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Significant differences between customer experience management (CEM) and CRM

How do you define customer experience management (CEM) versus customer relationship management (CRM)? Are there any significant differences?

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In my mind there are quite a few differences between the two. If we look at CRM, that's how a customer looks to a company. And if we think about CEM, that's really how the company looks to the customer. In way too many cases, the way a customer looks to a company is sort of the way prey looks to a vulture. It's something we make the most of and use up, and customers can feel that. So when we talk about really managing the experience for customers, then we're taking about the opposite. We're talking about making it worthwhile to do more business with us because we become more worthwhile to them. It's taking the time to see their point of view, understanding how to be reciprocal with them, understanding how to be trustworthy. When we take their point of view, then we are going to become more relevant for them. We are going to make it worth their while. We are going to look out for their interests as well as our own. And it's going to be something that a customer can truly feel. So I actually like the phrase "customer engagement management" as CEM even more than "customer experience management."

So that we know for certain that by experience we don't just mean a little bit of theater in the store or maybe some magical thing that happens that is very special in a direct mail piece. It's not that. It's really the entire experience that helps to build another CEM – customer equity management.


Hear more in Creating Customer Value, a monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.

This was first published in September 2007

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