In the previous post, we defined the customer experience and explained why it is such a high priority across industry. The customer experience is the sum of all interactions across channels between the customer and an organization. These interactions define the customer’s perceptions and feelings about the organization and often determine with whom the customer will do business, making customer experience a competitive differentiator.

We also introduced customer experience management (CEM), the process for organizing, managing and optimizing interactions across all touchpoints. Effective CEM helps organizations create the best possible experience, which builds a stronger bond between customer and brand, increases loyalty, and turns customers into advocates. All contribute to a better bottom line.

CEM is having a major impact on certain industries. For example:

  • In healthcare, the patient experience often determines the success or failure of providers and has been linked to better clinical outcomes. But the patient experience isn’t just about the facility. As virtual healthcare offerings expand, providers are working to improve how services are accessed, communicated, delivered, managed and integrated.
  • In insurance, customers are often emotional as they deal with sensitive situations. They only contact insurance companies in times of distress. These companies are under pressure to improve how they communicate with customers, process claims, and manage and collect premiums. They also need a seamless process for storing, processing and analyzing data.
  • In travel and hospitality, organizations must control operating costs and offer competitive pricing without compromising service quality and losing customers. Switching to a competitor is as simple as a few clicks, so travel and hospitality companies are using CEM to deliver a seamless experience across channels throughout the customer journey.
  • In banking and finance, customer interactions are no longer limited to the physical branch. Customers are using apps and web-based services to complete tasks that involve sensitive data, so institutions need to make sure their tools are intuitive and secure. Banks and financial institutions must also have efficient processes for collecting loan and credit card payments and promoting special offers without disrupting customer interactions.

You often hear the word “omnichannel” when discussing the customer experience. But it’s important to keep in mind that customers don’t care about how many channels you have, or which department is helping them. All they care about is consistency across channels, finding what they need, and having their issues resolved expediently. Your technology, data and processes need to be integrated in order to avoid frustrating not only your customers, but your employees.

To develop a successful CEM strategy, the first step it to get to know your customers. You can only meet their expectations if you study customer data and gain insights into their wants, needs and preferences. Second, you need to map the various touchpoints, devise a plan for interacting with customers at each touchpoint throughout the customer journey, and focus on building stronger relationships. Third, real-time measurement is essential to understanding customer satisfaction and the effectiveness of your CEM strategy. Otherwise, you’re just guessing, and you may not realize there’s a problem until it’s too late.

IPC offers consulting services in customer experience strategy and management. Let us help you gain visibility and insights into the customer experience so you can better understand how customers interact with your company and what you can do to meet their expectations.