Holistic CXM in 4 stages: A case of one retailer


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Customer experience often goes together with a whole range of adjectives like good, bad, average, decreased, etc. In fact, there is more to customer experience than measuring it, since it’s nothing without actions. To go the full round of CX management, you would need to call upon multiple sources of data to analyze, along with multiple levers to pull in order to retain what you’ve got so far or bring about a positive change.

Holistic CXM: How we see it

Our IT consultants at ScienceSoft love a good theory, but we always make sure it’s all rooted in real-life practice. When it comes to customer experience management, we put forward a model for holistic CXM specifically for B2C companies where the sheer volume of customers make it impossible to attend to each and every one personally.

That’s said, technological aid is required to handle data systematically with deeper insights, ensure no detail is lost and enable reporting that would bring all the taken efforts down to aggregated, digestible results. For this we choose the CRM system as the one storing the most comprehensive customer data, and in the stage-by-stage breakdown below show how exactly it helps.

Holistic CXM in 4 stages A case of one retailer

Stage 1. Digging customer satisfaction

This includes obtaining actual data on customer satisfaction via regular Voice of the Customer programs, as well as by internal sourcing from multiple departments.
How CRM helps: end-to-end management of customer satisfaction surveys across communication channels; social sentiment tracking; integration with other customer-related IT systems such as corporate websites, ecommerce platforms, customer portals, ERP, call centers and live chats, as well as field audit procedures and findings.

Stage 2. Analyzing the ‘wrongs’

Once you discover any trouble in your customer experience land, combine these findings with other relevant facts on your hands and analyze this set to test assumptions on what has caused the trouble in the first place.
How CRM helps: customer segmentation per specified dimensions (demographic, geographic, psychographic and more) and finding segments affected; automated reporting dashboards that work well with both quantitative and qualitative data.

Stage 3. Moving and shaking

At this stage you decide what, where and how to change in order to reach the desirable level of customer satisfaction again. This may include immediate and long-term actions to correct current issues as well as preventive ones to avoid such mistakes in the future.
How CRM helps: automated workflows with if-then rules and assignable roles, which also visualize progress tracking.

Stage 4. Drawing the bottom line

Now that the actions are taken, it’s time to reap the results. Another round of customer satisfaction review may be required, preferably tailored to specific findings you made at previous stages, but mostly it’s about looking at changes in customer behavior through the most appropriate sources on your hands.
How CRM helps: tailored satisfaction surveying of affected customer segments, comparative analytics of both financial and behavioral data.

To cut it short, there is nothing better than a case study, albeit fictional, that can sum up all critical points in one go. Here is our take on full-cycle customer experience management, specifically for retailers (though it can be applied with slight assumptions to other industries), to illustrate our point.

Here’s the case…

Once upon a time there was a retailer with 1,000+ stores in 7 US states. When going through their regular ‘brand health’ routine via customer satisfaction surveying (stage 1), they came across comparatively lower satisfaction scores at 17 stores. That was the initial alarming sign that triggered off the CXM cycle described below.

Pulling multidimensional data from their CRM and the systems integrated with it, they found out lower sales per sq. ft. for the same stores as well, however with no correlation between these numbers and geographic locations, out-of-stock rates or assortment. Calling upon other relevant methods, the customer experience manager scheduled field auditing that revealed long queues at peak hours at 15 of 17 stores in question (stage 2).

Considering this a possible reason for lower customer satisfaction and dropping sales, the CXM team negotiated heavily with the operational and HR departments to outline a set of corrective actions for 8 of 17 stores with the most critical indicators and launched this CX improvement campaign via automated CRM workflows.

It’s common though that not every store manager is going to ‘buy’ what the CX manager tries to ‘sell’ them, especially as it means spending more now but gaining only deferred (and not guaranteed) benefits at some point in the future. In this particular case, the CX team won the approval for 5 stores where operational teams carried out corrective measures (stage 3).

Then, they went on to monitor month-by-month dynamics of changes in customer behavior against sales indicators to verify if the root cause had been addressed correctly (stage 4). This appeared to be the case for 4 out of the 5 stores throughout the 6-month monitoring, where customer satisfaction scores returned to normal while sales per sq. ft. leveled off compared to the retailer’s average rate across non-affected locations.

To conclude, 4 out of 17 (24%) affected stores showed improvements both in sales and customer satisfaction as a result of a CXM cycle. In the long run, using this case as a proof of the retailer’s CX concept, it could be possible to apply it to the rest of the stores by going through another round of negotiations and approvals with the store management (back to stage 3 and on).

No leaving out

What we have done here should tell you more about the cause and effect relations between meaningful data and strategic decisions that make for higher financial returns. In this particular case, it all starts and ends in the CRM, going the full circle from collecting customer satisfaction data (stage 1) to revealing the root cause (stage 2) to implementing corrective actions (stage 3) to re-evaluating the results (stage 4).

It’s worth reiterating though that CXM only brings results when done in its entirety. Abandon it half way, and your efforts will be left hanging in the air with no actual impact (and no ROI figures to show on your report).

Karina Dalhunova
Karina is a Salesforce Consultant and Business Analyst at ScienceSoft, a software development and consulting company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. As a certified business analyst, Karina contributes to ScienceSoft’s Salesforce projects by gathering requirements, creating functional specifications, user guides and manuals, and performing UI prototyping. As a Salesforce consultant, Karina designs sales-related processes and helps ScienceSoft’s customers raise their revenue with Sales Cloud. Karina has contributed to a number of successful Salesforce projects.


  1. Great article Darya, thanks for starting this conversation. I agree that companies should focus on the customer experience rather than “managing” the needs of customers. Each touchpoint offers an opportunity to improve the customer experience – and businesses need to start paying attention to the overall customer experience across all of these touchpoints.

    I like your point that traditional CRM functions aren’t going away – far from it. And I agree that there are new features that can help businesses improve the customer experience. But creating a great customer experience is more than just software – it’s the approach, the mentality, and the culture of the business that makes or breaks the customer experience (assuming the business has decent software, employees and organization, of course.)


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