If customer experience management (CXM) was just a touchpoint problem, we’d be pretty good at solving it by now. Innovation has bred a bevy of content management, mobile app platforms, and eCommerce solutions (everything from Square to Hybris). You create a customer experience a thousand different ways. Those technologies available to manage direct customer touchpoints are incredible. Yet, they are arguably underutilized in terms of potential, because of one reason.
Customer experience management isn’t just a customer touchpoint problem.
What is customer experience management?
The term “customer experience management” gets thrown around, quite a bit, so let me define it. Customer experience management describes the strategy of organizing people, processes, and technology around building customer advocacy and brand value. It’s making a conscious effort to focus outwardly on your customers, instead of inwardly on your own organization.
CXM is often described from a technology perspective. Modern tech innovation has created an informed consumer that demands an excellent customer experience. That same kind of innovation has also created the technologies that better enable organizations to respond to those demands. Customer experience management is in many ways a technology issue, but not exclusively.
CXM is also a data problem.
Data is messy business. It’s hard to manage, catalog, and analyze. Data is complicated and full of wild goose chases. And to make matters worse, now data is BIG! The ways you are required to interact with data have completely changed. Long-standing rules of thumb have become antiquated. This matters for a big reason.
Underneath it all, data is key for unlocking outstanding customer experiences. Data is where you can mine for aggregate information about your customer’s wants and needs. It’s where you find the insight to set your business apart. Data tells you more about your customers than your customers consciously can. Being able to properly extract that insight takes skill, technology investment, and time.
Modern CXM requires tools that make this data analysis possible. It demands that you apply the insights from that data, in real time, enabling an on demand customer experience. It’s no wonder the web is rife with content that screams for you to invest in data and/or marketing technology. Most organizations have a lot of room to grow.
CXM is also a visibility problem.
Quite a bit goes on behind the scenes of a memorable customer experience. To the customer, it’s just one touchpoint that did a really great job. But, to the organization, it’s an entire system of people, processes, and technologies, all of which empowered that touchpoint. If you can’t see how those people, processes, and technologies are operating, then how can you make adjustments to improve how they work?
It is crucial that you have visibility into your entire customer value stream. It’s partially a technology (and data) problem, but in many ways, it’s less tangible. Strong managers utilize a combination of technology, qualitative research, and observation. They empower the organization to build incredible customer experiences from ground up. Managing this “under the hood” visibility is every bit as important as managing your direct customer touchpoints.
CXM is also a platform problem.
If you can’t record, analyze, or respond to your data effectively, you might have a platform problem. If you can’t see into the operations of you customer experience engine, you might have a platform problem. If anything about your customer experiences are less than stellar, guess what. You might have a platform problem.
I’m using the term “platform” somewhat loosely, in this context. Yes, I mean the technology platform, but I also mean the people that interact with that technology and their processes for doing so. This holistic concept of a platform—a system, really—is the essence of your customer experience management. Wherever the platform is a fails or succeeds, so will your customer experiences.
Therefore, you must think about how to architect a platform that meets today’s needs and serves as a foundation for tomorrow’s. You must select technologies that streamline your organization’s specific process and gels with your organization’s culture. The platform must be able to grow as you do. Otherwise, you’ll wind up squeezing all the juice from the lemon. You’ll have to go picking, yet again.
Many of the web’s talking (typing?) heads like the explain customer experience management in simplistic terms. Responsive design equals mobile-friendly equals good customer experience! Marketing automation equals the right message at the right time equals good customer experience! Indeed, customer experience management is a customer touchpoint problem. But, it’s also a problem to solve in many other ways.