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What is customer experience management software?
Customer experience management (CEM) is comprised of processes that businesses use to organize, track and manage all of its interactions with customers throughout the customer lifecycle. CEM is utilized to optimize those interactions to retain customers and nurture customer loyalty. Customer experience encompasses different levels of involvement and interaction from the customer’s perspective and may include sensorial, physical, emotional and rational aspects.
Customer experience management software provides the tools for businesses to handle and implement those strategies. Providing the best experience to customers require knowing everything about them such as their buying preferences, purchasing history, and past interactions with your company. Knowing what is customer experience management software affords companies a 360-degree view of customers via up-to-date information on their profiles and accounts. Interactions can happen through several touchpoints – phone calls, live chat, website purchases, text messaging, and social media. What and how they felt, observed and perceived of your services and responses through those many points of engagement become the customers’ experience.
Gathering all those data from different channels and touchpoints, and analyzing them to come up with reliable information so you can craft strategies and approaches to improve customer experience is a daunting task. CEM software allows you to integrate data from other systems and platforms such as your CRM, ERP, financials, business intelligence and analytics, sales and marketing, and service information to give you an all-around view of your customers. Having all relevant customer information and insights, you will be able to formulate initiatives to improve business processes, programs, products and services and provide your customers with the best experience.
In this article, beyond the definition of customer experience management software, we’ll explore what is customer experience management software, how it works, what it does, what benefits and advantages it provide, its pricing structure, and examples of popular CEM solutions. Consider all these information as guideposts so that when the time comes for you to choose a CEM platform, you’ll be in the best position to make an intelligent decision.
Customers that are treated poorly are unlikely to do business with you. Hence, customer experience has become the great differentiator in today’s competitive business environment. CEM has become indispensible for businesses to get ahead. The facts and figures below reveal the importance of having a reliable CEM system in place, and justify the need to invest in good customer experience management software.
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What Does Customer Experience Management Software Do?
Regardless of what your business is, you know that customer is king and the definition of this is that he or she deserves to be treated as such. If a customer perceives or feels that you treat them well and given high regard, that will reinforce their loyalty and may even recommend your business, brand or company to others. You would want your customers to continue liking you and keep on doing business with you. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. You don’t have the monopoly of business. There are competitors and others that may be offering better products or services than you. You may lose your customers before you know it which, in the business sense, is a disaster.
So what does customer experience management software do? Basically, it gives you the means to acquire in-depth knowledge of your customers, collect customer data, and extract insights with accuracy and speed. You will then be able to craft and deliver personalized experiences that will keep your customers. With the right knowledge about your customers, you will be able to continually enhance your customer support and services, provide innovative products and offerings, and improve the overall experience for your customers. These will inevitable result in greater customer retention, more recommendations, and better sales. Now that we’ve learned what is customer experience management software and what it does, let’s see how it works.
How Does Customer Experience Management Software Work? CEM brings together technology, strategy, and resources to improve how the customer experiences and perceive your business. Customer experience management usually entails getting customer feedback which can be unsolicited (such as monitoring their comments on social media) or solicited (surveys), correlating the feedback to business metrics, and subjecting the data with advanced analytics to extract meaningful insights.
Customer experience management software combines and processes customer feedback data to come up with a unified, complete view of the customer. You can use the data to improve front-line engagement with customers and to plan strategic initiatives. With CEM software, you are able to refine the customer journey through each touchpoints, and become more responsive and attuned to the needs of your customers. This enables you to provide optimal service and support to keep your customers satisfied and happy. One thing is sure, happy customers are loyal customers. And studies have shown that more than half of customers would pay more for a better experience.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Experience Management Software?
The net effects of well implemented customer experience management software are many and far-reaching, and ultimately lead to improved sales and better profitability. You wouldn’t want to miss the many benefits that can be gained from CEM software. Here are some of them:
Reduce customer churn. You are not the only product or service provider out there and customers are continually being enticed by competitors. Survey results have revealed that price or products are not the main reasons why customers turn to others but rather customer experience. Which is why offering a strong and positive experience unmatched by your competitors would make it quite difficult for your customers to leave.
Increase customer satisfaction. Research and studies attest to this – that consistently delivering a satisfying customer experience translates to customer loyalty. Even if it is easier, cheaper and more convenient to go with other businesses or brands, a loyal customer is there willing to stay with you. You treat them as royalty and provide them service over and beyond your usual offerings, they won’t settle for others that offer anything less and will stick with you even if competitors cut their prices.
Increase customer engagement. Providing good customer experience means giving your customer what he wants because the direct result of this is that he will come back and engage more with your company. The internet has leveled the playing field for businesses, and consumers can easily get information from social media about a company and its products. You would always want positive feedback and comments, and you can expect that from your satisfied customers that will not only continually engage with you but also influence others to do the same. Robust customer engagement drives business growth and success.
Your own business advocates and brand ambassadors. A Nielsen survey of 29,000 consumers in 58 countries found that 84% of people completely trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues. When your customers get the best experience from dealing with your business or brand, there will be a ripple effect of recommendations and referrals. And positive word of mouth marketing is the best that can happen to your business as it requires no effort on your part.
Distinct customer experiences. When it comes to customer experience, we’ve learned that price is not a determining factor which means your business can no longer compete solely on the basis of price. Your customers definitely want more and you surely would want to give them that and they could be in the form of amazing experiences which foster an emotional connection with your company. Customers that get enriching experiences and feel connected with your company would be coming back for more.
What Are the Advantages of Customer Experience Management Software?
There are many advantages to using customer experience management software but we’ll present three of the most important ones.
You get to analyze customer feedback and leverage insights. CEM software allows you to get feedback from customers that can be analyzed and used to improve or fill up crucial gaps in customer experience processes. Customers appreciate it when companies promptly act or respond to their feedback, suggestions and comments. This process is greatly aided by a CEM system which leverages insights to enable you to act swiftly on customer issues and concern, thereby further reinforcing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
You get to harness BI, AI and ML technology. Today’s advanced technology helps facilitate and improve key business processes including CEM. Most customer experience management software utilize the power of business intelligence, artificial intelligence and machine learning to process huge amounts of data to come up with personalized content to customers as well as determine and identify customer intent, behavior and preferences. These technologies empower businesses to create programs and strategies, and provide enriching and relevant experiences to customers.
You get to interact with customers in real-time. Your modern digital customers need modern digital solutions and current customer experience management software that is cloud hosted affords your real-time operations and access to data from anywhere and anytime to address customer needs. Providing consistent customer service, personalized interaction, and hassle-free engagement on multiple channels require your all time availability and response in real-time. CEM software affords you this capability and convenience which are all part of having a 360-degree view of your customer and extending an enriched customer experience all the time.
What Are the Features of Customer Experience Management Software?
Some customer experience management software may carry more functionalities than others, but most have the following common features.
Customer management. This feature allows you to easily view and track customer details and quickly access information on customer issues. Leading CEM platforms offer full company and contacts database.
Ticket management. This offers visibility into all customer tickets and helps you to prevent issues slipping through the cracks. Likewise, you get customizable automations and ticket routing as well as conditional custom fields.
Products and inventory. Includes an integrated product database for easy tracking. You can view what products/versions customers have as well as associate products with customers and contacts. Furthermore, you can monitor customer issues by product and link feature requests and bugs to tickets.
Collaboration and teamwork. This facilitates collaboration with your team members using internal communication tools and shared calendar with task assignment details.
Integrations. Seamless integrations with popular business systems eliminate duplication of effort. You can enhance collaboration, coordination and productivity across teams by integrating CEM software with CRM, developer tools, and other business apps. The availability of APIs in most CEM software allows easy integration with internal systems.
Customer self-service. Customers can get answers for their queries by themselves 24/7 by using the Wiki, community forums, and knowledge base.
Reporting and analytics. The reporting feature places business intelligence at your fingertips, offering detailed metrics for real time customer insights.
How Much Does Customer Experience Management Software Cost?
Like other types of software, CEM solutions come in different pricing structures. There are free basic plans as well as standard, business, professional or enterprise plans that can run to four figures or more per month. Pricing plans are usually by subscription with monthly or annual payments depending on a host of factors such as:
Number of users
Number of customer segments
Number of touchpoints to be tracked
Setup and training fee
Support and features
Type of reporting and dashboards
However, many CEM software vendors offer customized plans that can be tailored to fit your business requirements where you can avail only of certain specific features to match your needs.
What are Examples of Customer Experience Management Software?
Yotpo– A popular content marketing solution specifically designed for e-commerce stores and retail businesses. The software enables users to generate product reviews, and use the best among them as their sales-boosting incentives. It is built as a plug-and-play social reviews and e-commerce app which collects more verified reviews than any of its counterparts, and gives customers a simple and smart mobile-first reviewing experience.
Contactually – A web-based customer relationship management tool that allows companies to oversee and manage communication activities using an easy-to-use and well-built interface. The software is ideal for small and medium sized firms that want to remain in contact with their main contractors, collaborators and suppliers, as well as freelancers who need to communicate with their multiple clients using one communication platform. The tool can import and create categories for contacts, use templates, merge accounts, or automate actions.
CloudCherry – A fast and simple customer experience improvement platform used to measure and track engagement, and turn it into actionable data. The software enables you to improve the quality and credibility of your service, and make communication with your clients an enjoyable experience. It unites a total of 17 communication channels in a single dashboard, so that no customer inquiry will be missed by your agents. You get to analyze your email messages, monitor social platform reactions, contact users via chatbots, embed links in your emails, collect all customer information, act on your tickets, analyze data, and report on it.
Appcues– An experience software service that helps companies implement a smooth, personalized user onboarding process. Even without coding skills, users can create product tours, walkthroughs and in-app messages to welcome their customers. The cloud-based app can be set up in minutes with a point-and-click editor. It is ideal for businesses of any size, but startups and small businesses are most likely to appreciate the app’s no-frills, low-cost and scalable features.
InMoment– A cloud-based customer experience management platform that enables businesses to collect, manage and act on information from their customer database. Comprising a set of products and services, the software assists companies by taking insights from customer stories and experiences to come up with more strategic business decisions as well as improved customer relations. Furthermore, these stories are shared with people from inside and outside the organization to build advocacy and spur employee engagement.
Responcierge – A cloud-based customer engagement platform that offers a variety of communication and engagement tools, including live chat, contact forms, event scheduler, knowledge library, email capture, and phone call request. It is an ideal software for all business types and sizes, enabling them to engage customers, deliver personalized experiences, and ensure that their concerns, queries, and other requests are fully met and satisfied.
OPINATOR – A multi-channel customer interactions management service that enables organizations to engage their target audiences in real-time. With its tools, business organizations are able to create and sustain interactive communications with customers in different ways: mobile, web, email, and more. These communication pathways allow them to bolster acquisition, inspire loyalty, generate a sense of satisfaction, prevent the loss of clientele, and boost sales.
Adloonix– A trusted Ukraine-based digital marketing provider that offers custom digital marketing solutions. This firm provides a data-backed marketing approach to help businesses better handle their research and marketing efforts. It provides expertise on marketing analysis, promotion strategy on various platforms, lead generation, keyword research, Google ads and more. In a nutshell, Adloonix handles all the grunt work for your marketing, research, and advertising so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
UserGuiding – A coding-free walkthrough and guide creator designed to make product adoption fast and effortless for end users. This system gives you the capability to create interactive guides that can provide new product users with in-depth know-hows. You can also target users for specific guides to ensure that they receive relevant instructional materials. Creating guides is easy due to its non-technical nature, which allows only one or two users to deliver a comprehensive walkthrough with ease.
Is CEM Software for You?
If you care enough for your customers and would want them to get a satisfying and enriching experience when dealing with your business or company, then customer experience management software is a wise investment. You not only invest in a software but you also invest in customer loyalty so that they’ll be coming back to do business with you. That’s real ROI aside from all the benefits and advantages we’ve enumerated in this article. It is predicted that by 2020 more than half of all business organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. That’s how important CEM is in driving businesses forward. It’s a race to be at the head of the pack. Surely you wouldn’t want to be one of those to bite the dust.
B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."
Best Customer Experience Management Software of 2020
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