According to CRM experts, it's the age of the customer. Today, a customer's relationship with a product or service
doesn't begin and end with his or her initial purchase. Instead, the overall experience is the driving force behind today's customer service strategies.
Customer experience management (CEM) involves the various tools and practices that companies enlist to manage and ensure customers' positive experience with products and services. With an increasingly demanding and discerning customer base, companies need to take a holistic approach to customer service, from traditional call centers to community forums and social media.
In addition to basic practices like problem resolution, today's CEM can also include avenues for customer self-service, product feedback and even product innovation. New ways of delivering information can bolster sales departments and automated processes can give small businesses a boost in their marketing campaigns.
For more on customer experience management
Former Apple executive's "three pillars" for customer enchantment
Using CEM to evaluate your website
But the landscape of these CEM trends can be murky. Here is a rundown of some key issues facing the industry today, as outlined by Beagle Research CEO Denis Pombriant and CRM Essentials Partner Brent Leary.
- The time-saving potential for small businesses in using marketing automation
Small businesses need as many resources as they can to retain customers. Marketing automation tools help to save time and money, making it easier to nurture customer relationships while eliminating time wasters in repeatable tasks.
- How community forums have changed the nature of customer support and interaction
Communities are becoming essential in providing new and interesting ideas for products and services -- customer-authored information that can sometimes directly affect development. As an instant source of customer input, forums have become increasingly popular in recent years.
- How do companies use CEM technology to serve a more demanding customer base?
Customers are more discriminating than ever when it comes to buying products or services. As a result, companies have reinforced their customer service to cater to changing behaviors.
- Making sense of CRM software subscription models
Company success with subscription models has been mixed, so it's important to develop metrics about customer use to get a clearer picture of the direction of such a strategy.
- Lead scoring and its effect on sales information
Lead scoring gathers detailed information about customers that a company's competitors may not have. But wielding this tool requires consensus among company executives about what information is valuable.
- The importance of customer nurturing technologies
Many marketing budgets are overwhelmingly devoted to acquiring new customers rather than retaining existing ones. There are technologies, however, to make it easier to develop relationships with customers already in the fold.
- Adding to CRM applications
Building on top of CRM apps can speed time to market and establish standardization.