Most people and many businesses still do not fully understand the breadth of Customer Experience. And the increasing number of companies offering products or services that claim to manage the Customer Experience makes grasping its holistic nature yet more difficult.
In a recent discussion in an online Customer Experience group, someone asked:
"Can anyone suggest a customer experience management model or concept? A framework that can be put into action."
Here were some of the responses.
“We have exactly what you need! [Company name omitted] exists to help clients leverage opportunities in call centers with specific emphasis in Operator Services (OS).”
“Check out [company name omitted] – Leading provider of text mining software used by many Global 1000 Companies to improve Customer Experience Management.”
“I would invite you to check out an innovative CEM platform that has that enhances the Customer Experience for search and guidance for e-commerce and web self service environments.”
“The best customer experience management software I have come across approaches it from a very different perspective (…)”
“[Company name omitted] has done over 5,000 customer experience projects and we use an 8 step methodology detailed on a short book entitled "[name omitted]".”
What is common between all these solutions, apart from claiming they manage the Customer Experience? They are all software solutions; call center analytics and CRM software, survey engines, Web text mining software, even a search engine.
While software are important tools for monitoring and managing customer relations, they still do pretty much the same thing they did before Customer Experience was defined. They only look at a small part of the Customer Experience, mainly in servicing.
Customer Experience is the quality of any and all interactions between a customer and company across channels. The cross-channel part of the Customer Experience definition goes beyond servicing channels. It includes the interaction with anything from the products and services, the marketing and communications, a delivery person all the way to indirect, third-party or seemingly irrelevant interaction points like parking space and other facilities, signage, and then some.
The quality of an interaction is something apprehended by customers. How the customer feels about the interaction. The emotions involved. And understanding the emotional fabric of Customer Experiences is not something done by software.
Call center analytics software is still call center analytics by any other name. It analyses data quantitatively at one channel only.
CRM software, mainly used for sales and support activities, is still CRM software by any other name.
Surveys, including customer satisfaction surveys, don’t capture emotions at the time an interaction takes place. Surveys are still surveys by any other name.
Social media is an increasingly important support channel and helps understand what customers are saying about the brand. But it is only one channel, and limited to tech and internet-savvy customer segments.
Unless it maps out and tracks the quality of interaction at all channels, software is not a framework, much less a Customer Experience Management one. It is a tool to manage customer relations at an individual channel.
Understanding and managing the Customer Experience in a holistic manner requires framework that covers all channels and includes ongoing customer feedback loops. It is about understanding what constitutes customer value and aligning the value delivery at different channels. And Customer Experience being the quality of all interactions from a customer’s perspective, feedback mechanisms should include different forms qualitative customer research.
David Jacques is Founder and Principal Consultant of Customer input Ltd and a pioneer in the field of Customer Experience Management. He has created the first Framework that brings together cohesively every aspect of Customer Experience Management. He is also passionate about having an in-depth understanding customer values to create emotionally-engaging customer experiences not only at individual interactions but also seamlessly between them.