Customer Experience Management (CEM) has become a key point of differentiation in many industries today. Forrester Research has shown that customer experience leaders achieve over five times the year-on-year revenue growth of laggards. To meet customer expectation, you need to deliver a highly personalized customer experience at each stage of the customer journey. In this blog, I want to look at the key benefits an enterprise-wide CEM software solution will bring to your company.
We’ve always known that maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty were important to the health of your business. But, in today’s digital world, delivering a good experience at the point of interaction or purchase alone is no longer enough. You need to be able to create an excellent experience – even delight your customer – across multiple customer touchpoints. McKinsey & Company has found that measuring satisfaction across a customer’s entire journey was a 30% better predictive measure of customer satisfaction than measuring satisfaction at each interaction.
Companies are investing heavily in customer experience management and there is evidence that it is beginning to pay dividends. The annual US Customer Experience Index found that the number of companies giving ‘good’ customer experience more than doubled between 2016 and 2017. However, it was not all good news. The survey also demonstrated than just over 5% of companies provided ‘excellent’ customer experience.
It’s clear that companies that can offer highly personalized and individualized customer experiences give themselves a major advantage in increasing sales, retaining customers and delivering outstanding customer service. This would be virtually impossible without an enterprise-wide CEM solution.
What is customer experience management (CEM)?
Gartner describes CEM as ‘the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy’. This somewhat dry definition needs a little bit of further clarification by taking each word in turn:
- Customer – No customer experience strategy will succeed without a clear understanding of each individual customer. The power of the best CEM software is its ability to create a single view of the customer so that you really know what their likes, preferences and habits.
- Experience – You have to understand that the customer experience is as much emotional as it is logical. The customer experience you deliver has to be just that – an experience. It can’t simply be a series of well-crafted customer interactions.
- Management – A successful customer experience strategy will focus on the entire customer journey. It will bring together and empower sales, marketing, support and customer service to collaborate, share information and produce a consistent, unified customer experience for each individual customer.
How can your customer experience management solution deliver real return on investment (ROI) to your business? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
What are the 10 key benefits of CEM?
With an enterprise-wide CEM platform in place, your organization will receive a number of business benefits, including:
- Become a ‘customer-centric’ business
According to a Walker survey, customer experience will pass product and price as the key brand differentiator by 2020. This means really putting the customer at the heart of your business. Becoming a customer-centric organization means truly understanding your customer and having the agility to respond to their wants and expectations. An effective CEM platform provides in-depth data analysis you can use to quickly establish the behaviors and interests of all your customers. You can align your business strategies and policies to the needs of your customers. The best CEM software breaks down the departmental silos and allows everyone to work together in a more customer-focused manner
- The power of personalized customer communications
By better understanding your customer, CEM allows you to plan and implement improved customer engagement based on the actual requirements of each individual customer. The best CEM solutions enable ‘personalization at scale’ where one or 10 million personalized communications can be sent in real-time. The ROI benefits can be massive. Consulting group, BCG, comments: “Already brands that create personalized experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies and proprietary data for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%, according to our research—two to three times faster than those that don’t.”
- Deliver omnichannel customer experiences
Customers today connect across multiple customer engagement channels – websites, email, social media, mobile apps, phone and more – and they expect the customer experience to be consistent across channels. Creating an omnichannel customer experience will help provide you with a holistic view of each individual customer and their interactions with your company. The Aberdeen Group found that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers – compared to 33% for others.
- Increase channels, increase profitability
Companies are getting better at delivering customer experience but there is a long way to go. One survey showed that only 7% of customers said that the customer experience they received typically met their expectations. Customers now expect as standard to interact with your company how, when and by whatever channel they want. The company that can consistently deliver this level of customer experience will win. In fact, another survey found that over 85% of customers would pay more for better customer experience.
- Measure and improve customer loyalty
As a 10% increase in customer retention can lead to a 30% increase in the value of the company, building customer loyalty is essential for every business. The best CEM software helps you provide better customer service to every individual customer and helps identify those customers that are likely to provide the ‘word of mouth’ recommendations that will cost-effectively grow your business.
- Turn customers into your sales team
Customers are increasingly sophisticated and less likely to react to traditional marketing techniques. One area remains a very powerful and cost-effective weapon: word of mouth marketing. Customer advocates help build your business for virtually no expense. In fact, research shows that word of mouth is the primary factor for as much as 50% of all purchasing decisions. The right CEM software helps you identify, nurture and reward your customer advocates.
- Reduce customer churn
It is expensive to acquire new customers and returning customers spend on average 67% more than first time customers. In fact, one piece of research suggests that customer churn costs US business $41 billion every year. Implementing CEM will help you identify the customer accounts that are at risk. You can identify the issues and take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation and improve their customer experience.
- Build customer feedback into your business
Customer feedback is an excellent way ensure your business is on the right track. The problem with the traditional approach is that it was through hugely expensive market research projects that, when delivered, were already based on historical data. In the digital world, things move much faster than this approach can accommodate. Modern CEM software allows you to instantly and regularly gain feedback from customers. It includes embedded analytics that can tell you how your customers actually engage with your company today, predict what customer engagement will look like tomorrow and collect and analyze data from social media and the web to conduct ‘sentiment’ analysis to identify potential buying trends before they happen.
- Motivate and empower your front line staff
There is an old saying: ‘happy staff equals happy customers’. Improve the employee experience and you will improve the customer experience. Regardless of their position, no member of staff wants to be continually bogged down in administrative activities. The want to feel armed and empowered with the information they need to make a difference within the business. There is a growing body of research showing empowered staff are more productive and more loyal. While the CEM solution is mostly for external customer engagement, it also has a strong internal element that delivers the right information to the right staff at the right time.
- Use AI and Analytics to provide relevant customer experience
The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytics makes it possible to sift through and analyze huge amounts of data from different sources. This allows you to quickly establish customer preference and sentiment to create and deliver personalized customer experience. More than this, the emergence of customer service ‘chatbots’ allows organizations to automatically answer customer queries in real-time. Using AI, the chatbots continually learn – without human intervention – so that the customer experience improves over time.
Why choose OpenText for CEM?
It should be clear that, like Enterprise Information Management (EIM), CEM is not a single solution but comprises a series of CEM software components. OpenText™ is one of the few companies that have a portfolio that comprises all the main CEM solutions. For example, Forrester has named OpenText as a leader in Customer Communications Management. Key CEM software solutions from OpenText include:
- OpenText TeamSite™ is an easy-to-use web content management (WCM) platform to help you create more personal, visually rich, two-way digital customer experiences.
- OpenText Exstream is a powerful “Customer Communications Management (CCM) Anywhere” platform so you can engage anywhere, integrate anywhere and deploy anywhere for more connected customer journeys.
- OpenText Media Management serves the entire enterprise by extending business processes with digital media workflows and DAM services for secure, controlled access to digital media assets.
- OpenText Qfiniti delivers a unified, centrally managed workforce optimization (WFO) platform for multichannel interaction analysis, with real-time agent support and contact center performance management capabilities.
- OpenText LiquidOffice™ is an intelligent forms automation solution that enables organizations to automate document and forms-driven processes using electronic forms and workflow capabilities for improved efficiency, control and customer satisfaction.
- OpenText Experience Analytics is a scalable customer experience analytics, reporting, and data visualization platform that enables teams to design, deploy, and manage secure, interactive web applications, reports, and dashboards fed by multiple data sources.
- OpenText Optimost™ is an optimization platform that uses analytics, experimentation, and OpenText expertise to maximize the value of your websites, mobile experiences, and campaigns.
- OpenText Explore enables analysis of call recordings and chat sessions in combination with behavioral data from social media, worldwide blogs, web forums, and news coverage and then mines this rich data dynamically for underlying meaning.