Buyer's Handbook: Customer experience management enhances branding and success Article 3 of 4


Maximize and manage customer experience with CEM tools

CEM software provides the technological support necessary to successfully manage the customer experience. Discover the extensive benefits the right platform can provide.

Superior customer service is one way an organization can stand out from the competition. A CEM software system can provide extensive benefits as it works to improve and manage customer experience. Good products can increase customer satisfaction, reduce customer churn, foster positive word-of-mouth marketing and increase customer engagement.

Customer experience management (CEM) software provides admins with a 360-degree view of the customer from multiple touchpoints, including social media interactions. Using predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, CEM tools help companies predict likely customer churn, monitor and manage customer experience in real time, and respond rapidly to customer concerns and complaints.

Fetch valuable customer insights

CEM tools can analyze feedback from every customer interaction so admins can better understand emerging trends and customer service issues. CEM systems collect this data from multiple sources: retail interactions, loyalty programs, contact center customer service, web and e-commerce behavioral data as well as social media.

Company decision-makers can drill down into this data to better understand customer behavior and manage customer experience. For example, an enterprise may learn that its customers use social media as a last resort to voice complaints before taking their business elsewhere, while phone calls or emails to customer support may indicate that providing a discount offer for the next purchase is enough to prevent customer churn.

Address customer concerns in real time

Companies that are slow to address customer concerns not only risk further customer wrath, but also develop an unflattering reputation on social media. Social media allows customers to repeatedly post about a problem or contact the company via direct message, so it has fostered the expectation that companies will respond immediately to concerns. If a company's typical response time is three days, that's plenty of time for customers to deflect and take their business elsewhere.

One of the biggest benefits of a good CEM platform is that it notifies companies (in real time) of concerns and complaints that could potentially cost them business so that they can take necessary action to retain the customer, whether that's through a refund, a discount or an apology.

Choose customer investments wisely

Any company that expects to succeed in today's business climate, whether as a B2B or B2C brand, needs to provide an exceptional, personalized and responsive customer experience and know how to properly manage customer experience.

One vital way CEM platforms manage customer experience is by constantly collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources to help companies to figure out what methods of customer service, advertising, marketing and other interactions are most effective to foster customer retention. Measuring your Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) at different phases of the customer journey as well as after different interactions can show, for example, that the most loyal customers prefer to use the phone to resolve complaints, or that they respond best to targeted offers on specific days. Data from the Customer Effort Score (CES) can show admins how easy (or not) it is for a customer to interact with a company. This helps companies focus their investments on the channels and methods that are proving to be the most profitable and scale back on less fruitful ones.

Additionally, this data that CEM tools harvest can also help shape future investments. For example, a company may want to invest in a mobile app for customers. However, if the data from their CEM system shows that the company's customers only use mobile devices to look up information, companies can conclude that it would be an unwise investment before they make the plunge.

Measure and improve customer loyalty

NPS, CSAT and CES data helps companies measure how well they're serving the customer. NPS, in particular, provides insight into how engaged the customers are with the brand. CEM systems also aggregate social media sentiment, purchase data and other data, some of which provides metrics into the customer's lifetime value and can predict customer churn or future purchasing patterns.

Taking all this feedback into account helps companies create context around customer interactions, e.g., if a longtime customer has a history of complaints.

This kind of information can help customer service departments deal with issues appropriately and also provides an opportunity to improve the relationship with the customer through targeted marketing programs and special offers. CEM system data and recommendations can even strengthen the brand preference by creating personalized experiences for customers. Companies are able to retrieve information about customers' preferred communication methods, the product lines from which they're likely to purchase, and the best and most effective ways to inspire customer loyalty.

Editor's note: With extensive research into the customer experience management market, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors with considerable market presence and that offer CEM software that is enterprise-facing rather than customer-facing. Our research included Gartner, Forrester and TechTarget surveys.

Improve the omnichannel experience

In the past, companies may have relied solely on data from loyalty cards or input into CRM systems to glean insight into how customers are interacting with them. However, because CEM systems aggregate so much data from different sources, companies have even more insight into how different channels are performing with customers, whether it's in store, online, via mobile devices or on social media.

Align the organization toward the customer experience

Any company that expects to succeed in today's business climate, whether as a B2B or B2C brand, needs to provide an exceptional, personalized and responsive customer experience and know how to properly manage customer experience. The metrics provide direction for everyone in the organization, from the C-suite to contact center employees, marketing and sales departments, and even the back office.

Companies cannot afford to ignore CEM systems if they want to gain a competitive advantage. These tools can help improve revenue streams, lower costs and ultimately improve the bottom line if buyers select the right CEM software to maximize these benefits.

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