Myth No. 5: CRM Software Equals a Customer Experience Solution


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As CRM concepts have matured, the hype-engines have been thrust into overdrive. The resulting marketing noise can make it difficult to differentiate between CRM and CEM. But make no mistake; Customer Experience Management is much different that Customer Relationship Management. Choosing a CRM software solution to solve your customer experience issues can miss the mark. Here’s why:

  1. CRM software is typically more functional (rather than process-centric) in nature. Many CRM systems are designed to provide specific point solutions to support CRM functions such as call center support, eCommerce, marketing automation, or loyalty reward management. While each point solution often works well, CRM software solutions alone won’t enable or help to manage the end-to-end nature of the customer experience process.
  2. CRM software is limited to the reach of its technology and can’t support or influence all touch points. While CRM software has come a long way over the past decade, there are still customer experience touch points that can’t be directly influenced or managed by CRM software. Touch points such as employee interactions, aspects of direct marketing, and third-party touch points may have a significant impact on the customer experience but may not be supported by CRM software.
  3. CRM software is often implemented as a best-of-breed solution and lacks the level of enterprise-wide integration necessary to develop and manage a true 360-degree view of the customer. CRM software solutions are great at managing customer information. The view of the customer can limited, however, if a complete set of customer interactions, behaviors, or preferences aren’t properly captured and analyzed. Interactions such as inbound and outbound communications, campaigns, or customer care interactions are often not tracked and managed by CRM solutions. CRM solution alone won’t solve this problem; businesses must take the steps to engrain CEM concepts throughout all touch points in their enterprise.
  4. CRM solutions provide a limited set of customer experience metrics. While CRM solutions often provide key functional metrics, they are often transaction in nature and won’t provide a comprehensive set of metrics necessary to analyze, measure, and manage the end-to-end customer experience.

While CRM software is an important first step for any business seeking to improve their customer relationships, it is not a surrogate for Customer Experience Management. Companies that are seeking to establish or improve their total customer experience should look beyond CRM software solutions and seek customer experience solutions that augment CRM software. CEM specific capabilities include business process management, sophisticated customer experience analytics, and enterprise-wide visibility to customer interactions that can span the total customer experience.

Robert Howard
Robert G. Howard, Partner at Kurt Salmon, has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing innovative customer experiences across web, retail, customer care, and mobile channels. Mr. Howard is the co-author of the The Customer Experience Fiasco, and 7 Steps to Customer Experience Domination.


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