Skip to main content

Customer Experience, Customer Engagement and CRM – Think Big, Act Small

This is the second post in my mini series about continuously improving the customer experience and customer engagement in the triangle of Customer Experience Management (CEX), Customer Engagement Management (CEM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Well, actually the third, if you include my guest post There’s no customer experience without customer engagement on friend Paul Greenberg’s ZDNet blog.
A while ago, in my post CxM and PoS – A Tale of two Cities I have asked you to stay tuned in case you were interested in learning about a way of implementing the strategy of thinking big while acting small in order to be able to keep the big goal – adding value for your customers offering the best possible experiences –  at the center of actions. All this while acknowledging that priorities are shifting, budgets are scarce, and different customers prefer to engage via different sequences of touch points.
Sounds like a nasty and complicated challenge.
And it is!
But if you break it down into smaller pieces it becomes manageable. It requires a kind of SCRUM-like project management approach, on corporate level.
The objective is to have a strategy and delivery infrastructure that
  • bases on optimally delivering to customer needs
  • covers every touch point with the customer while remembering that not every customer journey is created equal
  • is flexible enough to quickly adjust to changing customer demands
  • embraces the strengths and weaknesses of the existing systems. Not every touch point needs all available information
It all starts with the customer, with customer engagement, customer experience and, yeah, management of the relationship with the customer, in a mobile dominated Internet of Things world.
Following an adaptation of Paul Greenberg’s new definition of CRM:

CRM’s role is to manage not the customer relationship, but to manage the business operations related to the customer. Its analysis capabilities turn data into insights.
As such CRM is the foundation for good engagement and customer experiences across communication channels and touch points.
Engagements and customer experiences feed back data to it to enable a virtuous circle.

This requires a strategy of nimbly orchestrating
  • Strategy and its execution
  • Alignment of different business units
  • internally and externally facing systems
  • Customer apps
  • Data collection and Analytics
  • A regular and frequent, transparent process for reprioritisation of priorities
A BI and CRM systems manager of a not overly sophisticated retailer who I worked with said “I am collecting all data that I can get, in case the business units want to use it”. They employ a fairly simple model but especially marketing and operations sometimes do have questions that go beyond the range of data they ordinarily want. With his forward-looking approach he can make sure that they can get answered while keeping the business units in the driver’s seat. This is a very good example for IT being an enabler. Remember, this is a retailer – with retailers being constantly cash strapped this is quite a feat!
Bringing this all together – how does this now work?
Build an evolving roadmap, cycle the process to cater for agility. It is that simple, just requires a bit of discipline.
  • assess – state where one is in respect to where one wants to be. Heaving an objective = destination is only half of any roadmap. You also need a starting point to not suffer shipwreck on the way. This includes not at the least to get a good overview on the menu of customer touch points (yes, menu, not prescribed customer roadmap)
  • Select the right stakeholders from the relevant departments. It is important to cover business-, service units, including IT. The right people are not necessarily the department heads; there often are people on the ground who have a very good overview on what is good, what not so, and, even more importantly, these people can act as reliable influencers when it comes to implementation. Be sure that these stakeholders are empowered and not just bodies that are sent into useless meetings – else the exercise will become useless
  • Collect data on where the pain points that prevent from achieving goals and objectives better lie and get an overview on where in the organisation they are, how much they affect different parts of it. This can be achieved as simple as having every stakeholder rank the individual pain points individually. The sum over the departments then is a measure of the organisational pain. This identifies potential initiatives that mitigate the identified issues, follow corporate-, departmental, and IT strategy and can get pursued. Price them; it is important to know their gains as well as their cost
  • Categorise them, e.g. Into strategic, growth, compliance, or efficiency projects. This can be done by assessing them according to project risk and economic climate. The hunger for risk decreases with with weaker economic climates. Strategic projects e.g. tend to be more risky and thus often are started only in stronger environments, whereas efficiency or compliance projects are more interesting in weaker times
  • Prioritise! This is an important and often forgotten step. Use a transparent process for this and don’t just go for some influencer’s pet project. Tools that one can use for this step are for example business value indicators, IT efficiency index and/or many more. Yet, it is a good idea to map an IT index over a business index as this helps to get mutual understanding and agreement. After all IT- and business departments are not always fully aligned …
    After this step we have a good portfolio of project candidates that can get kicked off if needed
    Build a roadmap, probably including alternatives out of these, that corresponds to the current priorities and budgets
    Execute
Repeat this in relatively frequent cycles. This keeps the improvement cycle in touch with customer engagement and customer experience realities and necessities in a world of changing economic and technological environments. And it enables you to constantly and consistently deliver value to the business – well, unless you cheat too much in the assessment and prioritisation exercises, that is …
Additionally a cross-departmental alignment is fostered and the continuous outcomes ensure more buy-in than silo’ed work that happens in some hidden corners.
What do you think? Would this help your organisation? Do you operate like this?

Comments

Post a Comment

Last Year's Top 5 Popular Posts

Don't mess with Zoho - A Zohoday 2022 recap

After spending two days in Austin, TX, attending the ZohoDay 2022, it is time for a little recap of this interesting event.  We were 99 analysts and 24 customers and plenty of knowledgeable Zoho personnel. The incredible Sandra Lo and her team organized the event around open and transparent communication. So, there was plenty of access for us to customers and the Zoho team.  Which was very important, as already the keynote session by founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu was quite hardcore. Vembu talked about how strategy and culture need to be one, how culture needs to be the root of strategy, and how Zoho implements this. The Zoho strategy lies on three main pillars ·       Transnational localism, a unique concept that in its essence is about embedding a company into a local community by not only selling into it but also by investing into it. This investment is e.g., by offering high paying jobs in areas where these are scarce, by fostering local education, but also by own local sourcing in

Metaverse - The Return of the Undead

There. Is. No. Metaverse. I am sorry to be a party pooper but read me out. It doesn’t exist. At least not yet. And not for quite some years to come. I am talking of a decade or more. Perhaps not ever. And whence it comes, it probably looks different from what we see now, and we will likely call it by a different name. Does this statement surprise you? I mean, many people, companies and investors are looking at metaverse as being the next big thing. Crunchbase already in November 2021  reported more than $10.6bn being invested  into metaverse related startups. According to a Galaxy  report quoted by Institutional Investor , crypto and blockchain startups alone collected more than $32bn in 2021.  Microsoft just invested a whopping $70bn in Activision Blizzard , which is clearly a metaverse play. So much money cannot be wrong, right? Google trends also suggests that there is quite some interest in these topics that came up quite recently and quite suddenly, which means that the trend has

How to Zoho-matize a business

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Elie Katz , founder and CEO of National Retail Solutions, NRS. if you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here . NRS was founded in 2015 and has  since then grown its customer base to more than 17,000 retail stores across the United States. NRS is a part of IDT, a provider of communications and payment services to individuals and businesses. The business provides POS and payment processing software, focusing on small, independent retailers, who want to not only survive but also thrive in a big box environment. The NRS POS system is built to help stores organize, attract customers and increase revenue; it includes a loyalty coupon program and other bells and whistles.   An important point is the NRS outside-in philosophy, which is defining its own success as a result of making its customers successful by being able to address their needs.   The challenge that Elie, h

How to make Zoho a business's operating system

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Adi Mula , founder and CEO of Foodhub. If you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here . Similar to GrubHub and DoorDash, Foodhub allows residents of the UK, India, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia, the US and some more countries to order food to be delivered from a variety of local restaurants; unlike those other sites, Foodhub does not charge service fees. Foodhub currently has about 1,100 employees. Most of them are using Zoho products in one way or another and many use multiple Zoho products. Foodhub started its Zoho journey with the goal of simplifying processes and to be able to provide every team with simple and easy to use tools that will help them do their jobs.  Originally, Foodhub worked with a set of interconnected, yet overly complicated applications. This journey started with implementing Zoho CRM because this was where the pain was bigges

a great human - bot conversation with lots to learn

Inspired by a recent panel discussion as part of the In the Hot Seat podcast that I am involved in, I opened a chat with chatGPT3 . ChatGPT is a language model by OpenAI that interacts in a conversational way. This way, it shall be able to follow a conversation, answer follow up questions or even admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises or reject inappropriate requests. Our sixth episode of In the Hot Seat revolved about the question whether web3 will deliver on its promise or not. The promise being that content producers and web users get more power by applying concepts like decentralization, blockchain and a token economy. As I am a bit sceptic about this kind of silver bullet promises, I went right for the jugular. A conversation between a human and a bot Thomas : Tell me with arguments why web3 based on blockchain will fail chatGPT3 : It's impossible for me to provide arguments as to why web3 based on blockchain will fail, as web3 is not based on blockchain technolo