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 [5]. 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” [3]. 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 [1]:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Structuring of  the customer touchpoints – this stage is necessary to ensure the delivery of a consistent CX across the channels. 
  6. 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 [2]: 

“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. 


Case study

For a case study I’d like to provide an example from the airline industry [4]. 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? 


Sources:

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.

6 комментариев

  1. First of all, I would like to thank the author for his post. He has written this article in a such manner that it is very understandable and simple for the reader. I really appreciated the fact that he develops the 7 main stages of CEM.He perfectly highlights the role of CEM: helping to understand which parts require an improvement and what sort of improvement would best fit these needs.
    I totally agree with the following statement of the author in the context of CEM: creating meaningful and seamless experiences for customers is a source of a stronger differentiation, loyalty and higher revenues for companies.
    Indeed, trying to capture customers’ feelings, emotions and inner motivations represent the key element in CEM and the author perfectly shows it with his case study with the airline company. He has explained every stages for that specific case making it clearer for the reader.
    Thank you for this post

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  2. To begin with, I absolutely agree with the following statement of the author that good customer experience leads to customers’ loyalty and higher revenues for companies. Besides, I agree with the offered 7 main stages of customer experience management which include assessment of needs and customer segmentation, customer Journey Mapping, desired experience identification and others.
    I would like to emphasize the importance of customer experience management nowadays by another case of a well-known company.
    All of us are met with the coffee brand Starbucks. Did you know, that during the financial crisis in 2008, Starbucks’ revenue dropped nearly 30% in two years and it was forced to close more than 1,000 stores. To get things back on track, CEO Howard Shultz led a re-commitment to technology and community involvement. Starbucks launched “My Starbucks Idea” where customers contributed 90 000 suggestions and more than 100 of them became a reality. By focusing on customers experience, Starbucks changed its image from a corporate coffee chain to a community of coffee-loving people. With a renewed focus and improved economy, Starbucks soon began to see strong growth.

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  3. Interesting post. The author describes the excellent practice of customer experience management, gives examples. However, she refers to foreign publications. I would like to consider customer experience management in Russia. In our country, there was an attempt to implement CEM. This idea seemed very attractive for many companies. However, as a result, instead of creating the chain of interactions between company and client, companies focused on customer service. Departments made their efforts to fulfill certain functions, but there is no integration between them. Thus, customer experience management remains fragmented. It lacks integrity, which means that in essence it does not exist. In fact, today in Russia customer service is called customer experience.

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  4. I believe the author had a good intuition, providing an example that effectively represented both the logical and practical development of CEM inside of contemporary businesses.
    Despite the very clear explanation of the process, I would be curious about which tools and techniques are currently adopted in the «assessment of needs» phase, which of them the author considers the most effective and those who could be improved, instead.
    Also, I believe a crucial point is the one about the «design of brand experience»: since markets are always saturated and most of the products/services are incredibly standardised in order to appeal as many customers as possible, is it worth it to develop a costly customer experience that may not be completely understood and valued by clients, or may even appear as «weird» and eventually reduce the brand’s popularity? Of course, every change and strategy to be implemented would be pondered, before, yet the risk of the investment not to be paid-out is significant.
    Especially in more commoditised and cost-oriented markets, is it actually worth it, to invest in CEM, or should such firms adopt a more «emulative strategy»?

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  5. Thank you, Ajshat, for an interesting and well-structured article!
    It was very useful to get acquainted with this article, since it analyzed various sources, from academic articles, to real cases of companies of our day.
    The article very correctly noted that today the exact relationship between the two concepts of CRM and CEM has not yet been revealed. As for my opinion, it seems to me that in the realities of today’s business it is very difficult to implement CEM without a well-built CRM system. And the voiced fact that CEM helps to understand which points of contact need improvement and which improvements are needed, and together CRM and CEM can provide even more effective information.
    The article carefully examined the concept of customer experience management, its strategy, comparison with the CRM system. But at the same time, the topic of a very interesting concept of customer value creation was completely missed. Therefore, I would like to add that for development I like CEM programs, you need to think about how CCV will be formed. Creating Customer Value increases customer satisfaction and the customer experience. Creating Customer Value (better benefits versus price) increases loyalty, market share, price, reduces errors and increases efficiency. Higher market share and better efficiency leads to higher profits.

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  6. Goog to know, thaks for the case provided. Totally agree with the fact that creation of meaningful and seamless experiences for customers is a good «source of a stronger differentiation, loyalty and higher revenues for companies».
    Nowadays lines between products, services, and user environments are blurring. The ability to craft an integrated customer experience will open enormous opportunities to build new businesses.
    IN addition would like to provide a good example of Uber value creation for customers which
    Without explicitly saying so, Uber expertly highlights everything that sucks about taking a traditional taxi and points out how its service is superior. The simple (yet highly effective) copy above, taken from the Uber homepage, excellently conveys the simplicity and ease that lies at the heart of what makes it such a tempting service:
    -One tap and a car comes directly to you
    — Your driver knows exactly where to go
    — Payment is completely cashless

    Everything about this directly contrasts the typical experience of getting a taxi – no phone calls to disinterested dispatchers, no painful conversations trying to explain to a stressed-out cabbie about where you need to be, and no fumbling for change or worrying you’ve got enough bills in your wallet. Just a fast, efficient way to get where you’re going. This is reinforced by the aspirational messaging toward the top of the Uber homepage, which states that “Your day belongs to you.”

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