There is probably more focus now on providing a good customer experience than at any other point in time. There are a number of things to consider when looking at customer experience management software – what’s the best way for brands to approach this?

[easy-tweet tweet=”We live in an era of the empowered customer, how are #CEM solutions addressing this?” hashtags=”marketing, data, bigdata”]

We live in an era of the empowered customer. Where many consumers were once inert and passive about dealing with and accepting a bad customer experience, they will now not only shout about any bad experiences on social media but are also much more willing to take their custom elsewhere.

With poor customer experience potentially damaging a brand and also impacting the bottom line, this has meant that smart organisations are delivering a customer experience – smart, quick, efficient and in keeping with the customer’s preferences – that encourages loyalty and attracts new customers. But what is the secret to achieving this? It is ultimately down to having the right people and the right processes in place, but it’s also a question of deploying the best and most effective technologies to manage the customer experience. 

What exactly IS customer experience management?

the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy

Industry analyst organisation Gartner has defined customer experience management as ‘the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” It is a strategy that requires process change and many technologies to accomplish.

What constitutes a good customer experience varies accordingly to the individual, but good customer experience management (CEM) solutions will almost inevitably involve using the data a brand holds on its customers in the right way, to anticipate their needs and address them before they even become an issue. Strong analytics enable brand, product and service to continuously reflect emerging customer preferences.

Some organisations will remain stuck in the traditional way of delivering a customer experience, but those with vision and purpose will focus on leveraging  a number of processes and technologies to make customer intelligence visible and accessible throughout the business, to whoever may need it, whether a front-line customer service agent or otherwise.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Customer experience management is about using the #data brands hold on its customers in the right way” hashtags=”CEM”]

To build, or to buy?

The CEM choice for most brands is essentially whether to build or to buy. While there is some merit in an organisation looking to develop its own CEM offering, this is typically a lengthy process and impacts on legacy platforms, while time is of the essence. If a company is offering a poor customer experience, then waiting for internal teams to build a system is not a feasible option.

There are a number of options to consider for any brand looking to implement CEM software, or update their existing system, and they would be best advised to look for best of breed point solutions to bring them up to speed.

A big part of this should include looking at SaaS offerings. These are more flexible than on-premise options, and allow a company to scale much more effectively. While there are also cost benefits to using cloud CEM, the real benefit is the flexibility it affords and the ability to be easily configured to suit an organisation’s specific needs.

the security involved with SaaS CEM is as strong as most organisations will ever requir

Highly regulated businesses still might prefer to own the data and perhaps even the server farm it is held, but the security with cloud-based options has improved immeasurably over the past few years. Customer data is very precious of course, and the repercussions of a data outage of some kind are not good, but the security involved with SaaS CEM is as strong as most organisations will ever require.

We consult with many companies on how best to approach CEM, and unless there is a compelling reason otherwise – usually around regulation – SaaS is a better option for most. There is more choice, more contemporary design and architecture and they are more flexible than on-premise solutions; SaaS providers are generally more willing to work with organisations of different sizes and stages of development.