Companies today take their customer experience seriously. In fact, Gartner reports that 81% of organizations expect to compete primarily on customer experience every year. And that trend continues to grow—modern consumers have an abundance of choice when considering where to spend their hard-earned money. The experience they have with your product/service has a direct impact on whether they’ll choose you.
A strong customer experience management (CEM) strategy helps you create a framework for how to meet or exceed customer expectations. It helps you ensure that every interaction with your company works to boost brand loyalty and decrease customer churn.
This strategy is especially important when scaling your business. As your company grows, it’s easy to let the small things fall through the cracks—a missed notification here, a slight design bug there. Proactively addressing these issues helps you home in on what customers expect, making the process of building a seamless customer experience as intuitive and uncomplicated as possible.
What Is Customer Experience Management?
Gartner defines customer experience management as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations.” The process ideally leads to greater satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy as the relationship between company and customer grows.
At Amplitude, we think of CEM as a strategy. It’s your approach to planning, creating, executing, and measuring the full experience of customers interacting with your company across every channel. It helps you take a holistic view of these interactions between your audience and your product and ensures consistency across each touchpoint.
Your goal when building out a CEM strategy is to truly understand what people need from your product and team. From there, you turn that knowledge into actionable insights that help you build brand loyalty and differentiate your company in the market.
Why Does Customer Experience Management Matter?
Customer experience management gives you more control over people’s interactions with your brand—whether they’re contacting your support team or reading your blog or signing into their accounts. This control makes it easy to provide a consistent experience across the board, which can boost customer satisfaction rates as well as retention.
CEM is all about gathering data to bring your team closer to customers. This comprehensive data leads to deeper insight into people’s experience with your company, which you can use to make smarter decisions. Gaining an understanding of how customers interact with your product and team on a day-to-day basis provides the information you need to improve individual touchpoints, empathize with customer problems, and create better product solutions.
Building this great product experience that helps customers achieve their own goals drives loyalty in your brand. According to a Gartner survey, 73% of buyers claim experience is the number one factor in loyalty.
Fostering more engaged relationships with customers drives your company’s growth. Sixty percent of loyal customers actively seek out ways to purchase more than once and have more potential to turn into brand advocates. And these brand advocates tend to refer customers with 16% higher lifetime value (LTV). And they lend social proof to the value of your product.
Just remember that your competition is likely working to optimize their experience as well. Your CEM strategy is a way to insulate your company from the competition. More loyal customers tend to be more engaged product users, so your goal isn’t just to make them happy—it’s to retain them long term, too.
How to Build Your Customer Experience Management Strategy
Creating a winning customer experience across multiple channels requires a strategic approach to CEM. The data gathered through product analytics, customer interviews, and experimentation helps you define your CEM strategy.
When crafting this strategy, it’s important to strike a balance between delighting customers and helping them accomplish their goals. The jobs-to-be-done framework (JTBD) is a helpful tool for finding that balance because it narrows your focus on the work your customers need to accomplish every day.
Think about it as your way to conceptualize the reason customers use your product—it’s the path to understanding their underlying goals and providing a relevant solution.
Once you understand what your customers need to accomplish for their work, the process of building your CEM strategy follows a fairly standard approach:
- Use customer data to create targeted product roadmaps and marketing campaigns.
- Experiment at every touchpoint of the experience to refine your approach to CEM.
- Create customer feedback loops that make it easy for your team to understand actual customer needs.
When your roadmap is aligned with customer needs and JTBD, you can have confidence that each new feature you release or product you build adds value. Your marketing campaigns will communicate this value with customers as well as prospects. And the feedback you receive along the way will make it easy to refine the process as your company grows.
This approach not only helps your team think strategically about CEM but also builds empathy with your customers—which is ultimately more important. When your entire team truly understands the underlying forces that drive the customer, you can make smarter decisions to improve their experience over time.
6 Types of Customer Experience Management Tools
The tools in your technology stack have a direct impact on your ability to provide a seamless customer experience. There are a number of different tools you can use, which can be categorized into two main types.
All-in-One Cloud Platforms
These platforms give you the ability to manage the customer experience from a single program. While the costs are sometimes prohibitive for smaller companies, these platforms are often a good fit for enterprise companies. They help these businesses streamline their CEM processes and make it easy to follow:
- Marketing & Sales Clouds: Powered through acquisitions, these customer relationship management (CRM) platforms include a suite of features for all of your CEM needs. However many are optimized for customer experiences of the 2000s and 2010s versus the complex digital experiences customers take today. By leveraging expertise as a system of record, they help you invest in building a system of experience management for your team.
- Digital Experience Clouds: With deep content creation and channel optimization functionality, digital experience clouds look to centralize your CEM into a single platform. While lacking in self-service analytics, their platforms offer solutions to manage marketing assets, build out customer profiles with relevant data, or personalize messaging across multiple channels. As you’re building out the customer experience across multiple touchpoints, these platforms help provide access to centralized data to make your decisions.
- Customer Success Clouds: These platforms are focused on the post-acquisition experience, ensuring customers always have a way to connect with your team with any questions. Customer success tools could help you communicate with customers and gather data on how your team’s interactions with them inform the overall experience with your product.
Turnkey solutions like these can make it simple to roll out a new tool to your team.
Best-in-Class Technology Stacks
Single platform solutions won’t work for every business as they often fail to change with the times. When you’re building out a toolset for CEM, make sure you understand the specific needs of your customers as well as your team. Offering the best solution for a particular audience—like product or lifecycle marketing—are central to creating a great digital customer experience.
To gain more understanding of CEM, you need access to move fast, adapt to new types of data, and provide more collaborative analytics for growing teams.
- Amplitude’s product intelligence platform helps you refine a CEM strategy by helping you gain a better understanding of customer behavior in your digital product.. With Amplitude, you’ll have access to actionable product data (such as insights into why customers churn or convert) which you can use to help customers solve their problems and accomplish their goals.
- Customer data platforms like Segment or mParticle provide messaging and analytics functionality to help manage your important customer data. These tools integrate with Amplitude to provide a comprehensive picture of your product experience across multiple touchpoints.
- Marketing platforms like Braze and Iterable help scale customer engagement and marketing automation. These tools can help you provide a seamless experience across multiple channels, integrating mobile experiences with your web and email processes to bring together data across each of those platforms.
Choosing the right tools helps you build a strong understanding of the underlying outcomes your customers want to achieve.
Customer Experience Is Paramount
When you nail the customer experience, it not only helps build stronger relationships with your customers but also gives your company a competitive advantage. When customers have so many solutions to choose from, you need to find ways to stand out.
Customer experience requires strategic thinking and deep user insights. A strong CEM strategy is your key to gaining those insights at scale, which makes meeting and exceeding customer expectations much easier. When you take a strategic approach to creating a great customer experience, your team can make a real impact on customer loyalty, increase retention, and secure your bottom line.