The concept of experience and – notably – customer experience has become increasingly popular in the recent couple of decades. In one of the pioneering works on the topic called “Welcome to the Experience Economy” J. Pine and J. Gilmore argue that while products – and even services – are becoming commoditized and thus could be easily copied, the role of the experience increases . Hence, creating meaningful and seamless experiences for customers is a source of a stronger differentiation, loyalty and higher revenues for companies.
Gartner describes Customer Experience management as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy” . Customer experience is often visualized and managed with the help of Customer Journey Maps; it also focuses more on a qualitative research and “experiential” data, trying to capture customers’ feelings, emotions and inner motivations.
Customer experience management strategy can be presented as consisted of 7 main stages :
- Assessment of needs and customer segmentation – the CEM starts from analyzing customers needs and motivations, their expectations from interaction with the company. Further, they should be segmented based on their behavior / needs / etc.
- Customer Journey Mapping – at this stage it is very important to look closely at identified segments and create a unique CJM for each of them: different segments may have different journeys and pain points.
- Desired experience identification – based on a CJM, actual customer experience should be compared with the “ideal” one. Resulting gaps become the basis for future improvements.
- Designing the brand experience – this stage deals mainly with brand identity and values, and aimed at provoking a certain set of feelings and emotions within a customer when interacting with the brand.
- Structuring of the customer touchpoints – this stage is necessary to ensure the delivery of a consistent CX across the channels.
- Measuring and developing – an important closing stage which then bring us back to the starting point as customer experience management is a continuous process. The overall performance can be measured, for example, with the periodic customer satisfaction survey.
Paired together, CRM and CEM can provide even more powerful insights to act upon. Consider the following example :
“CRM: “50% of my overall customers purchased below $100”
CRM + CEM: “50% of my overall customers who purchased below $100 said they were not greeted at the entrance, and so rated the store experience at an average of 2 out of 5”.
That is to say, CEM helps to understand which touchpoints needs an improvement and what sort of improvement is needed exactly.
For a case study I’d like to provide an example from the airline industry . Travelling with kids, especially toddlers, may sometimes be problematic both for parents and other passengers, and yet most of the airlines don’t address the pain point of this segment specifically. A strategic design consultancy RKS decided to regard this problem as an opportunity and develop a “travelers-with-kids”-friendly customer experience. First thing they did was the insights gathering from the in-depth interviews with their TA and identifying their pain points and feelings. After that, the CJM was created and key touchpoints identified. They were divided into 4 main groups: pre-flight (destination choosing, purchasing, booking), airport departure (check-in, security, waiting, boarding), in-flight (entertainment, ambiance, food and drink, seating, lavatory, storage) and airport arrival (landing, baggage claim, customs, car rental). Finally, based on the customers confessions (read: pain points) and visualized CJM, the whole customer experience was reconsidered. These are the few examples:
- Rent-a-toy service which allows parents to rent a toy of their kid’s choice in the airport for the following flight
- Family-facing seats – so that kids would not kick the seatbacks in front of them
- Spacious lavatories (so it’d be more convenient to change diapers)
- Personal sound curtains to keep babies calm
Even though this is just a possible design of how – potentially – the airline could look like, I considered it a good example for demonstrating CEM mechanism.
Summing up, I would like to note again that while there is no unified view on interrelation between CEM and CRM and “whether CEM is a new CRM” it seems evident that implementing CRM provides for a better and smoother CEM (and vice versa).
Thank you for reading this post, I’d be happy to receive your thoughts on the topic / any additions you’d consider relevant. Maybe you see any limitations of using the CEM approach or possible challenges to it?
1. Carol-Ann Morgan “A Guide to Customer Experience Management: How To Deliver On Customer Expectations” // URL: https://www.b2binternational.com/publications/customer-experience-management/
2. CRM vs CEM: Where should you put the money? // URL: https://cloudcherry.com/blog/crm-vs-cem/
3. Gartner Glossary // URL: https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/customer-experience-management-cem
4. Linda Tischler “A Concept Airline Eases the Pain of Travelling with Toddlers” // URL: https://www.fastcompany.com/1670985/a-concept-airline-eases-the-pain-of-traveling-with-toddlers
5. Pine B.J., Gilmore J.H. Welcome to the Experience Economy // Harvard Business Review. – 1998. – July-August. – P. 97-105.