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Using customer experience management consultants effectively

Do you think it's worth it to hire a consultant to help us overhaul our customer experience management (CEM) efforts? Are there consultants who focus on this, and what is the best way to use a CEM consultant?

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This response to this question requires a full disclosure. The company I work for is a customer experience management (CEM) consulting firm and therefore my answer may be perceived as subjective.

From my perspective, a good CEM consultant can enhance customer experience management efforts on many dimensions, including:

1. Mapping the complete process and journey required to achieve maximum impact

2. Benchmarking customer experiences and prioritizing required actions

3. Brainstorming cool new ideas to bypass competitors and surprise customers

4. Building internal buy-in and cooperation on improving customer experience

5. Ensuring that you do not settle for just fixing problems but focus on customer experience redesign to achieve differentiation

6. Ensuring that your plan covers all bases including organizational readiness

7. Supporting execution and adaptation

From my observation, most companies struggle to put an effective CEM program in place because they lack the skill set, tools and experience to do it. They end up settling for fixing customer's complaints, which is important but not sufficient.

Think about your customer experience management consultant as a personal trainer. They need to put in a plan and work with you to make it happen. When selecting one, pay attention to their tools and methodology. This is what differentiates the good ones from the rest.

This was first published in August 2007

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