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Chuck Schaeffer Customer Experience Management—and its Link to CRM

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CRM Talk Video Series

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Customer Experience Discussion with Denis Pombriant and Chuck Schaeffer
Denis Pombriant Customer Experience Management (CXM) is capturing the limelight within the CRM software industry. But is CXM the missing link in making CRM truly customer centric? In this CX discussion, Denis Pombriant and Chuck Schaeffer consider how CRM software vendors are changing their applications and messaging, and how new CXM strategy and underlying technology may alter the CRM landscape.


Key take away points from the Customer Experience discussion:

  • Oracle President, Mark Hurd, led a fan fared event in New York to announce his company’s new found and strategic interest in Customer Experience Management (CXM) and the introduction of the Oracle CX software suite. As Denis points out, while Oracle CX has evolved from several acquisitions, this solution and messaging is a logical extension from the purchase of RightNow Technologies. In fact, RightNow was an early leader in CX messaging and enabling software and in many ways may have been the impetus for Oracle CX.

  • Denis is currently knee deep in a social media research project. Early data is suggesting that the C-suite is very interested in CX, however, there is significant confusion and technology providers have a lot of missionary selling to do in order to bring clarity to solutions.

  • Chuck suggests there are two primary factors contributing to the drive for CXM—being the social shift in communication and purchase control from seller to buyer, and the increasingly more challenging need for companies to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. The shift in control from seller to buyer has created an environment where buyers are more informed, customer expectations are constantly increasing, and the barriers to switching vendors are declining. This creates the predictable situation where vendors who fail to meet customer expectations will be more publicly exposed and will incur greater customer churn. It of course also creates the inverse of that environment where vendors that deliver consistent and differentiated services that meet or exceed customer expectations will be publicly acknowledged among social and other channels and will benefit by retaining those customers and acquiring new customers – many of whom will be defecting from the poor performing suppliers.

  • Denis visualizes this shift in an analogy of a flower and a bee. He suggests that over the prior decades, the technology vendors were the bees, and were rotating their visits and wares among customers who were the flowers. Now this relationship has changed as customers have the communication channels and on-demand access to information and each other. The vendors must now deliver a compelling service in order to get the customers to come to them.

  • CRM software has generally been held out as the tool to facilitate Customer Relationship Management strategy, but in many ways has fallen short in facilitating more specific Customer Experience objectives. It makes sense to leverage CRM systems to align system automation with organizational objectives, but by itself is generally insufficient to satisfy customers and incomplete when the overarching objective of a customer-centric business strategy is nowhere to be found.

    Without that customer-centric perspective, businesses have implemented CRM software at departmental levels and thereby constructed separated technology silos to serve the same customers. Different customer facing staff are using different systems, which results in individual silos and fragmented services delivery. Customers don’t want different experiences due to different applications. This is a primary factor in why the current use and era of CRM software has fallen short for most organizations.

    Where the technology needs to improve — whether from CRM software, new purpose built CX solutions or other enterprise software — is to better deliver the customer-specific knowledge and content at the point of each and every customer interaction. This is what delivers value for customers, but is often the missing link, as the systems that possess the customer data fail to deliver it when and where its needed, effectively falling short in the last mile of the customer journey.

  • The business challenge of achieving competitive differentiation and competitive advantage is becoming more complex. Products are more quickly copied making product superiority a diminishing advantage. Technology innovation is depreciating at a faster pace. Brand recognition and value may be suddenly compromised by a single angry customer whose voice is dramatically magnified online. New and constantly expanding social channels give start-ups and small competitors messaging and marketing reach previously only available to large companies. Certainly delivering superior products and services remains important, but businesses must recognize that this objective will be increasingly challenged and therefore the need to retain existing customers will grow even more important. Delivering and consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations may be the last sustainable competitive advantage not easily and quickly replicated by competitors. End


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I think Customer Experience is one of the things were heading to quickly in the world of CRM."

—Denis Pombriant


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