Welcome to the New CRMI

It is the Age of CX. Delivering a consistently superior customer experience (CX) has become table stakes. CRMI has championed that concept since its founding in 1999, and now – as CX becomes a strategic imperative for more and more companies – is taking its mission to a new level.

The New CRMI is a membership-based resource that is intended to be your one-stop shop for “Everything CX.” Whether you are new to CX strategy and implementation or a veteran practitioner, as a CRMI Member you will join thousands of like-minded professionals who are eager to learn the latest advances in CX strategy and enabling technologies – and share their experiences in guiding their organizations to the pinnacle of CX success.

Vendors with technology and solutions that fuel the CX marketplace are an important part of the CX ecosystem. Those vendors who are CRMI partners recognize that members are a qualified, highly knowledgeable audience that is constantly seeking the latest innovations to help bring CX perfection to their contact centers, tech support groups, help desks, field service organizations, and other customer-facing operations. So, with our new CX Lab, CRMI Members can test drive these vendors’ solutions and contact them directly for more information.

CX and training consultants and other service providers complete the ecosystem; there’s a directory with information on many of these experts on the New CRMI. Our consulting partners are well versed in the tenets of CX and CRMI’s CEMDNA Playbook Strategy. Consequently, they’ll be able to provide assistance with your specific CX needs.

So, welcome to the New CRMI. Please explore all of the information available on our website – from content and conferences to webcasts and workshops to training and certification, and more. Also be sure to bookmark our homepage and visit often because we’ll be posting new content and events frequently.

We’re all about “Everything CX” and look forward to exploring this exciting ever-evolving domain together.

5 Keys to Maintaining Customers Relationships

Consumers and B2B purchasers are spoiled for choice. Nearly any product or service they desire is available at the click of a button, in a 100-page catalog, or a short drive away. And they’re spending on those wants and needs. Consider: Retail sales grew 3.8% in 2016 and is predicted to increase between 3.7 and 4.2% in 2017, according to National Retail Federation. And the Institute for Supply Management predicts manufacturing revenue to increase 4.6% and B2B non-manufacturing revenue to increase 4.1% this year, as well.

But that doesn’t guarantee growth for sellers. In fact, while some companies thrive, others stall or fail completely. What do these growth companies do differently than their less successful counterparts? Businesses that flourish tend to use five key strategies to customer engagement and interactions, laying the groundwork for customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

1. Engage, Engage, Engage

Customers want to be served, but they also want to be noticed. They don’t want to feel as if they’re consumers first and people second. In a retail or B2B setting, don’t just pitch the company’s wares; strike up a conversation with the customer and actively listen to what they’re saying. Respond to their questions or comments in detail. This will give them a sense of belonging and help to build trust.

2. Be Available

You never know when your customers are going to need you. B2C businesses should have multiple touchpoints for service, including chat, social, and traditional contact centers. B2B companies will see significant benefits from monthly courtesy calls to their high-value customers, just to check in. Send customers relevant content, such as links to how-to articles, industry news, and product updates. If you’re available to your customers when they need you, they won’t turn to a competitor.

3. Take Advice

You’re never going to survive as a business if you don’t take customer feedback to heart. Feedback helps to highlight problems and opportunities that those within the organization might never notice. Being attentive and concerned, acting on customer input wherever possible, and keeping customers apprised of your actions and outcomes communicates to customers that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep their business.

4. Keep Improving

It’s not possible to make every single customer happy all the time. But if you continuously work to improve your customer experience and always aim for fairness and satisfaction, you’ll come out ahead. Complacency is not an option in today’s customer-driven markets.

5. Focus on the Experience

One of the biggest mistakes that a company makes is attributing customer satisfaction to customer loyalty. It’s more complicated than that. Satisfied customers often leave for a competitor that offers a better customer experience—however customers define it: better service, product, price, attentiveness or responsiveness, etc. Customers are driven by their buying experience. So, understand what aspects of your customer experience keeps them loyal to your company and continue to focus on and excel in those areas.

Do Customers Know You Care?

Retaining today’s fickle customers takes more than discounts and loyalty points. Customers want to know that businesses are there to help improve their life or solve a problem—not just empty their wallet. Here are three ways companies can demonstrate the kind of customer commitment that helps retain customers and bolster loyalty.

Express Compassion and Empathy

Stellar service has long been and continues to be a leading ingredient for promoting a healthy long-term customer relationship. Compassion and empathy during service interactions show that your business cares about its customers. Resolving customers’ issues quickly also highlight that you take their concerns seriously. Acting on customers’ feedback in another way to demonstrate empathy that helps to cement customer loyalty.

Stay Abreast of the Customer’s Contentment

A business should keep in touch with customers from the moment they make a purchase. Automated thank-you emails give the customers a sense of appreciation after they buy from you. An onboarding series can help customers get acquainted with your products, services, and processes, which improves their customer experience. Follow-up messages are also excellent ways to see how customers like a product, as well as proactively uncover any issues.

Frequent check-ups based on customers purchasing habits will increase the likelihood that customers will stay engaged. Personalizing those messages helps keeps customers engaged and allows you to send relevant messages at the right time.

Fresh and Frequent Content

Great content adds value to the customer experience. It engages customers through articles, videos, events, and the like that provide information, education, and entertainment. Savvy marketing teams use content to educate customers on all aspects of their products, services, and brand’s unique abilities. High-value content builds brand affinity and bolsters customer loyalty.

12 Technologies That Support CEM

The foundation of a customer-centric culture is a structured, measurable customer experience management (CEM) strategy. Companies can support and enhancing those strategies with enabling technologies. There are 12 types of technology that can play a key role is managing, interpreting, and improving various aspects of the customer experience.

Work Force Optimization
We all know it takes engaged employees to deliver consistently superior customer experiences. Take the omni-channel approach to employee-customer engagement by tapping into phone, email, online chat, social media and other methods of direct customer interaction. Based on the appeal of video games, mobile apps and streaming content, gamification has also proven to be effective in engaging employees for greater performance. The key is to balance the needs of agents and customers to optimize productivity and CX.

Field Service Management
Although an increasing amount of customer service is done remotely and/or online, there is still a considerable amount of direct customer service performed in the field, either at customer locations or a company’s own field service centers. Starting with initial contact with the customer, where field service incidents are created, it’s important to provide tools to both support the resolution and to allow customers to stay informed/provide feedback and ultimately be satisfied with the outcome.

Help Desk Management
Help desks generally are internal operations that assist employees and business partners to manage their various IT assets. Start by hiring and training good employees who are inspired to provide exceptional support. Have a well-defined Service Level Agreement (SLA) in order to provide optimal, first-level support service to all departments. Make it a priority to develop a helpful culture where issues are tracked end-to-end and nothing slips through the cracks.

Knowledge Management—Self-Service—Remote Support
These three CX technologies are inter-related. Knowledge Management (KM) sets the framework and strategy for an organization’s culture and processes that management uses to install enabling KM technology that fits with its corporate politics. Self-service portals offer authorized users an omni-channel approach to getting the information they want to solve their questions and operational issues. And of course, remote service and support typically are functions of KM and self-service.

EFM—Business Intelligence—CX Certification
These three CX technologies are also inter-related. EFM systems handle customer data collection and analysis based on that data. Business intelligence tools dig deeper to perform more advanced discovery, apply predictive analysis to help define future customer behavior and/or business impacts, and provide extensive enterprise reporting. CX certification training is gaining more importance as organizations recognize the need to be certified in the principles and tactics of effective CX training to best leverage the EFM and BI outcomes.

Big Data—Text Analytics—Speech Analytics
Clearly these CX technologies are joined at the hip. Big data is a way of aggregating and examining the huge amount of CX/CEM data collected to uncover both obvious and obscure patterns and inter-relationships. With text mining and analytics technology, you can analyze text data from the web, social media, comment fields, books and other text-based sources to uncover insights you hadn’t noticed before. Speech analytics has a similar intent as text analytics, but it works with unstructured spoken words to determine frequency of comments and sentiment to measure positive, neutral and negative remarks.

Sales Force Automation
SFA was the application that essentially launched CRM decades ago. The idea is to build a database of every meaningful detail about customer purchases, demographics, and needs and wants so the organization can pinpoint what products and services a given customer may purchase in the future. SFA addresses the various tactical functions that affect CX execution.

Marketing—Social Media Automation
A natural extension of CRM and SFA, marketing and social media automation incorporates everything you need to know about your leads and customers in one place. Since social media channels have such an impact on marketing and customer relationships, it just makes sense to consider them together.

Innovative Inscription—Omni-channel—Intelligent Visual Communications
Customers expect omni-channel experiences through multi-channel engagement with vendors and suppliers. This is part of the evolution in customer buying behavior that has changed the landscape of traditional customer engagement. Understanding which customer experiences and touchpoints are driving the best results can be a challenge. Omni-channel platforms capture the importance of using multi-channel marketing to effectively reach, engage and convert your customers. Trial and error is typically a necessary approach to finding the right channel mix for each type of customer.

Online Community Forum Management
Online communities exist everywhere today, from general purpose channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to specialized communities we all know, such as CustomerThink, CCNG and CRMxhange. But managing these forums effectively is a matter of governance.

  1. Agree on your forum governance model. How involved do you want to be in managing your forum?
  2. Agree on intervention protocols. What kind of comments, questions and issues are going to prompt a facilitator intervention?
  3. Determine intervention procedures. What are your approval processes for releasing intervention content?
  4. Determine intervention responsibilities. Who is your primary facilitator/site manager?
  5. Ensure proper training for facilitator/site manager. Can someone with extensive customer service experience handle the site? Do they need specialist media training?
  6. Ensure community members know rules of engagement. Make sure the moderation rules are appropriate for your forum.

Professional Services Automation
Most organizations either have their own professional services team, use resources from a vendor/supplier, or bring in a specialized third party. Examples of PSA applications:

    • MSP/IT Services: Control IT Business
    • System Integrators: Provide Comprehensive Support
    • Software Companies: Gain Visibility Between Development and Support
    • Cloud Services: Manage, Monitor and Bill
    • Point of Sale Resellers (POS): Evolve to Retail IT

 

IVR/ACD Automation
We’re all familiar with these systems. They’re the anchors of contact center operations and some of the oldest examples of CRM technology. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) allows a computer to interact with humans using voice commands or tones from a telephone keypad. Technically, IVR lets the caller enter an “ID” or account code, then provides access to a database. This is where the “interactive” part comes in. For example, bank credit unions often have “phone bank” systems that allow you to conduct transactions. Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) systems answer incoming calls and allow the caller to choose a menu, group of extensions or singular extension to which the call is routed. Contact centers use ACDs to organize incoming calls into queues of callers waiting to speak with an operator or service person.

 

CX Technologies is one of 12 elements that comprise the CEMDNA Playbook Strategy.