Bruce Temkin, former VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, recently did a keynote at the European Customer Experience World (ECEW) and shared what he thought to be were 4 truths about Customer Experience Management (CEM) that everyone should know.
Truth #1: CEM requires a systematic approach
Change does not happen (nor is it sustainable) when only one part of an organization aligns their practices towards a customer-centric approach. Having CEM succeed demands an orchestrated effort from all departments and levels. If done right, customer insights are embedded into decision-making processes versus getting pieces of information to understand improvement.
Truth #2: Technology does not define CEM
Temkin says, “The ability to understand the needs of customers, understand how you are delivering against those needs, and then how to hypothesize, design and deliver solutions that meet their needs, is the core capability (of CEM)”. Of course, “customer insight and action platforms” (as he likes to call them), that are great tools that will help organizations understand customers better, but these technologies will be rendered useless if there is no customer-centric thinking that filters through every aspect of the customer lifecycle. CEM technologies can only be as smart as the ones running it.
Truth #3: CEM KPIs must be dynamic
It’s important to track behaviors and attitudes of customers, then segment and put metrics around them; but Temkins believes CEM KPIs must constantly align themselves with business goals. Just like with any other customer success goals, a “one size fits all” approach does not work best. For example, companies oftentimes like to track customer satisfaction – which is fine as long they correlate to increased conversion rates (or whatever business goal set in place), but if it remains static where customer happiness increases but does nothing for the business, it’s time to revisit how you define your KPIs.
Truth #4: Establishing a customer-centric culture requires 4 core competencies
How do companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines grow a good customer-centric culture?
1. Purposeful leadership – the senior management team is clear about their objectives and communicates them so the entire organization understands them
2. Compelling brand values – establish a set of promises (and values) they are making to customers, with the entire organization aligned to delivering them
3. Employee engagement – empower employees with training, skills and tools that help them treat customers well
4. Customer connectedness – infuse customer insight into business decisions from the start and not just as an afterthought
CEM is more than another department within an organization, it’s the new way of running a business.