Michelle de Haaff


Note: Don’t forget to sign up for our webinar recording on CEM-CRM integration below! 
From the moment I joined a beta customer group that was testing a new type of software — software that we now know as CRM — I knew that it would revolutionize the way our sales teams tracked prospects and, ultimately, customer interactions. The promise of CRM was right there, in its name: Customer Relationship Management. With one inside your business, you could not only track and manage your interactions with prospects and existing customers, but also grow strong, lifetime relationships with them.  Years later though, and despite the CRM market now being worth $20.4B, it’s become clear to me — CRM can’t fully deliver on its promise.

Because it’s only giving you half the story.

Think about what’s inside your CRM system. Names, contact info, and status of leads and support cases. Purchase history and interaction records of your existing customers. While this is all important data to have, it all has one thing in common: it’s from the perspective of you and others inside your company.

So what’s missing? What your customers have to say about the relationship.

Think about the strongest human relationships. They’re founded on trust and respect — both of which are developed and nurtured through open, two-way communication. The process works no differently for customers of organizations. Hence, what’s missing from CRM. Your customers’ side of things. By engaging with your customers and listening to their impressions of your products and services, you’re not only creating a more complete picture of customer health, but also surfacing opportunities for improvement — and ultimately fostering stronger, more profitable relationships.

This is core to the value and advent of CEM technology. It allows you to bring the customer into the way you do business, as well as open a channel of communication that helps resolve issues and build loyalty. Where CRM ends, CEM begins, and this is what it gives you:

1. Voice of the Customer — Your customers are your single greatest resource for feedback about your business. If you listen to what customers are feeling, you can better serve them, improve the way you do business, and ultimately, create a customer-centric organization.

2. Customer Satisfaction Metrics — What gets measured gets managed. Part of improving customer experiences is being able to measure their effectiveness and benchmark against these numbers. CEM gives you an easy way to collect satisfaction data, like NPS, in an insightful and actionable way.

3. Two-way Communication with Customers — Having a dropbox for customer comments and complaints isn’t enough. Today’s customers expect their feedback to drive change. CEM gives you the mechanism to get an early warning about big issues and to close the loop with customers when they tell you what they think.

4. Customer Painpoint Insights — Some customer issues are acute and isolated. Others are chronic and systemic. CEM allows you to measure your experience across the customer’s journey, drill into the resulting data, and pinpoint problem areas that need to be reengineered.

5. At-risk Customer Identification — There’s often a disconnect between customer behavior and sentiment. Unhappy customers could be doing business with you just like happy ones, and your CRM would never know. CEM lets you take the pulse of your customer base and identify those that require immediate attention.

Some of the world’s best brands have discovered that leveraging CRM and CEM technology in tandem is a great way to build stronger relationships with customers and evolve their organizations to an entirely new level of customer-centricity. It’s a fulfillment of the original promise of CRM.

Want to know how? We’re running a webinar on how some of the leading brands in the world are doing it. Sign up below!

Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar