As with most movements, customer experience began as a simple buzzword, and has quickly become a competitive advantage within industries. According to Gartner, 80% of future revenue for businesses comes from just 20% of existing customers. As such, customer experience has never been more vital to build a customer-centric organization that has a well-established customer experience strategy.
What is Customer Experience Management?
Customer experience management is how companies maintain and enhance customer interactions within the customer journey. This provides a number of benefits by allowing companies to:
✔ Gain a deeper understanding of the customer journey and customer insights
✔ Improve interactions and bolster positive word of mouth
✔ Reduce churn and cost of acquisition
✔ Improve business processes, products, etc. based on customer feedback
Companies manage their customer experience using tools that allow them to:
✔ Measure and analyze customer feedback
Collecting customer feedback is the first real step in drawing a blueprint of your customer experience. Once your collected this feedback, you can begin analyzing trends and drivers behind feedback that are impacting advocacy and dissatisfaction.
✔ Act to close the loop with detractors and follow-up with promoters
To get ahead and make real improvements to your customer experience, you need proper closed loop processes in place to follow-up with detractors and promoters.
✔ Grow their business through referral marketing, up-sells, cross-sells, etc.
While not all companies get to this stage, many have made the leap to tying their referral marketing efforts to their customer experience management programs in an effort to grow their customer base and bottom line without bleeding through acquisition costs.
Customer experience management tools remove the siloed nature of customer experience from different departments and unifies it behind a company’s common goal. Many companies employ the Net Promoter System® to get their customer experience management where it needs to be.
B2B vs. B2C Customer Experience Management
Before we can jump into mapping customer journeys or talk touch points, it’s important to discuss the customer experience elephant in the room: when talking about customer experience management, you need to look at both sides of the coin: business-to-business (B2B) customer experience and business-to-consumer (B2C) customer experience.
When discussing the customer experience people are quick to look at typical retail customer experience scenarios. This comes as no surprise as the streamlined customer experience tactics of B2C businesses and the expectations they bring with them are now migrating to B2B.
However, it’s silly to ignore the complexities that B2B customer experience management brings with it. First, B2B customer experience doesn’t involve one single customer, as it does with B2C customer experience. This creates complexity in measuring customer satisfaction than, say, sending an NPS® survey to a single customer.
In addition, the purchasing touch point in most customer journeys diverge at the point of B2B and B2C: Whereas in B2C, the buying power is in the hands of a single consumer, B2B buying behavior is more complex, with multiple stakeholders to please. Compounded on this is the fact that decision-makers who decide to go with a company aren’t often the ones using a product or service. Touch points for B2B customer experience are also compounded by technical, more fragmented customer journeys as well.
B2B companies, and in many cases B2C, largely benefit from using a customer experience management software to help reduce the complexities of the customer experience, unifying both a business behind a common goal.
Before you can bring any sort of change management to your customer experience, mapping the customer journey is a must.
Mapping the Customer Journey
Customer journey mapping allows you to document a customer’s interaction with your company. These areas within the customer journey are known as touch points. Any and all interactions with customers are considered touch points.
Managing the customer experience and mastering the customer journey start in one place, well, really multiple places: customer touch points. Customer touch points are any area where the customer and company interact with one another. Customer experience management looks to understand these touch points on a deeper level and improve them so customers come back.
According to Harvard Business Review, in a study with two different billion dollar companies, customers who had a better past experience spent 140% more.
Where once companies could focus on one, single channel to concentrate their customer experience management efforts, businesses now face the challenge of creating a consistent customer experience across multiple channels, such as web and in-store. This compounds the already complicated network of touch points companies must consider in creating the optimal customer experience.
To better understand the customer experience, it’s important to determine every possible touch point. Customer journeys vary based on the nature of your business, which means touch points vary as well.
For example, a company like Philips may define their customer journey as:
Whereas, for an automotive company, like BMW, the customer journey might look like this:
And these are just B2C customer journey examples. As previously stated, once B2B customer experience management is taken into account, these customer journeys diverge greatly.
A B2B tech company like Cisco, for example, could have a journey such as:
ROI of Customer Experience Management
As with any big company initiative, customer experience management comes with its investments, including time, money and company buy-in. However, the overall payoff can be huge.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
✔ Reduce churn and increase retention
The ultimate goal of any customer experience management program is to reduce churn and increase retention among customers. In the eBook, Retention Management to Combat Churn, we go into further detail on how a small fraction of customer churn and mean a big impact on revenue loss.
✔ Reduce acquisition costs
Companies spends millions on Google Ads and other forms of acquisition to negate the impact of revolving churn. By focusing on your existing customer base, companies can scale back acquisition costs. Moreover, using customer experience management tactics turn customers into advocates, who can promote your business as well.
✔ Business process improvements
Gain full visibility of what aspects of your business are either positively or negatively impacting satisfaction, and build action plans around those areas for improvement.
✔ Promote transparency and accountability
Customer experience management is a cross-departmental effort, meaning each area of your business needs to get behind pre-defined goals. Gathering customer feedback shows what areas of the business need improvement and makes each department accountable for reaching structured goals.
These are just a few of the benefits a well-defined customer experience management program provides. But, don’t take our word for it. Many businesses have benefited from instituting a customer experience management system. Learn more about them here.
Or if you’d like to learn more about CustomerGauge’s Customer Experience Management suite, you can find it on the solutions page.