Most of all, customer experience management is about a company delivering the optimal experience during an interaction. For example, during a conversation the contact center should ensure that the agent’s responses are appropriate to the context of the overall customer relationship and are personalized. The same should be true for a customer’s visits to the Web site, during chat sessions and in responses to mobile text messages. It goes without saying that the person or system involved in an interaction needs all relevant information about the customer, so responses meet the customer’s expectations while also delivering against business goals.
The process must continue after an interaction as well, as the company uses information from it to improve responses for the next time. ResponseTek has a suite of four products that support the capture and provisioning of customer information at multiple points of interaction, including the telephone, interactive voice response (IVR), e-mail, instant messaging, kiosks, point-of-sale terminals and the Web. Two of these applications support the key requirement of capturing customer feedback. This is fundamental to understanding what customers think of a company, its products and services.
The first, Feedback Management, allows customers to give unsolicited feedback through the channel of their choice. It collects the information in real time and provides real-time reports and analysis of what customers are saying. The second, Market Research, does much the same thing but through surveys initiated by the company. The response information is again available in real time and can be integrated with other sources of customer data – business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and workforce management – to complete the picture of the customer and show how well interactions are being handled.
The third product, Knowledge Management, provides a central repository for managing and publishing content about the company, which can be used to support agents as they handle calls, customer self-service portals and other employees that interact with customers. The final product is called Media Monitoring, which actually analyzes social media communications. It can extract data from social media and news sites and use text analytics to provide insight into when and how the brand name is being used, trends in comments about it and analysis of sentiments behind what is being written about the company.
Together, the four products provide a variety of information that supports customer experience management at multiple points of contact. As well they work within a framework that adds more value. It includes alerts, workflow and e-mail notices to inform the right person when certain conditions are reached, thus ensuring action is taken to improve performance. Integration with workforce management software allows companies to see which agents are performing well and which need training to improve. Finally, integration with applications such as CRM allows companies to do better at customer segmentation, creating more granular segments that can be targeted with different levels of service and responses.
My research into customer experience management shows that a range of views on what customer experience management is, from just a variation on CRM to a complete process reorientation around the customer.While I lean toward the second, practical experience shows that achieving this large change is out of reach for most companies. Nevertheless, companies can do better at handling customer interactions and reasonably expect that customers will become more satisfied, remain loyal longer, buy more and thus contribute to better business results. To do this, companies need a fuller view of their customers. ResponseTek is one of the vendors I recommend if you seek to acquire such a view and achieve these results.
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Richard Snow – VP & Global Research Director