Should experience come before the engagement?

CEM, or customer experience management, is one of those high visibility areas that everyone is aspiring to improve. There are so many interpretations of what the term actually means that it is not surprising it causes confusion in the marketplace.

You might think you know what your customers want but history tells us that very few business guess right. In this era of ‘big data’ there should be no excuse for failing to deliver what they want, or at least make a fair assessment, based on personal data at a subscriber level.

What actually constitutes a good customer experience, and how well that experience is managed, is core to most businesses. The challenge is not only formulating how to improve it but also how to measure it. More importantly, how can any business ascertain what level of maturity it has reached in the CEM space and what needs to be done to reach a higher level.

In helping define and measure the different stages of maturity, it is worth noting that the aim is to move from ‘experience’ to ‘engagement.’ ‘Experience’ here is the sum of all customers’ experience (touch point), at a point in time and ‘engagement’ being the sum of each customer’s experience (engagement level), over time.

The business focus for each is also quite different. The ‘experience’ can be improved by enabling independent departmental touch point improvements (people, process & systems). The ‘engagement’ requires an enterprise-wise approach enabling the entire workforce to make prioritized and informed decisions to achieve the desired customer engagement outcomes.

Bridging the space from ‘experience’ to ‘engagement’ is the focus of TM Forum’s CEM Program headed by industry expert, Peter Crayfourd and Steven Cotton, Director of the Forum’s Business Assurance Programs. Shifting from short-term business objectives to delivering customer and stakeholder value holistically across the organization is the target.

To help members achieve this and navigate what is best described as the ‘CEM chasm’, they have devised the desired outcomes, the contributors and the initiatives to achieve them and how best to move from an ‘experience’ to an ‘engagement’ level of capability in a maturity model sense.

In order to measure success at each stage of the journey, the strategy, values, KPIs, people, process and systems needed are outlined, as well as the means of measuring and defining stages of the journey. Members will be invited to comment on these and fine-tune them and then be asked to contribute to the decisioning, optimizing and anticipating stages of the maturity model.

This detailed guidance is designed to help businesses move beyond disparate uncoordinated customer activities across the enterprise. Its aim is to achieve a more coordinated approach with clear customer engagement, delivering shareholder value and growth via initiatives that deliver long term customer and business desired outcomes.

Also key to this approach will be leveraging a cumulative, integrated and calibrated customer view and to sustain engaged customers while re-engaging profitable dis-engaged customers. The defining and graphic representation of business processes is core the work the TM Forum does, as demonstrated by the Frameworx. In due course, the current CEM work will also become part of the Frameworx itself.

More information can be found here.

This article first published as The Insider and reprinted courtesy of TM Forum.

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About Tony Poulos 48 Articles
Tony is a freelance writer, regular speaker, MC and chairman for the telecoms and digital services industries worldwide. He has founded and managed software and services companies, been contributing Analyst for IDC, a freelance writer and is a columnist and video anchor for Telecom Asia. In June 2011, Tony was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in telecom software worldwide.

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