This is, of course, is self evident in the smart phone and mobile computing markets, but technology is also weaving itself into other areas of daily life: televisions, kitchen appliances, automobiles, furniture, even clothing. In the near future, most of our day-to-day devices and appliances will have a smart processor embedded and the ability to conform to our individual usage patterns. Imagine a coffee maker that turns itself on after it hears you shut off your alarm clock, or a refrigerator that automatically places your weekly grocery order – it’s pretty much a reality already.
So, what does this high level of technological integration mean to businesses with respect to CRM? It means that we have access to new information sources about our customers. We have new methods of measuring not only customer preferences, but customer behaviour. We can get an accurate measure of customer utility. We can truly visualize the demand curve and use it as a tool to grow our business and stay ahead of the competition. It means that the sales process doesn’t end with a sales order. Customers become more than just individuals. Each customer becomes their own entity. Regardless of a customer’s size, magnitude, or order volume, we have the ability to treat each customer individually and uniquely to fit their specific tastes. CRM solutions change from being a front-end / upstream system, to a holistic, over arching process that has no beginning or end. In fact, it’s not CRM anymore, it’s something else that hasn’t truly been named yet, only described – Customer Experience Management (CEM). It’s the next evolution of CRM, and it’s not that far away.
CEM is an all encompassing process in the enterprise. In fact, it reaches outside of the enterprise too. It’s not a process in the traditional sense – there is no formal beginning and end. It takes on a cyclic pattern where customers enter from any point and hopefully, never leave the circle.
Today’s CRM systems can handle half of CEM’s scope – the stuff that happens within the enterprise. CRM is good at integrating with back-end systems, service organizations, and customer service, but it’s not that good at seeing outside the enterprise. That’s where CEM comes in. CEM can handle things that happen outside the enterprise – measuring customer usage, behavior patterns, and utility. CEM will take advantage of technological integrations and use those as data points, which will in turn feed back into the enterprise.