Why is Customer Experience Management (CXM) SO important?

Why is Customer Experience Management (CXM) SO important?

In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about your company and your competitors, Customer Experience is fast becoming the only real sustainable source of competitive advantage.  In fact, creating a positive and consistent customer experience across multiple channels is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today, especially when every empowered B2B Buyer expects you to know them and their individual needs.

What do we mean by CX? Simply put, it is ‘How Customers perceive their every interaction with your company’(Harley Manning, Forrester).

So ask yourself: what is it REALLY like to be a customer of yours? What is the day-in, day-out customer experience your company is delivering? Are customers generally waiting on hold on the phone for too long? Do they wait for a service call that was promised two hours ago? Or come back to an online shopping cart that’s no longer there an hour later? Or alternatively, what’s it like to be remembered? To receive helpful suggestions? To get everything exactly as it was promised?

CXM is reallya strategythat focuses business operations and processes around the needs of the individual customer. It is a whole new process that involves creating and nurturing a system of interdependent, self-reinforcing, company-wide practices that align employees, partners, processes, policies, and technology around customers.

Why is it Important?
CX affects the bottom line. A recent Forrester report cites a $10 billion company that made a modest shift in customer experience and reported a $65 million revenue increase from product sales, a $116 million increase from reduced churn, and a $103 million increase from word of mouth. That’s a total of $284 million dollars!

Happy Customers are more likely to remain loyal, try new products and services, and spread good news about their experiences.  The aim ultimately is to establish lasting & valuable relationships.Market share, retention, profitability, and customer satisfactionare all directly related to CXM performance.  In fact, a stock portfolio of Customer Experience Leadersgrew 22%over its competitors even in a flat market. 

A few Marketing Tips to support Superior CX

1. Humanise your brand
It’s easier to trust a company when your audience is reminded there arereal life humans working behind the scenes. So focus on your brand personality – what does it say about your company? What emotions does it evoke in people? People like brands that are open, friendly, authentic, trusted, honest and transparent. Customers are highly sceptical of brands looking out only for themselves.

2. Use data-driven customer insight
Buyers demand that companies listen to them, take time to understand their particular challenges and then provide a solution or service that fits their personal needs.  A deep understanding of customers by mining relevant data from social monitoring, behavioural analysis, demographics and firmographics is vital.

3. Customer Journey mapping
Take the time to map the customer journey across all of the touch points in your business.  This is fundamental to being able to provide a consistent, positive brand experience.  

4. Content & context are KING
Content needs to be: compelling, engaging, entertaining and memorablein orderto develop deeper and more meaningful relationships over time. Integrated, relevant, personalised, timely and engaging content is paramount. Educate, do not sell.  It’s about an exchange of value.

5. Invest in marketing technology platforms
Technologies are a must-have in order to effectively engage with the 21st Century B2B Buyer in real time.  Social CRM, Data analysis, marketing automation, digital dashboards all support real time engagement.

Conclusion
The fact is we need our customers more than they need us. As Sam Walton, CEO at Wal-Mart, stated: ‘There is only one Boss. THE CUSTOMER.  And he can fire everybody from the Chairman on down simply by spending his money elsewhere.’

CXM must have a razor-like focus on customer satisfaction, customer loyaltyandcustomer valueat all times. In order to develop more rewarding relationships that lead to increased conversions and higher revenues, marketers will have to be willing to let their buyers be their guide. When56% of B2B Buyers rate their experience as unsatisfactory(2012 B2B Buyer Landscape Report – New Challenges, New Complexities), there is lots of room for improvement.

The fact is, people do business withpeople they like and trust.  How much is your own Customer Experience delivering satisfaction, loyalty, goodwill, instilling trust and a delightful experience?

Customer Experience is at the heart of the 2013 IDM B2B Marketing Conference on 14 May. A few places still remain.

This feature appeared first on IDM's B2B blog - to see more from the IDM on B2B go to http://www.theidm.com/blog/subjects/b2b/