Hello. My name is Mike Hammons and I am the Director of Customer Experience at Green Beacon Solutions. This is my first posting in a brand new role we have created which will focus on melding the worlds of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with Customer Experience Management (CEM). Nice to virtually meet you all.

According to a recent Gartner LinkedIn post “Customer experience management is top of the CEO’s agenda”; and for good reason.

It used to be that customer experience expectations were primarily judged by your competitor’s offerings. But, today, customers expect more than that. In the world of customer experience, your competition is more than your direct competition.

Increasingly customers are demanding better experiences due to what I call the “app” effect. Take Uber for example. It’s a great experience and I highly recommend it if you have not tried it yet. You open the app on your smartphone and almost immediately you see little cars on a map and how far away they are from your location. You tap a button and within a few seconds, your ride is on its way to pick you up. You can even watch it getting closer and closer.

Not only that, you also see the type of vehicle, a picture of your driver and their average customer service (or, customer experience) rating. A few minutes later the driver arrives and you hop in their car. The driver gets you to your destination, say goodbye and you are off to whatever you need to do…no waiting to pay for the cab, waiting for change, or a receipt… It’s already done. The driver is paid through the app and your receipt is emailed to you. Cool!

Compare that to the typical cab experience. First you have to find a local number to a cab company, or have someone do it for you. Usually they say it will be 10 minutes…which goes by and no cab…10 more minute…still no cab…30 minutes…and eventually, hopefully, the cab finally shows up. After you get to your destination you have to pay the driver (and more often than not you need cash), wait for a receipt and then you finally get on with your day. Which experience would you prefer? Today, like it or not, Apple and Amazon and Uber and so many others have conditioned customers to expect more.

Customer Experience (CX) is about considering our customers’ perspective in everything we do and the business decisions we make, with the objective of ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship.

Customer experience management (CEM) is a focus on the interactions between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle. You can think of it as enhanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM). I see it as the next level of CRM. In my view, CEM and CRM are bound at the hip. For optimal success, you can’t have one without the other. CRM helps you identify, segment and capture customer interactions; whereas, CEM is focused on the experience and:

  • It requires us to look at how we engage from the customer’s perspective
  • It requires us to shape the experience we believe our customers want; or, more importantly, we know through conversations and behaviors
  • Is interested in our customer’s thoughts and expectations

How CEM Relates to CRM

CRM software, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, supports the CEM process by:

  • Recording business interactions with customers and prospects
  • Tracking and reporting of sales opportunities
  • Logging customer service interactions throughout the customer lifecycle

Why is Green Beacon Focusing on Customer Experience Management?

The goal of CEM is to optimize interactions from the customer’s perspective and, as a result, foster better customer loyalty.

So how does our journey begin? We start at the beginning of each relationship at every touch point during a customer’s journey with us; which includes marketing, sales, consulting, and service.

Meeting, or exceeding, expectations requires consistent delivery of our promises and service. Our goal is to encourage our customers stay with us longer, share honest feedback often and recommend us to others.

Getting the job done better than our competitors requires confidence in our solutions and teamwork. Customers influence our innovations and provide the critical intelligence we need to continue building valuable and competitive solutions.

Experience is a core business value because it’s critical to our success. We understand the business world is constantly changing and our customers require both technology and a dependable team to make sure they don’t get left behind.