Does CEM Need a Technology Platform?

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The title for this post is a question because I really would like to get some feedback on this idea. Is it time for the technology industry to provide a platform for Customer Experience Management?

For the past 10-15 years, CRM rode the tech hype for good and bad. The roots of CRM actually go back to the 1980s and the concept of “relationship marketing.” But it wasn’t until tech was introduced with direct/database marketing and then CRM that relationship marketing became productized.

The history of CEM is quite different. You can go back to 2+ decades to Jan Carlzon’s book “Moments of Truth” or maybe 10 years ago to “experiential marketing.” In neither case is tech the central focus. Around 2005 CEM seemed to take off as a buzzword, but since then it’s been mainly pushed by consultants as a strategy/methodology. In some cases tech can help, but it’s generally been a secondary issue.

Our research has found that most people think of CRM/CEM as a kind of left brain/right brain approach to customer relationships. CRM more analytic and internally focused and thus heavier on automation, and CEM more externally focused and more about people and their emotional response to interactions.

Just like real brains, it’s good to use both halves! One of my favorite examples is Best Buy, because they are very analytical inside to figure out the products that each store should carry and how to promote them (CRM), but are equally adept at hiring/training their staff to provide a great shopping experience (CEM).

CEM Solutions

Vendors have been slow to adopt CEM in their marketing, in part because a “CEM solution” doesn’t fit in one of those technology buckets that analysts like to create. And besides, not all experiences can or should be automated — think the retail shopping experience and interactions with staff on the floor.

RightNow was one of the first to really major on CEM in its messaging, going back 2-3 years now. The company sells a SaaS-based solution to improve customer service, which of course is one important experience. A few other vendors have pushed CEM marketing messages, including Genesys a couple of years ago. And some of the Voice of Customer vendors (e.g. Satmetrix, Tealeaf) are promoting their products as at least part of a CEM solution.

So there are plenty of CEM point solutions, or CRM solutions that can be used to support CEM. But there hasn’t been a concerted effort to create a technology category around CEM like CRM. That appears to be changing.

CEM going Tech?

Late last year, SAP unveiled a new go-to-market approach with CEM at the forefront. Much more than a marketing makeover and I think a significant development for CEM if they can pull it off. I will be interested to find out how this shift is progressing at the upcoming SAPPHIRE in Orlando.

More recently Adobe has been making some noise about a CEM “platform.” At a dinner hosted by Adobe yesterday we talked about the need for an “experience” layer to tie together end-to-end customer interactions across multiple channels. What this leads up to is the notion that large enterprises will require a “CEM platform” to bring order to the chaos that exists today in poorly integrated silos of CRM automation. Kind of a blend of BPM and composite apps, with a dash of content management and channel orchestration thrown in for good measure. Definitely NOT a warmed over CRM solution with a new label.

I have mixed feeling about tech vendors getting interested in CEM in a big way. On the one hand, technology can certainly help improve some experiences — in contact centers, web interactions or mobile. And bigger companies could use help with a platform or glue layer to avoid “touchpoint amnesia” and other problems that degrade the customer experience.

But it would be a shame for CEM to become just another tech buzzword and for people to think they can “install” it like CRM, forgetting about the role of people and emotion to make CEM really successful.

This is an important turning point for the CEM industry. So what do you think? Does the industry need a CEM platform? And if so, who are the players who are likely to provide it?

24 COMMENTS

  1. Great post Bob. Thanks for taking the time to post such an intriguing question. Of course, my answer to your question of whether the industry needs a CEM platform is – it depends!

    Customer Experience Management is the sum total of the interactions a customer has with your company. My job as a marketing technologist is to empower marketers, make them more productive, and hopefully more profitable online. The key objective is for marketers to be both effective (do the right thing) and efficient (do the thing right) when engaging with their customers and delivering optimal experiences both online and offline.

    A CEM Platform talks directly to the efficiency part of that objective. For this, technology is essential. It’s a platform that shields marketers from the inherent complexities of marketing technology. But that’s it. The platform is leveller. For marketers to be effective, well that’s a people thing and the key differentiator that sorts the successful folks from those that are not.

    The CEM Platform players are going to be those vendors that can provide compelling technology stories around their ability to support marketing activities across multiple channels, control and/or facilitate customer conversations, as well as manage, measure and monitor numerous integrated digital campaigns. You’ve named SAP and Adobe, but major CMS majors like Sitecore, OpenText, are already on the move in this space. It will only be a matter time before the real bake-off between CEM platforms really takes off.

    But in all of this we should bare in mind that the CEM platform will make us more efficient, so what steps are people taking to be effective in their marketing efforts? This is not a technology problem and one that is largely lost amongst the ensuing platform wars. However, the successful CEM platform vendor are the ones that understand what is required for a marketer to be effective and will bend over backwards to build these capabilities into the platform to make them more efficient.

    So Bob, I guess that’s a long way of saying yes we do need a CEM platform but like any other platform, that’s only the beginning.

  2. Cleve, thanks for a great reply.

    Just hope that people don’t forget your closing advice to help people be effective too.

    The lesson learned in CRM is that the soft stuff (people) is really the hard stuff.

    Still, the reality is that we are living in a multi-channel world, and many of them are digital. A CEM platform can certainly help deal with this chaos more efficiently.

  3. I think clive’s point in that CEM is not a technology (only) problem is a good observation. In Sapient’s role with many clients, our first step in any CEM initiative is to get the organization educated on what they need to do to drive a better CEM, THEN to help put the right technology in place that will support their ability to deliver on that experience.

    So it’s define the experience, organize to be able to provide it and put in the technology to deliver it. (People, Process, Technology)

    CRM in my opinion was also NOT just install it and done. If it was how did/do so many firms make millions on SAP implementation (and sometime still not solve the CRM problem). Those projects (if not all) should have also focused on the people and process part a bit more.

  4. Thanks for your comment (and nice meeting you at the Adobe dinner in SF). Unfortunately, the cause of many (most?) CRM failures was a tech-first orientation. People and process were ignored until it was too late. Let’s not repeat that mistake with CEM!

  5. Great question. But even though you’ve defined a CEM platform as “a blend of BPM and composite apps, with a dash of content management and channel orchestration thrown in for good measure”, I’m having a hard time seeing how that is “definitely NOT a warmed over CRM solution with a new label.” If the real problem is “the chaos that exists today in poorly integrated silos of CRM automation,” that’s because CRM was implemented poorly (i.e., in silos), not because it has the wrong functionality.

    And I’d further note that a proper definition of CRM would include marketing too, even though many CRM suites are in fact pretty weak on the marketing side. Again, that’s a matter of implementation, not conceptual scope.

    If you want to add another thought to the mix, consider the “marketing is digital analytics” proposition being floated by IBM, which is also about creating an optimal customer experience. IBM’s solution includes marketing automation and Web touchpoints but not conventional CRM, which it seems to define mostly as call centers.

    I guess the question would be whether CEM could actually be a separate system, or encompasses so much of a company’s infrastructure (all touchpoints, all customer-related analytics, much of human resources, many operational activities such as merchandising and logistics) that it’s pretty much the same as enterprise management in general. But if I did want to carve out a separate niche for a CEM system, I’d probably define it as a relatively thin analytical layer that captures information from all the touchpoint systems, organizes it from a customer-centric viewpoint, and identifies the impact of each interaction on future behavior, with an eye towards identifying opportunities for improvement. In particular, I’d want it to be heavily process oriented so I can understand how my standard operating procedures are impacting customers.

  6. David, this is a great point. I asked this question myself: Why can’t CRM be that CEM platform too?

    I think SAP and other mega vendors will say they can offer the CEM platform along with CRM solutions. But most companies have a hodgepodge of point solutions and find it very difficult to create/manage a great customer end-to-end experience. That seems to be the point of a “layer” that Adobe offers.

    A lot of CRM systems currently implemented really aren’t very experience-centric, but rather built around data and optimizing specific touchpoints to achieve company goals. Thus, they don’t tell much about how the interaction impact customer loyalty or future behavior (although EFM vendors attempt to fill this gap). Seems like a potential opportunity for a CEM platform.

  7. Nice piece Bob. I think there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what CEM is how technology plays into it.

    MORE COW BELL

    Here is a dead fact. There is not a single company in the world looking to buy a CEM platform. Marketers are not tearing down the hallways of F500 companies screaming, "I have a fever…and the only prescription is more CEM!”

    And don't look to IT. They don't get it and don't care. Does it cut costs? Yep. Does ease the burden on their highly skilled and overworked IT staff? Sure.
    "Hmmm,” thinks the CIO, "Data center consolidation looks like a winner.”

    [Pause for the collective gasps of CEM ISVs…and CIOs]

    Here is the truth.

    This type of "Platform” is an important part of driving top line revenue and customers want it once they understand it.

    Why? It's a solution that helps answer every company's primary question…whether they can articulate it or not.

    The primary question is this. "How do we meaningfully connect with our customers in such a way that they become hopelessly addicted to the value our products and services provide them?”

    Traditionally it's been difficult to connect with customers in a meaningful way across multiple channels but nowhere has it been more difficult than online.

    TALKIN' ABOUT MY GENERATION

    The Dot Com generation has struggled with the online challenge since the late 1990s and into today.

    Interestingly enough, the people getting their arms around it are this next generation of tech savvy marketers and customers who have grown up with technology AND social networking.

    They expect a meaningful connection online. They demand it!

    THE MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS…

    Adobe has built a suite of solutions that tackle this challenge head on. They have been and continue to be successful in the space.

    So is it a CEM platform? Does it inch customers closer to answering their primary question? Is this something the market needs? "Signs point to yes!” on all counts!

    Jess Moore
    http://www.3sharecorp.com

  8. Bob

    There are a number of different ways to answer your question. YES: any major organization seeking to mobilize it’s employees and understand it’s customers will have a heavy dependence on technologies to do so. In a data rich space, with thousands of employees touching the customer, companies will inevitably lean on their current and supplemental systems to effect their strategy.

    BUT… this is also a conversation about labels. We in the technology industry love labels as we can create a bandwagon effect. CEM, like CRM, is an innocuous term on the surface but is designed to converge on a set of features and functionality that suites the vendor quoting it. There is no universal definition of what CEM is today, and I suspect that each of the vendors you mention has a particular slant on what CEM should be!

    For an early stage industry that lack of definition is just fine. Lots of competing technologies with very different purposes will be used to create a superior customer experience. Many of them will carry the CEM moniker. Customers could get confused, but more likely will simply dig into the technology to understand what part of the “CEM spectrum” the solution addresses.

  9. Does a letter need a word processor?

    It depends. If you need to write a personal letter to your girlfriend, probably a piece of paper and a pen is enough. If you need to write a personalized letter to 100K customers probably you need a word processor.

    I personally think the same logic can be applied to CEM. I spent the last 4 years working on CEM projects. People (customers and employees), process, and …yes, technology.
    If you start to collect – as one of my client – 100K customer feedback per week, well the technology becomes important to lean the CEM process.

    I wrote a white paper on this topic. Feel free to download a copy here: http://www.box.net/shared/7xxpxbkkfg

  10. Bob one of the key concerns about CEM becoming a platform implementation would be the risk of having solutions so highly customised to a specific environment that they end up being almost totally inflexible. We have all seen this time and again where an ‘off the shelf’ solution is customised for a specific environ to work with legacy systems, and the result is a “that’ll be 6 months and $500K” to change things outcome.

    To me, CEM-supporting technologies will need to be themselves somewhat agile – that is, as we evolve our understanding of both our customers and the field of CEM itself, I’d like to think we can easily adapt and respond. Further, I’d hate to see CEM becoming overly systemised as some of the other posts have pointed out. There is a definite human ‘art’ to CEM, where the application of ethnography and design methodologies is required to truly understand and innovate.

    Interesting post- we’ve got a lot to consider!

  11. Federico, I agree that tech serves a purpose.

    But my post was not about technology tools, but rather whether CEM needs a platform.

    A platform is more than a tool that does one function. It’s something to build around. Platforms support multiple solutions and often multiple vendors.

  12. Cyrus, this is a very astute observation. CEM really should be about creating differentiating experiences. If companies approach it in a cookie cutter like approach, it sort of defeats that purpose.

    I do think that platforms can serve as a foundation for companies to improve execution and innovation, but not as a replacement for leadership and people.

  13. Hi Bob,

    It is important to agree on definitions:

    Accordingly to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform) if you consider a Platform in Technology environment you have the following definitions:

    * Computing platform, a framework on which applications may be run.
    * Facebook Platform, a set of APIs provided by Facebook
    * Platform game, a genre of video games

    A Conceptual Framework is explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_framework

    Does CEM needs a platform? Not necessarily, it depends on the process an organization needs to support.

    Does CEM needs a conceptual framework? Yes. (see for instance http://www.slideshare.net/fedec65/custvox-methodology-framework-v1-2)

    What would be then a CEM platform? I consider a CEM platform:

    a) A computing platform to support the CEM framework.
    b) A CEM platform with a set of API in order to be integrated with other business applications (e.g. CRM, BI, ERP, etc.)
    c) A Service Oriented Architecture solution to support the CEM framework.

    RightNow is a CRM and not a CEM solution. A pure CEM solution is, for instance, CustVox (http://www.custvox.com).

    The reasons:

    a) It is a native CEM solution.
    b) The solution supports a CEM framework.
    c) It is Service Oriented Architecture (Quoting you – “It is something to build around”).

  14. Richard, thanks for your comments.

    I think the more common definition of CEM to this point has been about the methodology of managing end-to-end customer experiences to drive loyalty.

    On the tech side, “CEM” has been used inconsistently, but probably more commonly applied to listening solutions (EFM).

    But Adobe (and others) are now providing CEM solutions/platforms on the execution side — experience orchestration across channels.

    Will be interesting to watch the CEM tech industry takes shape!

  15. Fair point. Both point solutions/application and platforms are built on technology.

    I think the term platform is used somewhat generally. For me a true industry platform supports lots of applications and third party solutions too. So for example, Salesforce.com has solutions, but also offers the Force.com as a platform for developers and other vendors.

    In CEM, I see two broad areas where platforms could add value:

    1. Listening — multi-channel Voice of Customer. Currently most vendors focus on a subset of customer/market input. There are specialty vendors in survey-based feedback, web, mobile and social/sentiment analysis. A platform could support all these channels and integrate analysis from specialty apps.

    2. Orchestration — cross-channel execution. In some cases CRM systems might work, but I think in most large companies there is a need to improve integration to provide a more pleasing cross-channel experience and minimize ‘touchpoint amnesia.” So many silos, so little time!

    So maybe we should be talking about platforms, plural. I’m not sure we’ll see any vendor do both of the above anytime soon, except maybe IBM on a big custom integration project. But that’s not a platform if it’s built just for one customer.

  16. Bob: Great post. Thanks for teeing up this discussion!

    I hope that CEM does not go down the path of CRM and get defined as a technology. CEM represents a set of activities, which we’ve actually outlined as four core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. See: http://experiencematters.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/the-four-customer-experience-core-competencies/

    Having said that, many of the leading CEM practices can be significantly enhanced with new and emerging technologies. Some that come to mind are:

    > Customer Insight and Action (CIA) platforms for collecting and disseminating customer insights from vendors like Allegiance, ResponseTek, Medallia, MarketTools, and Confirmit
    > Text analytics for examining unstructured feedback like social media and inbound emails in the contactcenter from vendors like Attensity, Clarabridge, and IBM SPSS
    > Call center recording analysis for garnering insight from the large number of calls form vendors like Nexidia, NICE, and Witness
    > Multi-channel experience platforms for deploying a consistent experience across channels form vendors like Adobe
    > Contact center apps that make it easier for customer-facing employees to deliver great experiences from vendors like Kana, RightNow and Salesforce.com

    This is just a sampling of the types of technologies that can enable great customer experience.

    But, let’s go back to the question about a CEM platform. The CEM platform is not a technology, but practices around Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness

  17. Thanks for a great response, Bruce.

    It’s interesting to see the parallels with CRM here. In CRM-land, many of us preached that CRM success required a focus on strategy, metrics, people and processes — with technology used as an enabling platform where it made sense.

    In our research, 80% of success was derived from non-technology factors. Yet it seems like tech got 80% of the attention. It’s one of the reasons CRM struggled in the early years and to this day still has a automation orientation.

    Vendors are now taking an interest in CEM now, and it’s a Good Thing provided businesses don’t repeat the mistakes of CRM and start with a technology=success mentality.

    Your new Customer Experience Professionals Association should be able to help! I encourage readers to check out http://www.cxpa.org.

  18. Totally agree with your points Bob.

    One important point: you mentioned about survey-based vendors and IBM. None of them started their journey building a CEM platform. They all try to reposition products created with a totally different goal (e.g. market research) into CEM products. That plays an important role.

    At CustVox we started in 2006 thinking and developing a CEM platform. Our goal has been always specific: support Customer Experience Management. That allows us to cover:

    1. Listening — multi-channel Voice of Customer: a platform supporting all the channels: voice, sms, web, email, social networks.

    2. Integrate analysis — text mining, sentiment analysis and voice mining.

    3. SOA Integration with third party services: CRM, BI, Predictive Analytcs, etc.

    4. Orchestration — not only cross-channel but also muti-channel execution.

    The reason we cover them is easy: we started from the beginning (2006) thinking about CEM or VOC.

  19. Bruce,

    I agree with your organizational behavior concerns. You probably remember the presentation I did last November at Cx Exchange in Monte Carlo (available here: http://www.cesconi.com/?p=235).

    Slide 4 explains exactly my point of view: CEM include different high level entities that must be correctly aligned to the strategy.

    a) Systems
    b) Processes (including business rules for people and systems)
    c) Touch Points
    d) Interactions
    e) Customer (rational)
    f) Experience

    The two extremes are (slide 7) full inside out (e.g. Easy Jet?) or full outside in (e.g. Apple?).
    A platform helps to support that environment delivering the expected CEM results.

    In the case I presented (slides 10-30) CustVox is the platform supporting the CEM process aligning all entities toward the CE strategic goals.

    The bottom line:

    All components (including technology) have the same importance in order to reach the expected results.

  20. Great post Bob. And an interesting conversation that has developed around it.

    We tend to see the world in terms of who we are and what we do. It's a cognitive bias colloqially known as Maslow's Hammer. So advertising people who obsess about Brands talk about the customer experience (CEx) as creating a branded experience. Internet people who obsess about eCommerce talk about the CEx as creating a better on-line browsing experience. And CRM people who obsess about marketing, sales and service talk about CEx as… you've guessed it.

    These are all inside-out versions of CEx. They are just about companies, consultants and vendors. They are not about their customers. They all pay lip-service to customers, but the customer is not at the heart of their thinking, let alone their doing. It is a lot like waiting on-hold in a customer service queue and hearing a sugary voice intone, "your business is important to us”. Sure, but not enough to staff the call centre with sufficient people to answer my call.

    The CEx IS about brands, and the online experience, and marketing, sales and service, but it is about so much more as well. As @cleve pointed out, "CEx… is the sum total of the interactions a customer has with your company". That's close, but not quite there. Most of the inside-out versions of CEx don't see the 900lb Gorilla in the room. That for the vast majority of products the most frequent and most important touchpoints are with the company's product during the days, weeks, months, even years of usage. The CEx is mostly about value-in-use.

    If the CEx is mostly about value-in-use, then the CEx platform should mostly be about enabling customers to get the most out of using the company's products during usage touchpoints. That starts with helping the customer establish a need for the product, helping them to make the right choices and offering them the right sales terms. All the touchpoints the inside-out CEx-ers talk about. The ones of value to the company. But critically, it moves on to supporting them when they first use the product and then over a lifetime of product usage, up to the point where the product is disposed of. The touchpoints the inside-out CEx-ers don't like to talk about. The ones of value to the customer.

    But this doesn't mean bending over backwards just to give customers everything for free. Companies don't need to become charities. It means understanding what customers are trying to do at each touchpoint in the CEx, at what creates value for them during the touchpoint and then working out how to enable them to create more value so that the company can create more value too. The CEx isn't just about creating value for customers, it's about value co-creation together with customers.

    If companies do this intelligently, it can turn upside-down how they go to market. Rather than just charging customers for outputs at the point of sale, then abandoning them to their fate, they can also charge customers for outcomes during those weeks, months and years of using the product too. For example, Rolls Royce Aviation doesn't sell aero engines any more. Instead, it sells 'power by the hour'. Customers only pay when the aero engine is used to fly their airplanes. Its part of a move towards outcome-based contracting that is sweeping business.

    If we want CEx to become more than just another advertising slogan, 'like' button or marketing cross-sell campaign, we need to start to think about it from the customer's perspective. And to work out how to co-create more value together with customers. Not convinced? Ask yourself a simple question, "which company would you prefer to do business with? One that is only interested in creating value for itself, or one that wants to co-create value together with YOU!”. It's a no-brainer isn't it?

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Merz, He & Vargo
    The evolving brand logic: a service-dominant logic perspective
    http://www.sdlogic.net/Merz_Yi_Vargo_2009.pdf

    [email protected]
    ‘Power by the Hour’: Can Paying Only for Performance Redefine How Products Are Sold and Serviced?
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1665

  21. Hi Federico

    An interesting response to a complicated question. And good to see the latest Cablecom updates (I have seen earlier ones you have presented at the same IIR Telecoms conferences I have presented at).

    One statement you make, however, troubles me deeply…

    All components (including technology) have the same importance in order to reach the expected results

    You suggest that each of the different components you list are equally important when creating a winning CEx. Is that really so? Research and experience with CRM suggests otherwise. A number of studies have shown unequivocally that all the factors you list are not equally important. For example, QCI, in a study of over 550 CRM implementations found that the top factors with the highest correlation to business performance are: first, People & Organisation, second, Customer Management Activity and third, Appropriate Measures. Information & Technology only came in a lowly eighth in importance. Clearly all components do not have the same importance. At least not in CRM. And there is no reason to think that they would have in CExM either.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    QCI
    CMAT: State of the Nation II, 2002
    http://www.cimkent.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/andy_green_qci.PDF

  22. What would your CEM system/platform look like if your customers designed it?

    Don’t customers (consumers B2C & B2B) already have CEM?

    If CEM, at its simplest, is the set of every customer to company interaction and managing CEM is orchestrating resources to succeed in each interaction than a CEM platform hosts each interaction? Informs each interaction? Optimizes – improves performance of each interaction?

    (A CEM walk through helpful to this discussion is here: http://slidesha.re/HHAQk start at slide 7)

    CEM is too big to be a platform and big enough to be a framework for a set of conditions, requirements and guidelines for every system and process in a company’s IT ecosystem.

    (If you read this far, in exchange for your time investment – send me a note and I’ll send you a pdf copy of Customer Worthy, 196 pages about evolving to a customer experience “platform”)

    Jess’s point that companies have not designated a 2012 CEM platform budget may be the biggest reality check here except…

    Justifying a CEM platform should not be difficult for companies moving quickly to fully functional mobile applications where companies want to attract, inform, negotiate, sell, service and socialize with customers – especially when they realize each mobile interaction needs to be “aware” connected to the rest of the customer’s interactions (please don’t use 360 here).

    Great post and discussion Bob and a who’s who of commenters many who have been in the CRM repair business and at the forefront of CEM – but this all looks like CRM II (someone should have mentioned that Siebel funded the CRM story last time, CEM, CRM II, the sequel will be funded by IBM, Adobe, SAP and Oracle…and MSFT & Google) – so yes a lot of noise… but what change will customers experience?

    Thank you David Raab …

    Michael R Hoffman, CLIENTxCLIENT
    Author, “Customer Worthy, why and how everyone in your organization must think like a customer” @ amazon
    [email protected]

  23. Graham, thanks for a thoughtful comment. Of course you’re right that in the broadest sense of the term, customer experience includes usage of a product/service. Whether usage is the same as co-creating value is a discussion for another time.

    For experiences to matter (impact customer buying, loyalty behavior, etc.) they have to be memorable. Really good or bad experiences will “move the needle” but most experiences don’t because they fall within the customers’ norm of what they expected.

    A few years ago we ran a study asking customers to write about memorable experiences, and we found that they broke down into the following major categories:
    * marketing 8%
    * sales 15%
    * purchasing 19%
    * usage 20%
    * service 35%
    * other 3%

    So, yes, usage is part of the mix. But it’s hard to see how a “CEM” platform or any other system-related approach can make an impact here — other than perhaps VoC programs that provide input to fix or improve products/services.

    Many the experiences in our study happened at touchpoints that theoretically CRM or other systems should handle. But it’s interesting to note that when we analyzed *why* these experiences were memorable, the most common factor was people who were friendly, empowered, trained and knowledgeable. Or not. Memorable experiences were split about 50/50 good vs. bad.

    That said, the point of this post was to see what everyone thought about the need for a CEM *technology* platform. Based on this discussion and other research I’ve been conducting, I’d say a platform can add value in multi-channel listening and experience orchestration especially for digital or automated channels. But not — if we’ve learned anything from CRM — as a substitute for a customer-centric workforce.

  24. Hi Graham,

    I really don’t want to trouble you deeply 😉

    First of all I think CEM is not CRM.

    I partially agree on your point in term of PRIORITY, not importance. All components have the same importance, all components have a different priority. It depends from different factors, for instance, in which stage of the CEM life cycle the company is and what is the CEM strategic goal the company wants to achieve.

    Let’s do a simple real life example:

    a) We started our program in 2006. At that time what was very important (priority) was to manage the organization behavior (Employee Experience Management). No needs of a specific technology.

    b) In 2010 the company collect more than 50K feedback per month from 14 different touch points. The technology need is high:

    – Capturing feedback Multi-channeling
    – Capturing feedback Cross-channeling
    – Analyze feedback in real time (Text Mining and Voice Mining)
    – Integrate the feedback within the organization. Send the right information to the right people at the right time (business rules engine)
    – Manage the Experience: CEM Agent User Interface – a way to handle the feedback, close the loop with the customer, generate improvement for the organization.
    – Integration with Data Warehouse
    – Integration with Business Intelligence tools
    – Integration with CRM system
    – ….

    In 2006 the technology need was very low, in 2010 is very high and crucial in order to deliver a ‘WOW’ effect to our customers.

    I agree with you in term of different priority.

    Ciao!

    Federico

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