Do you believe that your customers are satisfied with the experience they get when interacting with your brand? Even though many companies would answer this question with a yes and believe that they are successfully managing their customer experience, many such companies could be missing the mark.
In their article entitled, “The Truth About Customer Experience,” published by the Harvard Business Review, Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones note that even though companies focus on the customer at different stages of their journey, they often fail to manage the whole customer journey from start to finish.
This article looks at what customer experience management (CXM) is, why it is important, and how it should be managed. We end the article by looking at the top CXM tools you can use to boost your CXM.
The Best Customer Experience Management Software List
Before I jump into the best customer experience management software on the market, I’ll answer some commonly asked questions about customer experience management.
What is Customer Experience Management?
SurveyMonkey.com, the online survey software provider, defines CXM (or CEM) as “a system companies use to track, oversee, and respond accordingly to all customer/business interactions, so companies exceed customer expectations to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”
An important phrase in the definition above is “all customer/business interactions.” This means that brands need to consider those interactions and customer communications where the customer and the brand may not be dealing with each other in person.
Let’s say a customer doesn’t get support when they meet a challenge while they are using the product. Even though they may have had a great experience during the purchase stage, the company has failed in managing the customer experience, because the customer was not supported in later stages of their journey.
What is the Difference Between Customer Experience Management and Customer Service?
It is important not to confuse customer service with customer experience management. The former tends to be reactive, only kicking into action when a customer meets a challenge. The latter is proactive as it anticipates the challenges a customer will meet and ensures that such challenges are averted.
Why is Customer Experience Important?
Martin Zwilling states that “companies with the highest customer experience typically grow more than double their competitors’ rate.” He also states that brands could easily lose their competitive advantage when they focus on the wrong things.
In the same article, Zwilling notes that CXM has become more vital as a result of the “advent of social media and real-time interactive feedback via the Internet [which] allows every customer to build and expect a relationship with your business, rather than just touchpoints”.
With products generally becoming the same, and the cost of switching brands becoming easier, CXM becomes the one way your brand can ensure its competitive edge, satisfying customers and reducing customer churn. Positive customer experiences will help build an ongoing relationship with your customers.
What are Some Tips for Managing the Customer Experience?
It would be impossible to manage customer experience without customer insights into what they are experiencing. Thus, you will need to create avenues through which customers can give you feedback, indicating the degree to which you satisfy them.
Support tickets are a great place to start looking for feedback. For example, similar inquiries or problems noted by several customers could indicate a challenge in a particular customer journey stage. Once you are clear about the areas where customers find pain points, you can determine how to best solve those challenges and help customers overcome them.
Customer data provides an additional channel for customer feedback and discovering customer issues. Customer data can be gathered through social media listening, surveys, text analytics tools, and more.
2. Connect with the Customer Emotionally
A brand must connect emotionally with its customers. This way, it can better understand customer challenges at the different stages of their interactions with the brand. The advent of social media platforms and review sites provide excellent places to connect with clients’ emotions, empathize, and solve their challenges.
Those brands that can acknowledge and solve customer frustrations while sustaining an emotional connection are more likely to win customers’ approval and foster customer engagement.
3. Use Multiple Channels and Platforms
Customers have their preferred channels and platforms for interacting with brands. For example, some customers may prefer speaking to a team member over a chatbot, and still others might prefer social media interactions. Thus, you should use different channels and platforms for contacting and interacting with clients to ensure you meet their needs.
4. Personalize the Experience
Creating a personalized experience for individual customers is great for improving customer experience. For example, memes may appeal to younger people, but they may not make sense to another generation. Therefore, it is crucial to personalize customer experiences so you can meet their needs as well as possible.
5. Usability and Onboarding
If customers don’t know how to access or use your product or service, they will inevitably be frustrated. Invest in assisting your customers by providing in-depth onboarding, training, and resources to ease customer frustration. Have team members dedicated to answering customer inquiries and tickets.
What are some open source customer experience management software?
There are a few options for open-source customer experience management platforms out there, such as SuiteCRM and UVdesk.
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Can you customize the interface to fit your needs and the needs of your team members?
Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Are key features (including creating customer personas and customer journeys, feedback management, predictive analytics, and customer self-service features) easily accessible and intuitive to use?
Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible to organizational needs? Can you include or exclude certain features based on these needs? Is the solution a SaaS, cloud-based, or offered on-premise?
Customer Experience Management Key Features
To understand how you should manage your customer experience, it is vital to start by determining the vital features you should be focusing on. At a basic level, there are three features to look for: defining the customer, understanding their journey, and clearly outlining your CXM goals.
Defining the customer: Involves understanding who the customer is by knowing their behaviors, demographics, requirements, lifestyle, and challenges.
Mapping the customer journey: Involves determining the steps taken by the customer as they interact with your brand, starting from the first time they learn about you, to making a purchase, using your product, and eventually replacing it at the end of its lifetime. Defining the CXM goal: Involves determining what successful CXM will look like so that you can determine whether your CXM efforts live up to your standards. Make sure to note the metrics that will allow you to measure whether you have met your goals.
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Overviews of Top 10 CXM Tools of 2021
Writing for CMSWire.com, a publication for digital professionals, Dom Nicastro says that “a strong customer experience management is only as good as the software behind it.” Nicastro notes that good software helps brands “collect, track, manage, organize, analyze, personalize, and execute relevant interactions with customers and prospects”.
Below are 2021’s top 10 CXM tools. We’ve included a summary and screenshot of each one.
1. Acoustic – Best for user and customer behavior analytics
Acoustic uses data from user behavior analytics to provide insight into the customer experience. The service emphasizes the personalization of experience through listening to the data and customizing every touchpoint.
Adobe Experience Manager integrates content management systems and digital asset management to monitor, track, analyze, optimize, and improve the customer experience. The tool simplifies the distribution of content across several channels, and personalizes these contents to the customer’s device, to improve their experience with your brand, services, or products.
3. Oracle CX – Best for financial management features
According to the developers of Oracle CX, “Customer signals are everywhere.” The tool helps companies monitor, track, and interact with customers at every point of their experience. This cloud platform ties finance, supply chain, and customer experience together.
SAS Customer Intelligence 360 is a one-stop-shop for creating and personalizing customer experiences to boost businesses. It includes features such as guided analytics, tests and experiments, customer journey optimization, personalizations, and recommendations.
Businesses that use this software can track all customer interactions across all their touchpoints. It also interprets the data to enable businesses to make decisions on parts of the customer journey that need improvement.
5. UserZoom – Best for syncing customer experience with product development workflow
UserZoom focuses on customer experience by synchronizing customer experience with the workflow of the product development team, including the product manager, UI designers, and UX researchers. Using the data collected from customer interactions on all customer touchpoints provides an understanding of how the current design affects customer experience.
UX360 combines customer experience and user experience teams to provide a customer experience management solution. It directly integrates with agile development. It allows users to conduct research related to current customer experience insights and make decisions about which changes to implement that will improve the customer experience.
Acquire provides companies with a unified customer service helpdesk. It brings together all channels – email, social media, live chat, video chat, voice calls, and text messages — into a single timeline. This improves the speed at which customer inquiries and complaints are responded to, thus improving their experience. It also provides data analytics that help with decisions that improve the customer experience.
Satmetrix uses direct and indirect customer feedback to gather data from contact centers, call centers, and ongoing conversations on various platforms. Using the insights obtained, it creates reports about a company’s customer persona, behavior, customer journey mapping, and the customer’s experience at each touchpoint and their buying decision journey.
9. ResponseTek – Best for customer interaction monitoring
ResponseTek is a tool for customer experience management that considers three main channels: the voice of the customer, the voice of the employee, and a feature it calls the Listening Lab. This service monitors interactions between customers and the company’s call desks and analyzes their feedback. The system provides action
10. Zendesk – Best for integrating multiple communication channels
Zendesk is a customer support tool that provides direct interaction between customers and the brand. It integrates multiple communication channels – mail, live chat, voice, community forum – and other third-party business tools into one platform. This improves response and problem resolution rate, gives insight into customer experience, and guides decisions on improvements.