While it shares certain similarities with customer relationship management (CRM), customer experience management (CEM) maintains a different focus from its more well-known cousin. Understanding this focus may just be the key to success that your business needs. After all, CEM is on the rise. Now businesses need to build their brand across every individual interaction with a customer. It’s been reported that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator and 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. Additionally, a Gartner report shows a strong correlation between companies with the best customer satisfaction and upward stock performance. With so much evidence in support of improved customer experiences, it’s not hard to see the importance of CEM. But recognizing value and implementing an effective CEM solution are two different things, and many organizations don’t know where to start when it comes to adopting and integrating the right customer experience management solutions, or even what the term really means.

 
Learn how to connect every interaction across email, mobile, advertising, and the web — along with sales and service — into a seamless customer experience.

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What is customer experience management? Gartner defines it as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations, and thus increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.” But despite the relatively clear-cut and simplistic sound of the definition, CEM is a strategy that requires process change and several advanced technologies in order to effectively implement. Why has this grown in popularity? When customers have an interaction with a company, they have multiple social media platforms to share it on. This means that brands no longer have complete control over their public messaging. Managing the customer experience is more important than ever. A customer experience design manager is responsible for tailoring customer experiences that will not only satisfy customers, but turn them into advocates. The bottom line is that among any other benefits of customer experience management, it can drive profit.

Before your organization can start enjoying the benefits of CEM, you need to understand what customer experience entails. No matter what your particular industry might be, there are some common areas that all customers experience when interacting with a business. As such, these are the areas that an effective CEM will target:

  • Attraction
    A CEM strategy should attract customers. Even the most efficient and focused sales pipeline becomes absolutely worthless if you don’t have an influx of potential customers to populate it. A CEM solution should be designed to help spark customers’ initial interest, so that it can then help them along the customer journey.
     
  • Influence
    How can your business gain influence over this customer? How will your customer interactions influence this customer? By taking advantage of CEM technology that empowers you with the right information, you’ll be able to engage in meaningful interactions at initial points of contact.
     
  • Conversion
    At some point, a number of prospects should become actual customers. This part of the customer experience is where a lot of companies excel — and they should. Giving the right kind of attention to someone who is about to pay you is easy. However, conversion can’t end with the sale; continuing to pay customers special attention throughout their experience will convert them into longtime advocates. When you deploy the right CEM tools, you’ll be able to nurture the relationship with existing customers.
     
  • Upsells
    Given that 65% of companies are able to successfully upsell or cross-sell to existing customers, while only 12% are able to successfully upsell or cross-sell to new customers, the importance of customer retention is readily apparent. Improved customer experience through CEM technology means increased sales to clients, new and established.
     
  • Referrals
    When clients are so satisfied that they are willing to advertise your brand on their own, your company has found the most cost-effective form of promotion. CEM is designed to convert your customers into advocates. And with the rise of social media and the increasing amount of voice consumers have, they can and will advocate for you if their experience with your business was an overwhelmingly positive one.

Crafting a customer experience through email can be tricky. When two people converse, there is more being said than the actual words being used. When not communicating in person (or even over the phone), it can be difficult to decipher the tone and meaning of the message — sarcasm can feel real and offensive, humor can fall flat, and something heartfelt can come off sounding disingenuous. And beyond even the words on the screen, how your customers experience your company via email will say a lot about you. Do your emails look like spam? Do you send too many and too often? Do you take into account the personal interests of each recipient, or simply lump all of your contacts together and send them the same messages? Are you able to deliver a seamless experience across the channels? Are your emails, for the lack of a better word, attractive? More than ever before, every interaction you have with a customer, including those through email, will help establish your brand’s reputation — either positively or negatively. It is essential then, that your business employs CEM technology. Using this technology can help you craft your messaging, reach the right customers, and build lasting relationships.

Before committing to a single CEM solution, it’s certainly worth your time to become better acquainted with the features being offered. These features, when taken together, can help your organization perfect the experience it wished to deliver to its customers:

  • Tools
    Tools should make your job easier. Look for a CEM with drag-and-drop tools, templates, personalization options, segmentation, automation, tracking, and analytics reporting, as these will not only improve customer responsiveness, but also help to increase user adoption within your organization.
     
  • Ease of integration
    Your CEM tool should give you a clear picture of your customers at every touchpoint. Having an integrated system across marketing, sales, and customer service will allow you to see a better picture of your customers, and allow you the opportunity to serve them better, at every stage of their journey.
     
  • Usability
    Before you can use CEM to provide your clients with an enhanced customer experience, you and your workforce need a comparable experience in the form of an intuitive and user-friendly interface in your CEM tool. Having something that’s easy to use means more time spent on more important things, and it also means that the transitionary phase during which you are implementing your CEM will be as problem-free as possible.
     
  • Flexibility
    When it comes to CEM solutions, flexibility can mean many things. A flexible tool is important so that you can provide each customer with a targeted experience by anticipating customer needs, personalizing messages, and providing enticing offers. At the same time, flexibility means that the CEM tool in question is able to be customized or configured to your business, and that it is capable of growing as your company grows.
 
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Salesforce, already the leader in CRM technology, says this about its email marketing program: “Email marketing from Marketing Cloud lets you plan, personalize, and optimize the customer journey, know your customers better, and measure your results so you can maximize your marketing spend.”

Salesforce excels in easy-to-use tools, integration, and flexibility, at a scalable cost so you can customize your customer experience management program to fit your needs. Salesforce’s tools for creating a customer experience through email marketing aim to build the relationship with the customer with data-driven, personalized messaging. This includes easy drag-and-drop tools, content blocks for personalization, real-time tracking and reporting, an integrated personalization builder, and predefined event triggers. Salesforce’s sales, service, and marketing integration creates a clear picture of your customer, and helps you produce messaging that is relevant and effective. With Salesforce’s segmentation and automation capabilities, you can deploy email marketing in real time and move the customer journey forward.

Customers are no longer content being satisfied; they want to be impressed. As such, 90% of customer experience decision-makers say that a good experience is critical to business success. The right CEM tool will allow you to create a memorable customer experience that will attract and retain customers. When used in conjunction with other CRM tools, it will do so in a way that is efficient, effective, and uniquely tailored to the needs of your clients and your company.

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