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Customer experience management innovation for your connected, realtime world

Coca-ColaVMI’ve been thinking a lot about customer experience management innovation and operations lately given recent conversations, events and research. I recently attended the Gartner PCC/Customer 360 event in Orlando and a comment from Ed Thompson, during one of his sessions, really stuck with me. He said there is no customer experience management market – virtually any technology today can contribute to and influence customer experience including, for example, a vending machine.

A vending machine?  Yes, think about it from two points of view. Before connectivity technologies and today. Vending machines have always been a customer experience touch point when you consider these benefits:

  • Brand messaging at point of sale

  • Access to products, services and brand experiences

  • Ability to transact in remote locations

  • Consumption in remote locations

  • Customer satisfaction – depending on expectations set and achieved

Fast-forward to today and vending machines provide the same business and consumer benefits above but they’re also, in many cases, connected to the Internet and/or a wireless system to enable inventory management, customer and merchandising data, video, etc.

To further illustrate how customer experience management and service delivery is evolving based on today’s connectivity watch this humorous video from Coca-Cola about their “happiness machine” campaign that Christina Bondolowski shared during her Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum 2012 keynote. I’m not a big fan of soda or vending machine snacks but these examples do illustrate customer experience innovation and application:

CRM at a Whole New Level

Customer experience management with a vending machine reference is really just a metaphor for customer relationship management (CRM) in the 21st century. Consumers enjoy and demand self-service today but also expect the brands they do business with to be responsive, tuned-in and relevant when consumers engage and interact on a wide variety of devices and digital channels. Your website, social collaboration and community channels make up the bulk of your CRM platform.  

12 ideas and insights to consider:

  1. The big forces that are helping to drive today’s customer experience and CRM innovation are social, cloud, mobile and information

  2. "Connection" is the new currency in business - Seth Godin

  3. Organize integrated marketing teams around Systems of Innovation, Systems of Differentiation and Systems of Record

  4. Tell stories through the eyes of advocates; people don’t remember PPTs but they do remember meaningful stories

  5. Acknowledge community member contributions with comments, badges or anything that reinforces you noticed and care

  6. Most exceptional companies have these attributes to give customers exceptional experiences: leadership; patience; culture; process; metrics and funding

  7. To operationalize customer experience management, companies need to appoint a VP or head of customer experience with a hub and spoke structure including well-organized, coordinated activities and analytics competencies

  8. Peak performance improves when people are having fun

  9. By 2015, 40% of large enterprises will have a corporate-like “Facebook” - Gartner

  10. Acknowledge, embrace and invest in social networking

  11. Experiment in small pockets to build competencies and traction

  12. Be inclusive; let customers and partners help you co-create desired experiences

For related info about customer experience management, CRM and content management topics visit the Ektron Community to read and download content. The community includes a number of industry experts and thought leaders blogging about these topics and more; reach out to engage them.

FYI, I'll be joining Tim Van Ert from HobbyTown on a CNP Expo panel in Orlando, May 20th. We're going to talk with two other panelists about e-commerce and customer experience management issues to retain customers and increase sales. Thanks for taking time to read and share with others.


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