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Absolute CEM vs Obsolete Online Surveys
CloudCherry | Featured | April 13, 2016
Online surveys focus only on a small part of what it takes to create a great customer experience, which is why they are no longer enough to drive a successful customer experience strategy. This is where Customer Experience Management (CEM) systems come in.
For decades, consumers were managed and, essentially, forced to adapt to how companies worked. Consumers had little say in the products they were sold or how they were treated. In fact, many businesses made consumers feel as if they should feel grateful they were even taken notice of, let alone had their problems solved. And this problem resolution was rare and far between.
A guest didn’t like how an employee treated them at a hotel? Tough! There was little they could do about it. Maybe the hotel was slightly more forward-thinking and gave customers the opportunity to leave their feedback, but most businesses rarely acted on it, because they knew customers didn’t have many choices. Especially because they knew customer complaints wouldn’t really affect them. After all, most people had limited circles of friends, so maybe losing a customer or two wasn’t a big deal or so they thought.
Forward to the present. All that has changed thanks to technology, and in particular social media. One wrong step, one tiny mishap and the entire world gets to know about it. Consequently, there’s been a slow shift of power from the companies to the consumers. In fact, consumers are wielding the power social media has given them with all their might. One poor customer experience, and you can be certain it’ll be posted on social for millions of people to read, share and comment. And since people love an underdog story – the mistreated customer is ALWAYS the underdog – these types of complaints tend to spread like wildfire all over the internet.
So, clearly, a company that isn’t willing to adapt and focus externally, on their customers, will have a tough time surviving. And this is precisely where customer experience management (CEM) systems come in.
To understand why online surveys are no longer enough – not on their own, anyway – we need to first understand exactly what CEM represents.
In other words, CEM represents all the tools and programs that can aid your Brand in creating a customer experience which in turn impacts your Business in a positive manner through improved customer retention rates and higher customer loyalty scores.
The key here is understanding that ‘Customer Experience‘ is the summation of all interactions a customer has with your Business. Not just the ones they remember. And an online survey will only help you get the feedback based on an interaction they remember.
Furthermore, online surveys don’t always offer you the in-depth insight that you will need to understand your customers and tweak/modify their experience accordingly. The fact remains that the motivation behind customers’ actions and perceptions is critical in developing effective CX improvement strategies.
So, in essence, online surveys are no longer enough on their own because they only offer a small part of the bigger picture. And without a complete picture, you stand little chance of offering a fully personalized and delightful brand experience to your customers.
While many companies already collect a significant amount of information from their customers, much of the data isn’t made actionable – or at least not as actionable as it could be – because it exists in silos. In other words, different departments have various types of data and it generally remains separate, with no one having access to the holistic picture – the customer journey.
With a CEM system, all these data streams are integrated into a single, homogenous whole, which enables you to visualize the customer experience, holistically. No longer is social media data relegated solely to the marketing department, while the merchandising team have pricing information, and accounts department have all the billing information, for example. Once all this information is centralized and stored in one single system, you can get a better and much deeper understanding of your customer and will find it easier to identify the areas that need to be worked on to improve the customer experience.
It’s critical to remember that customer data isn’t extracted only via online channels. Yes, it’s easier to get it online because data in digital form is easier to mine. However, you will also get a lot of information from offline sources, including from conversations between your staff and customers during a sale, at information desks or via your call centers, as well as by going through your customers’ purchase history, and more. The main objective is to collect as much information on your customers as possible and then use a CEM system to centralize said information so you are better able to analyze and predict the needs of your customers and enhance the shopping experience.
To achieve this, you need a system that allows you to make business decisions in real-time at every single consumer touchpoint across all channels. This means having technology that is able to keep track of your customers’ behavior around the clock so that any mishap from your side can be attended to immediately in a tactful manner.
CEM is far more than just measuring customer satisfaction, which is simply a metric that quantifies the past without any indication of future consumer behaviour and trends. On the other hand, CEM allows you to monitor changes in customer behavior throughout all their interactions with your business, placing you in a better position to predict what customers would expect from you in subsequent interactions. In other words, CEM is the closest you will come to a crystal ball in terms of figuring out what your customers need.
And there’s nothing more profitable to a business than providing a customer with the experience they crave, because that is what the Experience Economy is all about.
So, while CEM is certainly focused on building a relationship with the customer, it’s not about adopting the mindset that the customer is always right and that you have to fulfil their every desire, regardless of how unreasonable it might be. Doing that will destroy your business faster than you can blink. No, the goal behind CEM is to consider the perspective of your customers in everything you do, in every business decision you take so as to create a mutually profitable relationship. In other words, CEM is all about creating mutually advantageous relationships with your customers, which will make them happy and ensure the profitability of your business.
The biggest problem with adopting CEM systems, though, is not actually with the technology but with our mindsets. It’s often difficult to completely change your status quo. It’s very hard to completely overhaul existing processes and policies you’ve been following for years. The thing is that companies MUST change their mentality because customers no longer care what department/section they are interacting with. They perceive you as one single brand and definitely expect the same, consistent level of service and care on all channels.
This often means a change in corporate culture, which can be difficult to implement. However, if you want your business to thrive, you will have to make the change and start looking beyond silos – towards your customer.
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