Customer Experience Management (CXM) is a systematic, methodical, and strategic approach to managing the processes encompassing all consumer touchpoints with a company or brand. Its strength lies in providing a comprehensive framework for organisations to plan, execute, and measure the effectiveness of their Customer Experience (CX) initiatives, ensuring a seamless and positive experience at each stage of the client pathway while eliminating the weak points regularly. As a result, CXM can lead to increased customer loyalty, brand advocacy, and revenue growth over time.
In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, where many goods and services fall within the same category, a well-crafted and wisely managed Customer Experience can be critical in creating a holistic impression of an organisation and differentiating it from competitors. This undertaking should be considered by any entity that interacts with buyers directly, relies on repeat purchases, and places trust in its offerings.
Many statistics and reports reflect the need for a high-level Customer Experience strategy. For instance, PWC insights titled “Experience is everything” states, “When giving customers a wonderful experience, they will be more likely to make repeat purchases and share their positive opinions with friends. Speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service matter most, each hitting over 70% in importance to consumers”. Additionally, “65% of respondents surveyed by PWC said they would become long-term customers of a brand if they can provide positive experiences throughout the customer journey”.
Companies must, therefore, prioritise enhancing customer satisfaction to maintain a competitive edge. Neglecting to do so and providing uncontrolled experiences can lead to customer churn and a decline in revenue, hindering a business’s success.
A deeper understanding of the difference between CX and CXM
Customer Experience Management can play a significant role in driving long-term growth through outstanding experiences. However, it is important to understand its idea, functions, and individual purposes and how it differs from the Customer Experience regarding approach and implementation. While CX focuses on assessing and shaping the buyers’ perception, CXM goes beyond that. It supports governing and improving the processes and systems that promote CX-driven engagement. Combining both makes it possible to ensure that the necessary structures, procedures, and tools are in place to deliver memorable consumer impressions consistently. Awareness of the delicate disparity between these concepts can help companies develop a more effective, fit-for-purpose CX strategy.
CX vs CXM: what sets them apart?
Customer Experience (CX):
Customer Experience Management (CXM):
It refers to the overall consumers’ view of a brand while interacting with it in different channels – before, during, and after the purchase. These include, for instance, the impressions about the quality of products or services, speed of delivery, customer support engagement, and many more.
It is the ability to govern CX processes grounded in a thorough and strategic understanding of customer needs and expectations. These include continuously designing, measuring, and using data and feedback to improve and optimise the overall CX strategy.
It reflects buyers’ attitudes towards a company and its offerings, with emotions playing a crucial role in shaping customers’ feelings and thoughts in the first place.
It is the practice of deliberately crafting positive and memorable experiences for individuals at every touchpoint, intending to shape their emotions in the best feasible way. This involves initiating organisational changes and improvements.
It delivers insights into how consumers interact with the company and their perceptions.
It helps to identify the issues and pain points of the CX processes and determine the cause to address them in the best viable way.
The rising importance of CXM in driving business success
In recent years, the shift from product-focused to customer-centric business models has resulted in a deep-rooted understanding of the significance of Customer Experience. Increasingly acknowledging the impact of Customer Experience Management in enhancing buyer satisfaction and driving success is the natural sequence of this evolution. This is shown in the report by Grand View Research which states that “the global CXM market reached USD 8.79 billion in 2021, and it is expected that the industry will experience an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1% between 2022 and 2030, due in part to the mounting importance of understanding customer behaviour and preferences, which motivates brands and organisations to implement CX strategies”.
What is the company’s perspective on CXM? For instance, the report “Customer Experience at a Crossroads: What Drives CX Success?” by CustomerThink highlights the current state of CXM, explaining that “most CX initiatives are focused on just one thing — and it’s not a differentiator — while Winners break away from the pack with more attention on emotion, non-survey feedback, and custom metrics.” As per the report:
97% of the survey participants declared that CXM is a business strategy for creating loyal customer relationships.
90% agreed that CXM means delivering on the brand promise.
89% confirmed that CXM includes any effort to improve customer satisfaction.
The role of the CX Director in the CXM strategy
Regarding Customer Experience Management, a CXM Director is a major player in developing CXM methodologies, policies, and guidelines to inspire all employees. As a senior-level executive, the CXM Director typically oversees a company’s CXM strategy and initiatives, focusing on empowering customer-centricity and prioritising CX improvement. Specific responsibilities of a CXM Director may include the following:
- Developing and implementing a comprehensive CX strategy that aligns with the company’s objectives while collaborating with different departments.
- Identifying and addressing pain points in the customer journey to improve satisfaction levels.
- Measuring and analysing CX metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) to track buyers’ feedback and better understand their needs and expectations.
- Following industry trends and best practices in CXM to grow competitiveness.
- Selecting and managing collaboration with a BPO partner providing expected CXM services in an outsourcing model.
Key components of Customer Experience Management
Customer Experience Management involves a proactive approach to governing CX processes, unlike Customer Experience, which is a more reactive strategy. With various tools, methodologies, and solutions, CXM enables companies to actively address individuals’ needs and preferences, identify patterns and issues, and make necessary adjustments to meet evolving buyer expectations. Therefore, several critical components must be combined, merged, or mixed according to the circumstances to achieve that, including journey mapping, CX metrics, personalisation or tech stack management.
Customer Journey mapping or re-design is a fundamental component of CXM strategy and a starting point for further activities connected to Customer Experience Management. Mapping allows companies to collect insights about specific touchpoints with consumers, both in traditional and virtual spaces. As a result, they can see a complete picture of the interaction points.
The strategy allows for the following:
- Better performance assessment.
- A more precise determination of buyers’ preferences.
- A more profound understanding of their behaviours and habits.
- Accurate identification of the pain points and potential opportunities.
More than that, with the knowledge behind it, organisations can focus on improving the most promising channels accordingly while putting less effort into those with low potential. Such an approach helps them achieve most of their CX strategy in an optimised way.
Customer Experience Metrics are crucial to strategy as they enable companies to track and measure consumer perceptions and analyse progress based on data-driven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). There are several essential groups of metrics used in CXM, among which the most common and important are:
- Loyalty Metrics: they allow for measuring customer loyalty and retention, for instance, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Retention Rate (CRR) or Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR).
- Satisfaction Metrics: they enable the determination of the level of customer satisfaction, such as Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES).
- Operational Metrics: they measure CX operational efficiency, including Average Handle Time (AHT), First-Level Resolution (FLR), or Abandoned Call Rate (ACR).
- Attrition Metrics: they provide feedback on customer attrition and churn, for instance, Churn Rate or Customer Retention Rate (CRR).
While the metrics provide quantitative feedback on buyers’ attitude, the KPIs allows tracking the CX performance over time and quantifying its current level. They show the progress towards achieving specific goals – in numbers, referring to selected aspects of the CX strategy, such as satisfaction, loyalty, retention, or advocacy.
In summary, metrics and KPIs help determine the customer journey’s weak points and eliminate them while making well-informed decisions based on relevant feedback.
Personalised interactions enable businesses to adjust their CX approach to meet individual customers’ needs and preferences, leading to a more tailored and effective experience. To achieve this, companies must continuously collect data from various sources, such as support channels, social media, website chats, or agent interactions, and thoroughly analyse it to generate AI-driven insights.
However, personalisation also presents challenges regarding data management and privacy concerns that cannot be ignored. Neglecting these can result in data breaches or misuse, contributing to financial consequences and increased attrition rates. Therefore, balancing overall CX goals and data protection policies and strategies is necessary. Finding the golden medium can improve customer satisfaction and retention, increasing the VoC metrics such as CSAT and CES.
Tech stack management is another critical element helping to ensure an effective CXM strategy. By leveraging the right technology, companies can significantly enhance Customer Experience, automate processes, enable timesaving and cost-efficiency, influence well-informed decisions, and empower the success of the entire CXM initiative. In practice, tech stack resources should primarily allow for the following:
- Data sharing to provide a unified view of customers across various channels (Data Management Platforms).
- Reducing manual workloads to improve efficiency (Chatbots or Customer Service Ticketing systems).
- Automating routine tasks to facilitate rapid responses (Robotic Process Automation solutions).
- Using robust security measures to protect data and prevent data breaches with (Firewalls, Encryption, or Two-factor Authentication).
- Integrating various CX communication channels into a single platform to streamline and manage buyers’ interactions across all touchpoints. These include, for instance, phone calls, text messages such as e-mails, messaging apps or chats and in-person interactions (Multi-channel CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution).
- Deep data analytics to generate AI-driven insights (Machine Learning or Deep Learning).
- Collecting, analysing, and sharing customer feedback with employees to clearly understand buyers’ needs and preferences (social media listening tools, surveys, sentiment analysis software, and customer feedback management systems).
- Alerting employees to pressing issues requiring prompt resolution (Notification Systems, AI-driven Chatbots, or Mobile apps).
- Constant development to accommodate new requirements and easily make quick changes and updates in the CXM strategy (Agile development methodologies and Cloud Computing).
A role of CX strategy in Customer Experience Management
A well-defined CX strategy is essential for the existence and success of Customer Experience Management as it articulates the plan for how companies intend to shape consumer experiences across all touchpoints.
In other words, the CX strategy provides guidelines for ensuring alignment between CX outlines and the company’s needs and values while inspiring, creating and implementing an action plan via CXM to achieve the determined goals. These goals may vary depending on the overall business strategy and vision, such as creating a customer-centric culture or focusing on cost-cutting and process optimisation.
In summary, by putting the CX strategy into action and supporting it with the appropriately governed Customer Experience Management initiative, companies can deliver a positive and seamless experience while enabling the use, measurement, assessment and improve buyer satisfaction continuously and creating the right environment for that growth.
It can be helpful to read thought leadership explaining the difference and connection between CX and CXM. According to McKinsey Insights, “CX, or Customer Experience, encompasses everything a business or an organisation does to put customers first, managing their journeys and serving their needs”. On the other hand, CustomerThink presents, in one of its articles, a clear definition of the role of CXM for businesses, stating that “making changes to the company’s controllable factors, such as processes, employee behaviours, and product capabilities, to influence perceived experiences in a positive direction”.
CX management critical concern: in-house or outsourced?
Creating and implementing a CX strategy through CXM can be challenging for many organisations due to the need for specific knowledge, resources, and technologies. Collaborating with a BPO provider can be a solution, as it can be done without significant investments in in-house services.
However, selecting the right outsourcing partner is crucial for success. There are two significant groups of BPO companies which can be taken into consideration, depending on the organisation’s objectives:
- Creative partners deliver higher complexity programmes, domain expertise and modern CX operations
- Suppliers of agents providing transactional services and high-volume, lower-complexity solutions
It is, therefore, crucial in the first step to shortlist companies with the necessary resources and skills to deliver excellent Customer Experience. Then, a thorough evaluation of the vendor’s ability to meet the company’s objectives and help achieve desired outcomes is required.
When dedicating the CX services to the correct external partner, a business can gain access to relevant resources, expertise and technology while saving costs, focusing the effort on core competencies, and enhancing CX efficiency at the same time.
Customer Experience Management is a continuous process of identifying areas for CX improvement and making iterative changes to make it happen while aiming to maintain a positive experience at every stage of the customer’s journey. CXM provides leverage over Customer Experience in several ways, such as managing the CX processes, measuring the ROI of the CX initiatives and ensuring that every interaction with the customer is cohesive and aligned with the brand promise. Consequently, it leads to improved customer loyalty, increased brand advocacy, and revenue growth.
What is worth remembering?
Customer Experience Management plays a significant role in creating positive experiences across all buyer interaction points.
Businesses must understand the difference between CX and CXM to develop effective strategies that enhance the consumer experience.
CX focuses on assessing and shaping the buyers’ perception, while CXM goes beyond this by allowing for the management and continuous improvement of CX processes.
CXM helps to address customer needs more precisely, thanks to the specific components, such as journey mapping, customer metrics, KPIs, personalisation, and channel integration.
CX strategy is crucial for the Customer Experience Management existence, as it outlines the roadmap for how companies plan to shape positive experiences in each channel.
Partnering with the right BPO provider can help boost CX processes without requiring substantial investments in internal services.