldy. To get the most out of the data you collect, consider using a CRM software to capture, store, and analyze it all.
Freshworks CRM is an ideal choice for any small business or solo entrepreneur wanting a reliable and comprehensive system to complement their CXM strategy. It offers lead, contact, account, and deal management tools to monitor customer activity from the first point of contact. Advanced reports then provide deeper insight into collected data to help business owners improve the customer journey. Visit Freshworks CRM today to register for a 21-day free trial.
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Freshworks CRM, formerly Freshsales, recently rebranded with a new name, new service plans, and access to Freshmarketer automation software. Forever-free plans are still available and include mobile apps, 24×5 support, live chat, and more.
Benefits of Customer Experience Management
The benefits of managing the customer experience are numerous. However, it’s important to note that those rewards are only sustained if CXM becomes an ongoing part of business operations.
Benefits of customer experience management include:
- Better customer retention: Implementing customer experience management almost always dramatically reduces the number of customers that choose to take their business elsewhere. This customer loyalty means recurring sales.
- Visible customer engagement: By having a good experience with your brand, customers are more likely to visibly engage with your company over social media or by posting positive online reviews. Strong customer engagement increases overall brand awareness and the impact of marketing outreach.
- More customer referrals: When customers have a positive experience with your company, they are more inclined to refer you to others. When it comes to brand loyalty, a 2019 Nielsen study revealed that 36% of U.S. consumers are willing to try new products and services, so a word-of-mouth referral might be all it takes to turn a prospect into a customer.
By efficiently managing your customer experience, you will exceed expectations and create loyal customers who are willing to refer you to others. This ultimately means increased revenue and the opportunity for business growth.
How to Track the Customer Experience Journey
It’s not enough to simply phone your customers and ask if they like the product or service they purchased. To make CXM analysis really count, you need insight on what it’s like to be the customer, so you’ll need a lot more data than a single question can provide.
Did you know: Mapping the customer journey is an integral part of a bulletproof customer relationship management strategy. If you don’t already have one in place, check out our guide to creating a CRM strategy and download the accompanying free worksheet to help guide the process.
There are three main areas of the customer journey to explore for a 360-degree picture of their total experience. If CXM strategies are a new concept for your company, consider tackling these one at a time to become familiar with them. By eventually combining the strategies and tracking the results across the entire customer journey, you’ll create an effective CXM process that results in happier consumers.
1. Initial point of customer contact: Observe how customers respond to their initial contact with your brand, including online and in-person interactions. To gather this data, review sales team activities such as the results of cold-calling attempts or prospecting. Don’t forget to also include any marketing outreach campaigns like mass email or social media interactions. Take note of pain points you or your teams encounter and any processes that go exceptionally well.
2. Touch points during the sales journey: Follow customers through the entire sales process to learn what’s working and what’s not. Collect this data from CRM reports, call logs, service desk tickets, and any other areas of customer engagement. Be sure to identify where things began to go wrong in situations that resulted in a lost sale or missed opportunity and review the sequence of events in circumstances that resulted in a win.
3. Post-sale process: Gather post-sale feedback directly from the customer to understand what impacts their long-term satisfaction or loyalty. Post-sale customer satisfaction surveys are a good choice at this step—just be sure to send them out soon after the deal is closed so the customer’s experience is fresh in their mind. Some companies even incentivize surveys with a discount on future purchases to encourage completion.
Post-sale feedback questions may include:
- How easy is the ordering process on our website?
- How would you rate the checkout process?
- Which of the following products do you find most useful?
- What do you like best about the design of our store?
- What was the most difficult part of your shopping experience?
- How likely are you to recommend our service to a friend or family member?
Once your analysis is complete, it’s time to decide which parts of the buyer’s journey need to be improved so you can implement necessary changes. These changes can be simple things, like extending customer service hours or putting the “buy” button higher on your webpage so customers see it right away. Some improvements may be more involved, like updating your entire product portfolio or your changing retail store design.
CXM & CRMs: What Is the Difference?
Customer experience management is in the same family as customer relationship management, but they’re cousins, not twins. CXM is about how the customer interacts with your brand, while CRM is about how the people behind your brand interact with the customer. Your company can design a website that provides the best possible experience to visitors, but without a solid plan to manage the relationships that evolve from that interaction, you could still lose a sale.
Customer relationship management is about nurturing the connection you have with people who use your product or service. It centers around building trust, gaining loyalty, and delivering what you promise. That’s where CRM software comes into the picture. CRM systems give you tools to manage the data you gather on each customer or client as well as features like customizable reports, workflow automation, and sales pipeline management that turn that data into actionable information you can use to support the customer relationship as it develops.
By creating and implementing ongoing customer experience management strategies that focus on tracking customer behavior and making any necessary changes, you’ll begin to see increased sales, improved customer retention, and better brand loyalty. Remember: Your overriding goal isn’t to shoehorn your customers into the experience you want them to have—it’s to give them the experience they expect to have.