Customer Experience Management - What does it mean to you?

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is a very popular topic among call center leadership groups.  It is an area I am very interested in, however I have found that many people have different definitions for it, and differing perspectives on how a customer contact center can influence customer experience.  I'd like to open a discussion surrounding this popular industry movement by asking a few questions. 

1.  Do you actively engage in Customer Experience Management?
2.  How do you define CEM, and how are you able to "manage" the customer experience?
3.  What types of metrics and standards do you have in place to measure your success or failure?
4.  Where did you learn about CEM, and what resources do you reference to stay up-to-date in this area?
5.  Who are the leading professionals in this arena?

Thanks in advance to everyone that responds.  I think this could lead to a very interesting and valuable discussion for the group!

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Richard, I'll add my 2 cents to the discussion. Much of what I have read and heard in relation to CEM deals with the contact center, and only the contact center. I would like to see more literature and focus on the end-to-end product or service chain CEM. The customer experience with a contact center is interesting, but misses the point. If the Customer Experience is not measured during the sell cycle, during the usage cycle, and during the support cycle, then the contact center will have no context for its results. A poor shopping or sales experience, a poor product that does not perform to the customer's expectations when they get it home, and/or a poor field service experience can all have a dramatic effect on the contact center CEM results. We must measure and understand the challenges and opportunities associated with each component of the product or service chain. In my experience, the chain is fractured and organizationally siloed, especially when components of the chain are outside of the company, either vendored or at other horizontal companies. Are you seeing something different?
I've published quite a lot on customer experience management, including articles, webcasts, podcasts, and handbooks. To answer your questions:

1. I designed and led customer experience management (CEM) programs for more than half of my career in Fortune 250 companies. CEM is a great passion of mine, and the focus of my consulting business now.

2. CEM spans from the point at which a customer is aware of a need, until the point at which that need becomes extinct. It comprises a multitude of functional, social and personal expectations and goodness judgments. CEM focuses on the customer's desired outcome, and views the supplying company's products/services/processes as a means to the customer achieving his/her desired outcome. You may be interested in these articles which explain this:

3. CEM metrics are ideally the customer's inherent metrics: using the wording and context that the customer uses. Lagging indicators are surveys and trends monitored via call center logs, CRM, social media, complaint systems, etc. -- because they measure what the customer already experienced. Leading indicators are customer sentiment root cause action plan metrics -- because they measure progress of changes that the customer will soon experience. You may be interested in these articles that explain this:

Additionally, I recorded a webcast with CCPF on how the contact center can help drive CEM enterprise-wide:
- - 4 Steps to Gain Recognition as the Irreplaceable Change Agent You Are!

4. In addition to practicing these principles as I supervised customer programs in my own career, I learned about CEM initially via customer retention/loyalty literature in the 80s/90s, and more specifically the CEM literature that emerged in the 00s: Customer Experience Management by Bernd H. Schmitt, Chief Customer Officer by Jeanne Bliss, Building Great Customer Experiences by Colin Shaw, What Customers Want by Anthony Ulwick, Loyalty Myths by Timonthy Keiningham. I have written an ehandbook, Innovating Superior Customer Experience available at Amazon Kindle store and as a computer desktop ready reference:

5. Leading professionals can be found at, and as speakers at CEM conferences. You may be interested in a summary of recent CEM studies at:

Thanks, Richard, for posting a very interesting set of questions.
Best regards, Lynn
Customer experience management should start with performance testing to understand if or where and when the call flow fails. Then once you tune it, retest and then implement a continued monitoring service like IQ Services provides. This reduces the risk of not knowing where your design has problems.

From LI member: Gary Roethle
I would love to help answer this, as CEM is what a company should be all about, if you do not have customers, you do not have a business. In the true meaning of CEM, this is about the perception of the customer from the first time they know or deal with your company and throughout their whole journey with you, on some occasion that may only be once, and that once may be because it is a one major purchase or it could be they do not want to deal with you again because of their experience.

Yes of course I engage in CEM, I do not just engage, I have a passion and completely believe in it. How you train and nurture your people to understand the importance of the customer is extremely imperative.

Measurement - many ways to do this, one live information on your complaints, daily SLA reports understanding where the issues are, be transparent with your people on these statistics - put solutions in place to overcome the issues, collaboration between departments is very important, as complaints can be for many reasons, eg in a manufacturing company it can be from warehouse and distribution, production (quality of product), internal processing errors etc, so the relation between departments is vital to overcome these problems without people perceiving they are being blamed, it is about working together to understand the issues and sorting them out so the customer is happy. Then rolling monthly reports that are reported to the board on customer satisfaction levels to benchmark improvements. Additionally survey your customers twice a year, phone, mail and face to face, independent body to support.

Finally your question about where did I learn CEM, I have always believed that is common sense, How you treat people is what they perceive of you, treat others how you would like to be treated yourself. I have always wanted to be treated extremely well, by honest and open people who have great integrity, and people who have a passion for what they do, so that is how I train, develop and inspire people.

I hope that helps, great subject to discuss, it is such an emotive topic.

From LI member: Marianne Withers


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