“We want it all, we want it now, and we want it delivered in exactly the way that suits us”. That is today’s customer, including you. So, where has this drive for personalised service come from and how do you meet your customers’ needs in this market place?
What is CEM?
Customer Engagement Management (CEM) is considered both ‘supplementary to’ and ‘an evolution of’ Customer Relationship Management (CRM), depending on who you ask. Either way, it is widely acknowledged that CEM is becoming increasingly important in an age where customer experiences are so easily expressed and viewed by others. In an environment where competition is plentiful and everything is accessible, to consider the perspective of a customer is imperative to protecting the reputation and therefore retaining and attracting customers.
The underlying difference between the two is that CEM focuses more on customers as individuals, thereby completely removing the idea of a single customer view. Individual customers’ journeys and customers’ experiences are logged in one place so that a business can build up a personalised and holistic view of every customer. CEM allows a business to tailor interactions with its customers and so it’s vital for Services, Sales, and Marketing teams.
Who does this affect?
Generation Y. Millennials. However you refer to those born between the years 1980 and 2000, it is likely that you associate with them phrases such as ‘tech savvy’, ‘always-with-a-smart-phone’, or similar. We are a generation embracing the use of technology and are constantly in communication with (or ’connected to’) the world around us. The increased use of social media and the internet has made it incredibly easy for us as consumers to make quick decisions on whether or not to interact with companies. Every day we read and write customer reviews, will look for alternative products and can quickly find and engage competing businesses in a matter of minutes, should we feel the need to.
Whilst the mass use of technology is associated with members of Gen Y, it is by no means limited to a specific age group. The use of mobile technology has blossomed across all generations. I wonder how many of you reading this are picturing your own parents or grandparents who text, email or even shop online. Being part of this connected world with immediate responses at our finger tips leads us, as consumers, to have high expectations when it comes to customer service.
In everyday life, every interaction you have with someone has an impact on how you feel; leaving you either more positive or negative. Interactions between customers and businesses are no different. Ensuring a positive interaction with all customers is tough, especially when different customers have a different opinion on what ‘good’ looks like.
Customer Engagement Management (CEM) is becoming more prevalent in companies as it is now widely recognised for tackling this particular challenge. Visibility of a customer’s experience throughout their entire purchasing journey is mutually beneficial and can give your business the competitive advantage:
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer service, reducing costs
- Understand your customers better - knowing your market means that you are more likely to sell more profitable products and/or services
- Increased brand reputation and loyalty by meeting or exceeding your customers’ expectations - retaining current customers and attracting new ones
- Quickly identify where and when customers’ needs are changing – keeping you ahead of the competition in an ever changing market
How CEM can work for you
In order to start thinking about how CEM could work for you, understanding your customers is crucial. Before deciding on which technology to go with, the way in which you interact with your customers must be considered. Some key questions to ask yourself are:
- What is the customer journey when purchasing? This enables an analysis of the current journey and where the pain points may be.
- How many interactions are there with the customer along that journey? This can help identify whether more interactions are needed and how this can be approached.
- Is customer data already captured? Is it in one or multiple systems? How is this joined up to form the whole picture of the customer?
- Are there any gaps? Engaging with the customers earlier can help fill these gaps, for example data from social media, campaigns to encourage registration.
- Which stages along the journey are key to the buying decision? By identifying these stages, a business can affect and influence them.
Once the customer and the journey has been understood, at least one of the following can be implemented to improve the journey, for both the customer and the business. The technology largely falls into 3 categories:
- Enables effective and informed selling with a 360-degree view of customer data and real time analytics
- SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer, SAP Hybris Commerce
- Understanding the right time to contact the customer, with the right information, and engaging with them individually
- SAP Hybris Marketing
- Full 360-degree view of the customer offering multiple service channels and knowledge bases, facilitating proactive service
- SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer
Happy customers are vital to business success, so why wouldn’t you reap the benefits and put yourself in their shoes?