CRM analyst throws down gauntlet to #CX vendor pretenders, misses mark

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In a recent ZDNet post, CRM analyst Paul Greenberg recently threw down the gauntlet towards vendors claiming they were focused on customer experience, saying they are “just jumping on a trend bandwagon without substance.”

Fortunately vendors are offered a guest post to “make their case” as to why they can lay claim to being a CX vendor when just a short time ago they were flying CRM or Social CRM banners.

First set of vendors Paul called out:
Oracle
SAP
Get Satisfaction
Medallia
Allegiance
Genesys Labs
Clarabridge

I could give a much longer list of software companies jumping on the CX bandwagon, but this is a decent start.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder… Where was Paul’s gauntlet for the “Social CRM” vendors a few years ago? Then it seemed any vendor with a hint of social functionality could say they were Social CRM. I don’t remember any “prove it” requests.

Just recently a vendor rep asked me for a CEM market sizing. I’m guessing he was tasked to decide whether CEM was big enough to be worthy of a marketing message change. I can see it now: “We’re the leader in CXM solutions, a $1.8B market growing 38% per year.”

Paul’s gauntlet is misplaced. Vendors sell solutions and tools. Only companies (not vendors) can define and execute a Customer Experience strategy, which may include use of vendors like the ones mentioned.

Vendors can and will adopt messaging to reflect the top priorities of their customers. The growing CX bandwagon reflects a shift in business priorities — a welcome one, in my view — from the social mania of the past few years. Hopefully this time around business leaders will realize that buying a CX “solution” doesn’t mean they actually have a CX strategy. Or that they are delivering differentiating experiences.

All that said, there are risks that vendor marketing will confuse the market about what Customer Experience is really all about. Learn more in Colin Shaw’s post: RIP Customer Experience – Seven reasons why Customer Experience is in danger of dying.

If your business is making progress with Customer Experience, I encourage you to nominate your company for the Customer Experience Excellence Awards. This awards program will help ensure that CX continues to focus on customers, not software.

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