Customer Experience Management (CEM) has been called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software on the move. Whereas CRM can be used once there is a record of a customer interaction, CEM is active at the point of interaction. It is this “outside in” approach to customers, independent of data-generated bias, that enables the use of CEM as a tool for tackling emerging marketing situations. CEM operates free from existing biases in perceptions that result from historical data, whereas these biases are actually the drivers of CRM.
As a customer initiative CEM lays more stress on a customer’s experience rather than on the operational and technical approach that CRM processes tend to take. Pronouncing an existing methodology dead and ripe for takeover by a new one has always been kind of fashionable and this is also the case with CRM, which already suffers from a poor image given the high failure rates of CRM deployments and promised ROI taking a long time to materialize.
It’s important to not fall into the buzzword trap with regard to CEM, and analyze it for its actual worth instead. The usefulness of CEM will vary based on an individual business’ requirements. In order to get an accurate idea of how CRM and CEM combined can benefit your business, you should understand CEM as an umbrella term.
Whereas CRM focuses on providing a service, CEM looks to provide an experience. In trying to achieve this, CEM broadens the scope of the various propositions that define CRM.
CRM is concerned with the value that can be derived from a customer at the point of sale. CEM aims to develop a one-time customer interaction into a customer cycle and measure the value over the lifecycle.
Collaboration in a CRM effort is mainly departmental and is driven by data gathered and stored in expensive databases. In a CEM environment, the entire organization, comprising resellers, wholesalers, and other channel partners, collaborates to offer customers an experience that will turn them into clients.
CEM encompasses several more customer touch points and stresses real-time information gathering from these nodes.
What is common to both CRM and CEM is the management aspect, which many subject experts find an irksome term in the sense that it comes across as exploitative and implies that the customer cannot really think for himself. Customer loyalty should ideally not be managed or manipulated.
A typical CEM strategy relies on extensive customer and environment research in an effort to design strategies and offer customer experiences that are fine-tuned according to the customer’s requirements and business needs. CEM strategies allow managers to control customer experiences using standard CRM tools.
Although there is a fair amount of buzz surrounding CEM as the replacement of CRM, the frame on which CEM efforts are built is in fact the same as that of CRM. CEM and CRM can be used as complements to one another.