Customer experience management is a strategic, company-wide effort aimed at providing the best possible customer experience. Businesses want to provide a great customer experience because it helps them stand out against the competition. To be successful with customer experience management, organizations must have a centralized CX strategy and invest in tools like a customer data platform (CDP) so they can provide exceptional omnichannel experiences.
What Is Customer Experience Management?
When businesses engage in customer experience management, they form a strategy around improving the customer experience, including programs to bolster customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Customer experience management considers the entire customer journey, which could include partners and vendors outside a company. For example, to be successful with customer experience management, a restaurant should form good relationships with delivery services to ensure that customers receive orders quickly and professionally. Though delivery services are provided by another company, the customer views the delivery process as part of the overall experience.
The goal for customer experience management is for a company to align with its customers’ needs and behaviors. A company must set high expectations and deliver a seamless experience that addresses its customers’ needs to stand out from competitors. To meet that goal, businesses should make sure their customer experience strategy includes the following important elements:
- Coordination: Businesses must look at the customer experience holistically, using a centralized database and strategy instead of having separate teams at step in the customer journey.
- Analytics: Businesses should measure success and identify areas for improvement using metrics like customer experience analytics—or CX analytics—and predictive analytics.
- Programming: Businesses should use analytics to develop programs targeting the specific needs and interests of their audience.
Because consumer preferences change, it’s important for businesses to use customer experience management to adapt. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic affected how consumers interact with businesses, encouraging more online purchases or hybrid methods like buy online, pick up in-store. However, when consumers shop online, it’s easy for them to switch to another business, so a positive customer experience is a key differentiator that makes a business stand out. Businesses now need to provide seamless handoffs between the online and in-store experience so customers have an exceptional omnichannel customer experience.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Experience Management?
Effective customer experience management has many benefits that can improve a business’s bottom line. For example, consider the following benefits and the impact on a business:
- Better customer satisfaction: When businesses focus on the customer experience and improvements that make the purchasing process simpler and more enjoyable, customers are more satisfied. Customer satisfaction leads to further benefits like customer retention and increased revenue. According to a report by Invespcro, 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a purchase if they have a great experience, which highlights the importance of CX.
- Repeat business: An excellent customer experience encourages customers to return to a business for future needs. Customer experience management reduces the customer churn rate because satisfied customers keep coming back, developing customer lifetime value and familiarity with the business.
- Word of mouth: When customers have a memorable customer experience, they often tell others about it, helping a business stand out from the competition. Exceptional customer reviews online and personal referrals have a significant impact on persuading prospects to choose the business.
- Efficiencies: Businesses that use customer experience management can access data from multiple channels like the web, a contact center, and a point-of-sale system in one place. By centralizing customer data and looking at it holistically, businesses can develop efficiencies and make the most of investments in resources like software.
Effective customer experience management helps a business grow by retaining existing business and drawing in new customers through great referrals. When the business attracts new customers who also have positive experiences, the circle of influence spreads. Those new customers tell more people about the business and are more likely to return for future needs too.
Customer Experience Management and Marketing
Effective customer experience management supports a company’s marketing efforts by helping determine the direction the marketing team should go. Rather than relying on a traditional marketing funnel with a set path from the top down, marketers can analyze and act on more data using a customer journey map. This map shows all the paths that a customer might take when researching alternatives, interacting with the business, and choosing a solution.
With this information, marketers can better understand their target audience and cater to their preferences. Additionally, customer experience management means the marketing team is communicating with prospects frequently and effectively, which leads to more conversions, repeat business, and referrals.
What Tools Are Used for Customer Experience Management?
The most important tool for improving customer experience is the right customer data platform. Customer data platforms provide a set of foundational tools that ingest data from different channels and allow it to be used for omnichannel marketing campaigns. For example, a customer data platform can combine information about customers from loyalty programs and website visits so that the data isn’t siloed across multiple teams. The platforms provide a central database so that a business can better understand its customers and provide a unified customer experience across marketing channels.
In addition to the foundational tools in a customer data platform, businesses can also use a variety of other customer experience management platforms. Customer experience management platforms help businesses manage different aspects of the customer experience. The following tools and software are often used for customer experience management:
- Customer support platforms help businesses communicate with customers and solve issues.
- Web experience management software and content management systems help businesses create content for their target audience and improve the online experience.
- Customer feedback tools and customer satisfaction measurement tools help businesses understand how customers are interacting with the business. Surveys and other ways of measuring satisfaction can identify areas for improvement.
Though these tools differ in scope and features, customer experience management software overall should help businesses improve the customer experience. These tools address different parts of the customer journey, analyzing how customers currently interact with a business and identifying ways that customers can have a better experience.
What Metrics Are Used to Measure Improvement in Customer Experience Management?
When measuring the success of a customer experience management strategy, a business should look at actual data and metrics. To be successful, the business must track more than just customer relationship management data, which is basic information about a customer and any interactions along the customer journey. It needs to also track the following more granular customer experience metrics to help measure success and improve customer experience management:
- Satisfaction metrics: Businesses can gather a net promoter score based on customer survey responses that ask customers to rate whether they would recommend a product or business to a friend.
- Customer loyalty metrics: Businesses can measure customer loyalty and churn by measuring the customer retention rate and how often customers make repeat purchases.
- Customer advocacy metrics: Businesses can track customer advocacy through surveys that ask how a new customer heard about the business. They can also track referrals by offering discounts to existing customers when a referred customer makes a purchase.
- Customer sentiment analysis: Businesses can understand how customers feel about a brand or its service by using tools like text analysis and natural language processing. By classifying text as positive, neutral, or negative, sentiment analysis helps businesses understand the current customer satisfaction score and track changes over time.
- Web metrics: Businesses can track customer behavior online to determine areas for improvement. For example, if a website has a high bounce rate, the business might need to overhaul its website to make it more usable.
- Customer service metrics: Businesses can measure customer service effectiveness through metrics like response time and average handle time, which show if customer service agents are efficient at resolving customer issues.
When businesses have a centralized customer database and robust customer analytics, they gain better insight about their customers. For example, they can use this data to identify customers at churn risk and predict cross-sale opportunities. Marketing and sales teams can then use the data to make decisions that drive the business, such as determining the next best channel for communication. To make customer experience metric measurement meaningful, businesses must set realistic goals and meet their customers’ true needs rather than focusing solely on hitting a metric number.
What Are the Challenges with Customer Experience Management?
When businesses invest time and resources in customer experience management, they provide a better customer experience, but there are challenges to overcome to make sure they’re meeting customer expectations. The three most important pitfalls to avoid in customer experience management are not understanding customers, not defining a customer experience culture, and not training employees.
Not Understanding Customers
To provide a great customer experience, a business needs to first understand who it’s marketing to and what those people are interested in. If the business doesn’t understand its customers, its messaging might not resonate, or its strategies might prevent conversions. For example, the way the business provides services and when it engages in customer interactions will differ depending on whether its target audience is young or elderly.
To overcome this challenge, marketers can use marketing attribution to help match specific marketing campaigns to sales and conversions so they understand which tactics are working well. They can also use analytics and surveys to learn more about their target audience and their interests.
Not Defining a Customer Experience Culture
Organizations that make customer service a key part of their culture are more successful with customer experience management. If they don’t define their culture as one that provides great service, employees might not make it a priority or customers might not notice. To overcome this challenge, those businesses should go out of their way to develop a customer-first mindset. They should share real-world testimonials with staff and on their websites so that employees and customers alike see the impact of having an exceptional customer experience.
Not Training Employees on Customer Experience
Even if a business understands its audience and integrates the importance of the customer experience into its culture, it still needs to train employees to provide a great customer experience. Employees who haven’t worked at a company that puts customer experience first might not understand the subtle ways that attitudes, availability, and other factors impact the customer experience. To overcome this challenge, the business should consider bringing in human resource experts to share tips and motivate employees to make customer experience a priority. By providing employees with specific examples and case studies for interacting with customers, the business can empower them to deliver the best possible customer experience.
How Does a Customer Data Platform Support Better Customer Experience Management?
Customer data platforms ingest data from different channels, allowing sales and marketing teams to use the data to improve omnichannel marketing campaigns. Customer data platforms are different from customer service platforms because they provide more data across all areas of a business.
The goal of a customer service platform is to provide knowledge to customer service agents for a more streamlined service experience. Customer data platforms support better customer experience management by helping companies centralize efforts for collecting data and profiling customers.
Unified Data Operations
Customer data platforms help companies compile all data on their performance and customers in one place so that teams can work together from the same knowledge base. Companies with unified data operations can provide a good customer experience because they can see all data in context and understand how customers interact with the company across the customer journey. They can also develop marketing campaigns that truly address customer needs based on findings from analytics metrics.
Unified Customer Profile
Customer data platforms help companies use data to define an accurate customer profile for their target audience. Companies with a unified customer profile can provide a better customer experience because they fully understand their customers’ needs and preferences. They can also easily identify strategies that work and track progress toward conversion goals.
How Do I Learn More?
To succeed with customer experience management, an organization must invest in data tools and make it a priority to meet customer needs. Businesses must involve stakeholders from across the company to understand the whole customer journey and get everyone on board with a culture of exceptional customer service. The result is rewarding when businesses win a loyal customer base that spreads the word about the great service provided.
To learn more about customer experience management and customer data, browse the articles available on CDP.com.