Customer Experience Management

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What is Customer Experience Management? Meaning.

The concept of Customer Experience Management (CEM), which was developed by Bernd Schmitt (2003), describes the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company. The term 'Customer Experience Management' represents the discipline, methodology and/or process used to comprehensively manage a customer's cross-channel exposure, interaction and transaction with a company, product, brand or service.

The CEM framework consists out of following five key areas:

  1. The Customer - Analyzing the experiential world of the customer in order to gain insights into the socio-cultural context of consumers (Compare: Multitasking Consumer).

  2. The Environment - Building the experiential platform and developing a strategy that includes the Positioning for the kind of experience the brand stands for, the Value Proposition of what relevant experience to deliver and the overall implementation theme that will be communicated.

  3. The Brand - Designing the Brand Experience and implementing the experiential platform.

  4. The Platform - Structuring the customer interface by implementing the operational infrastructure in stores, during sales visits, in e-commerce engines of website or similar.

  5. The Interface - Engaging in continuous innovation and fine-tuning the experience at every point of contact. This area of CEM analysis focuses on the interaction between consumers and the brand, from a human-to-technology, human-to-human, and human-to-environment perspective. Simply defined, this area focuses on refining and optimizing the customer interaction within any channel to produce desired and pleasing outcomes.


Client Expectations


Pope (2010) writes about the expectations of clients in client-organization relationships. Companies rely too often on the TECHNICAL ELEMENTS of the goods and services they produce. Of course, clients do expect a high level of technical ability to produce the desired results and these technical capabilities are an important part of clients’ demands and expectations. However, it is not the only aspect that need to be taken into account when serving clients’ needs.

The other element that needs to be considered is the EMOTIONAL CONNECTION that will develop when working together in a partnership. This is the more affective part that clients seek for. The emotional connection is about the “feel good” factor and refers to repeat experiences that positively influence the emotional level of clients. This more affective part of clients’ expectations are just as important as their technical demands.


Creating an Ultimate Client Experience (UCE)


It is important to mention that the whole organization (rather than just one person) is responsible for delivering the Ultimate Client Experience (UCE). There need to be certain “touch points” between clients and people within various company departments throughout the entire client relationship process. These touch points encourage the creation of a strong relationship and an unforgettable client experience.


Keeping the above in mind, there are 5 critical factors to create an Ultimate Client Experience (besides the technical aspects):

  1. Culture: Culture is an important ingredient in any business relationship. Only when there is a client-focused organizational culture, UCE can be realized. Clients should believe it is easy to communicate with the organization.
  2. People: Because of the fact that people have the ability to differentiate an organization from others and to outcompete them, they are a very important part of organizations. The best results arise from matching the right people with the right tasks.
  3. Relationship: Because good relationships contribute to better client experiences, an important part of realizing the UCE is to continuously invest in the relationships with clients.
  4. Understanding the Client: In order to fulfill the expectations of clients, it is of course important to firstly understand what these expectations are. It is not only about the technical qualities, but also about the emotional connections with clients. Only if both aspects are considered, the UCE can be created.
  5. Uncommon: According to the article, doing common things in a different way provides a company with uniqueness and will create outstanding client experiences. Therefore, such uncommon ways are of great value; thinking out of the box is therefore a great contribution to the UCE of clients.

Source: M. Pope (2010) “The Ultimate Client Experience: Recipe for Success in a Down (or any) Economy “ Business Strategy Series Vol. 11 Iss. 4 pp. 219-222

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