Traditionally CRM systems have helped firms understand customers. They have also helped unify customer information and offer an overarching view. CRM is mostly about transactions and is operationally focussed on profiling the customer and collecting data for cross sell. More often than not, CRM is aligned with the company’s objectives and not necessarily to customer preferences. On the other hand, CEM is all about the customer and by using the right blend of systems, processes and infrastructure, it seeks to improve the customer’s experience with the company as an entity.

CEM focuses on positively engaging customers across interactions and use feedback to proactively delight the customer. It is a two-way process that provides customers a clear understanding of a company’s off erings and helps executives and managers understand how rapidly customers can form an opinion about the company and act appropriately to either leverage an opportunity or address a grievance.

The hardest thing for competitors to replicate is the customer experience created by you and since employees are the ones who will ultimately be the most infl uential force in creating a benchmark customer experience, it is important to engage them suitably in the process. A ‘disciplined’ CEM approach will necessarily include sustainable employee engagement with focus on motivation levels and an enabling hiring policy that focuses on onboarding people with the right attitude and aptitude who can deploy adequate means to convey appropriately the brand promise. Institutions also have to deploy suitably evolved processes that enable cross-enterprise cooperation to turn customer experience management into a way of life.
In the long term Customer Experience Management will help your institution make a diff erence help retain profi table customer and create advocates who will help improve company image in the market. The need of the hour is to have an enabling IT infrastructure supported by agile processes and well trained employees to implement your CEM strategies. Remember it is not only about delighting the customer the fi rst time – it is also about bringing the wow factor enough times in your relationship with the customer to keep her profi tably engaged with your enterprise.

So can one defi ne experience? In simple terms it is the sum total of what a customer undergoes beginning from the instance where she hears about your product till such a time that she has used it and is ready to form an opinion. While this opinion may or may not be expressed in words, it certainly does infl uence the purchase pattern of that customer for certain duration. The key word in CEM is experience. While delivering a product is or a service is easy, it is indeed a challenge to deliver an experience.

To develop a CEM strategy, institutions need to work towards modifying a series of activities (internal and customer facing) to deliver a series of positive or even exceptional interactions. These interactions should necessarily be meaningful to the operational context of the customer, be hard to replicate and be distinct and distinguishable from competition. The customer also needs to be roped in whenever and wherever possible to ensure creation of appropriate experience.