Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Customer Experience Maturity Report: The State Of CRM Programs

Welcome fan of CRM (customer relationship management)! I mean, I believe that you are if you arrived right here, either you are a regular or a one time reader. I have talked a lot about CRM here. As the topic is quite large, I have talked a lot about CRM systems, strategies, and marketing implementation.

But I also believe that a strong CRM strategy must take care of a great customer experience. At some point, if you are able to provide a unique and remarkable experience to your customers, you'll be able to aquire their loyalty, without any kind of incentive from a loyalty program.

Though it is hard to make coexist a CRM strategy and a great customer experience. Thus, CRM is taking more and more into consideration the customer experience aspect.

The Customer Experience Maturity Monitor (CEMM), a qualitative and quantitative research study conducted by Peppers & Rogers Group, SAS Institute and Jubelirer Research, addresses these questions in its first report, "The State of Customer Experience Capabilities and Competencies." The research measured 58 variables in four categories: customer orientation; customer insight; customer interaction; and improvement. The premise is that a company must have more than the desire to manage the customer experience; they must have enterprise capabilities that leverage customer insight to better-manage customer interactions and continuously improve results. Importantly, for these capabilities to work, the company must have a customer orientation—a culture that focuses on the customer and builds trust.

Customer Interaction: Managing Strategies + Engaging Customers + Customer Orientation

Differentiating the customer experience for competitive advantage is about designing an experience for each customer that is based upon knowledge of that customer, delivering it across products and channels, and measuring individual outcomes to improve future interactions. Done well, CEM will guide investment to higher-potential customers, provide a richer experience that engenders loyalty and turn customers into advocates. Here's the deeper CEMM learning.

  • Managing Strategies: Many companies use loyalty programs to differentiate and manage the customer experience. In the CEMM research study, 37 percent of respondents rated their capabilities as good or excellent when asked if: "Rewards and loyalty programs are used to encourage loyalty among high-value customers." However, only 18 percent rate their capabilities as good or excellent when asked if: "Individual 'treatment tracks' are created to manage the customer experience across products and channels." Ahhh….the truth revealed!

    While some companies have mature loyalty programs, many have no capabilities of differentiating the customer experience and still rely on brand advertising to shape customer perceptions. One respondent summed it up well when he said, "Most companies don't really have a customer experience strategy, but this is changing. Usually companies rely more on brand perceptions, but they are realizing the customer experience is the No. 1 influencer of brand perception, so they're paying more attention to customer experience."

  • Engaging Customers: In the CEMM study, only 28 percent rate their company's performance as good or excellent at orchestrating outbound customer contact across products and channels. While this problem is easily solved with today's campaign management and marketing automation technologies, enterprise contact management capabilities remain illusive for most companies.

    Only 1 in 4 companies (25 percent) rate their capabilities good or excellent in the use of mathematical optimization to maximize the profitability of marketing campaigns. With the endless combination of products, channels and offers, marketing optimization technologies represents a clear opportunity to direct investment to higher-potential customers and improve decision making.

    For inbound interactions, 34 percent of respondents rate good or excellent their ability to use customer insight to guide pricing, service and product suggestions. Fewer still, at 19%, rate good or excellent their ability to calculate real-time best outcomes during customer sessions.

    Perhaps the biggest opportunity for improvement, for both outbound and inbound engagement, is behavior triggers. Only 22 percent of respondents rate good or excellent their ability to create triggers for systematic response to significant changes in customer behavior. Engaging customers when they have changed not only produces significantly higher response rates, but it also demonstrates to the customer that their relationship matters to your company.

  • Customer Orientation: While capabilities to manage the customer experience lag, a customer orientation is emerging. In the CEMM survey, 76 percent agree that their company motivates employees to treat customers fairly. And 69 percent agree that their company takes the customer's point-of-view when making business decisions. Also encouraging, 69 percent agree that their company considers the impact that business decisions have on the future value of its customers.
This research shows that customer relationship management is evolving, taking more into consideration customer experience over data base management, which is actually is right way to drive a CRM strategy.

To get more information about the study, you may download here the White paper.