New CEM HA Suite Provides Holistic Customer Experience Management

Customer input Ltd announces today the launch of CEM HA Suite, the first ever total customer experience management solution. Beyond CRM, text analytics and customer feedback management, it automates the in-depth analysis of customer attitudes, behaviors and needs across all company touch-points and includes company policies and procedures management and training modules to help align various departments with customer experience strategies.

CRM Capabilities

The software component allows easy cross-departmental information sharing by seamlessly integrating to existing systems such as sales, ERP, email, IVRS and Call Center, intranet and the corporate website. It also includes a social media text analysis software that continuously monitors various predefined websites including Twitter, Facebook and various forums and produces reports on general customer sentiment classified by intensity and topic. The IVRS and Call Center component analyze not only paths taken by customers with the system, but includes a speech analysis component that can provide topic and sentiment analysis on actual discussions with call center staff. True to its Customer Experience Management name, the CEM HA Suite includes the Empathy Heuristics Engine (EHE) which analyses the data and suggests a course of action to manage the customer’s response.

Because the solution can be tailored to any organizational structure, action points are automatically created and sent to relevant departments for action. Items are then tracked over time and results can be correlated to sales, customer churn and employee turnover.

Organizational Alignment

More than a platform to share customer information, the software incorporates a function to help manage company policies and procedures towards building a culture of customer experience. Text analysis on internal and external communications, whether email or phone, can detect employee sentiment and help HR plan training sessions to ensure employees understand, and are in line with, corporate philosophy. Pre-built training modules on building empathy in employees can be customized for any industry or company.

Feedback Management

An essential part of managing the customer experience is gathering customer feedback. The CEM HA Suite aims at decreasing time and cost of feedback gathering by automating customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other types of surveys, either immediately post-transaction or ad hoc through email, direct mail or phone.

Emotion Analysis

Customer Experience is the quality of any direct or indirect interaction with a company as perceived by the customers. And these interactions can sometimes involve complex emotions, which are often non-verbal and may not be easily be captured by direct questioning.

To help gain insights into customer emotions at different points of interaction, such as Point of Sales (POS) and customer service counter, the CEM HA Suite makes use of a multisensory detection solution called ESDCam, short for Emotional State Detection Camera. Cameras are connected to a facial expression  analysis software allows gaining insights into how customers feel. This is paired with a highly sensitive thermal imaging camera that can detect potential fluctuation in body temperature, such as blood going quickly to the head when the customer feels frustration. Data is sent wirelessly in real-time to the analysis software. Face detection will also recognize customers at various touch-points and be able to draw individual customer’s “journey maps”, which will be fed back into the CRM component for a clearer picture of the relationship.

True Multichannel Experience Analysis

While many other solutions claim to manage the customer experience at all channels, these are often limited to sales and servicing points and generally through the Web or phone. Interaction with a company can happen through multiple indirect channels and touch-points that don’t involve staff or human-computer interfaces. Because ESDCam is portable, it can be implemented at multiple touch-points throughout the customer experience lifecycle, beyond the standard customer lifecycle channels. Cameras can be embedded seamlessly in large ad displays off-site to understand consumer reaction to advertisement value propositions. These can also be placed at indirect touch-points that also affect customer experience. For example, placed in the parking lot, it can analyze how long customers looked for a parking space, where they have parked their vehicle and how they felt about their experience. A version of ESDCam is already being implemented by a major car manufacturer in all its test-drive vehicles.

Customer Research

Ongoing gathering of insights into customer reactions at company touch-points is important but only helps understand how to improve current processes, products and services. To innovate and truly deliver exceptional customer experiences, companies must also understand consumer behavior, needs and wants in general and this is normally conducted through periodic customer research exercises.

The CEM HA Suite is aimed at automating certain types of customer research normally only conducted by trained researchers.

The CEM HA Suite includes a highly-advanced behavioral analysis component based on complex heuristics algorithms to analyze consumer behavior. Based on a large body of publications in various psychology fields and constantly updated with new research, the analysis software detect up to 100,000 different types of behaviors and make 99% accurate assessment of customer attitudes, needs and wants. And because the software is heuristics-based and objective, it can circumvent biases which may be introduced by human researchers.

Understanding Consumers in Their Natural Environments

To help understand consumers in their own environment, Customer input Ltd is in discussion with Microsoft to implement a solution through the Kinect accessory for the video gaming platform Xbox 360. Kinect’s 3D scanner technology would allow having a 3D view of, and listen into, the room where the device is placed and gather insights into how consumers interact between each other and with products. Combined with the EME, the solution is able to provide a list of potential solutions for new and innovative products and services that can address yet unmet customer needs.

Future Developments

Customer input Ltd is already working on a series of innovative solutions to extend the capabilities of the CEM HA Suite. Following is an overview of some components currently under development.

Retail Brand Selection Information

Customer input Ltd is already has working prototypes of a non-invasive medium-range Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) solution for the retail environment to understand brand selection preferences. This will allow retailers not only to adjust their product displays and product adjacency for maximum efficiency but also provide feedback on brand preference to the brands they carry.

Insights at Large

In order to extend available customer analytics to a larger sample of the population, a wide area network version of the ESDCam solution is being developed for installation throughout cities. Pilot tests are being made in Chicago and Boston in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls and busy intersections. The data, available on a subscription basis, would allow companies to gain insights into needs and attitudes of the general population.

R&D is currently working on blueprints for a geostationary satellite-based solution to allow even wider coverage.

If you hadn’t noticed the publication date already, probably guessed mid-way through this article that it was intended as an April’s Fool joke, with the case in point being that no technology can claim to be complete customer experience management solution.

I had already said this a year ago in the article “Customer Experience Management is Not Software”, which was rehashed by Forrester in a blog post.

Yet, various technology vendors emerge every month claiming their solutions manage the customer experience. Some just added the term “customer experience” to solutions that existed before it became popular. This includes various CRM, Call Center analytics, survey software even Web analytics Social Media monitoring software vendors.

Gathering and managing customer data and feedback is an important part of understanding customer relations, but it is not managing the experience. Total Customer Experience Management requires among other tasks also aligning company processes and procedures, managing the experience at all touch-points (beyond direct interaction with sales and servicing) and understanding emotions involved. And beyond processes and methodologies it also involves people; engaged and committed employees who have the understanding and skills to deliver the intended customer experiences.  And these are not things any software or hardware solution will do.


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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.

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