Customers play a crucial role in every organization. Brands that are successful have consistent customer focus, which makes them stand out in the crowd. Companies largely rely on consumer data and analysis to understand customer journey and behaviour better. Consumer data can be gathered from various sources and applied to operational practices to provide a better experience. There is decent market for customer management and analysis softwares, in fact the data is so diverse, that it has further branched out into categories. One of them is customer experience management and the other is customer relationship management.
Customer experience is a way of businesses keeping track of their interaction with their customers. A walker study found that 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience. Customer relationship management on the other hand is a set of practices that is used to understand the needs of the customers and increase the responsiveness towards those needs. Let’s take a look at both these concepts and understand how each plays a key role in customer relationships and sales.
Customer Experience Management (CEM)
CEM focuses on processes used to track and organize interactions with every customer throughout their lifecycle. The goal of CEM is to collect and manage all this data and further improve their customer experience and gain loyal customers. The process involves listening to customers, gathering feedback and analyzing it to provide an optimized journey. The best way to become good at it is by integrating the voice of the customer with a customer management platform.
Why brands need CEM
As more and more consumers are in control of a buying experience, it is crucial to understand their perspective and cater to their requirements. CEM provides insights on the following:
Behaviour: User behavior gives the ability to brands to take a proactive approach in providing a solution. With the use of analytics, data gathered can be integrated with operational data to offer solutions that customers are looking for.
Interaction: CEM tools can automate responses based on specific triggers. The tools can interact with every customer, making sure every customer is heard and consistent responses are shared.
Analyzing: Customer experience relies on feedback for improvement, which is why listening to customers real-time through digital platforms gives brands a chance to response instantly and appropriately.
CEM helps in identifying the way customers think while engaging with your brand. It doesn’t matter whether they spend less or more, were they delighted during the purchase is what matters.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM primarily was designed to improve revenues, reduce costs and increase profits. It’s about using technology with an approach to making informed decisions in improving customer retention, sales and experience. CRM enables companies to also track the performance of sales.
Why brands need CRM
CRM’s role has to do with transactional data, unlike CEM. This information helps in strategizing future campaigns. The main objectives of CRM are:
Sales: Because the tools are automated, sales associates can focus on closing deals instead of working on manual data. With the data captured by CRM tools, sales teams can plan activities like, selling, up selling etc. on one platform.
Support: CRM tools help streamline business processes and improve overall management. It gives sales associates complete history and information on the customer preferences and interests and this helps them provide the right kind of support.
Marketing: CRM systems provide scope for segmentation, campaign planning, management, tracking and analysis. These features help in generating leads and monitor their performance.
CRM is not just used for sales and marketing, but also to predict revenues.
CEM + CRM
While CEM’s functionality might seem similar to CRM, the main difference is, in CEM, the focus is on the customer as a person and in CRM, the customer is a client. CRM sees consumers as a collection of figures used for sales opportunities, CEM tries to add personality to the customer. With CEM, each time there is an interaction between the customer and the brand, the consumer learns something new, with CRM, it’s the other way round. When the two are combined, their unique characteristics only help improve the overall process and results. Investing in CEM and CRM will help businesses keep their customers happy and grow your business. In a nutshell, both tools help in strengthening customer relationships. Despite the way they both function is different, they actually complement each other.
Gurmeet Oberoi is a researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 9-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Gurmeet has a passion for travel and reading among other things. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org