Why is CEM so difficult?


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Few companies will deny the importance of CEM while many fail to deliver. Below I have discussed some of the reasons why I think companies continue to struggle with CEM.

Fuzzy definitions: CEM often means different things to different people inside companies. Perhaps companies need to have clearly defined customer principles which are well communicated and become part of the company ethos.

Visibility: Often there is nobody senior to oversee the entire companies CEM efforts which results in a loss of visibility, momentum and focus. Assigning a senior member of the company to guide the CEM strategy will surely ensure sufficient resource allocation, gain organisation wide support and provide continuous monitoring.

Lack of management approaches: This is the case of good intentions but no game plan. There seems to be a general lack of clear CEM approaches and management tools. Companies need simple and implementable CEM practices that work.

Not a priority: If CEM is not one of the companies top priorities it will always take the back seat to other initiatives. Unfortunately CEM cannot be successful unless it is accepted as a continuous journey- one that requires constant focus and attention.

No strategy: Many companies claim to be managing their customer experiences yet lack a formal strategy with allocated resources. Good customer experiences will only happen when a company has taken intentional and calculated steps towards providing them. It just doesn’t happen on its own.

Conflicting perceptions: A customer’s perception of their experience often differs to the company’s perception of the experience they provide. Until companies can put themselves into their customer’s shoes they will struggle with their CEM efforts. Furthermore few companies know what customers value and what keeps them coming back.

Once-off efforts: CEM cannot come in the form of short project bursts but should be managed as a continuous function of the business. This is achieved by allocating a permanent CEM team that embarks on a CEM journey with constant feedback, measures and new initiatives.

These are just some of possibly many reasons, but hopefully a quick assessment of the above could help companies determine why and where they continue to struggle with CEM.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Great observations, Margot. All too true. These hurdles seem to stem from forgetting the importance of the customer in funding paychecks and almost everything else the company does. Until a company operationalizes customer experience management enterprise-wide, it will ‘leave on the table’ a lot of money and goodwill that holistic CEM provides. Significant research findings on CEM ROI, as well as best practices for strategy and execution, are readily available, along with help from CEM veterans like us who have had professional success ‘in the trenches’ in overcoming these hurdles.

    Lynn Hunsaker helps companies improve customer data ROI, customer-centricity and customer experience innovation. She is author of 3 handbooks. See ClearAction.biz, Twitter.com/ClearAction, Facebook.dj/customerexperience.


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