Customer Experience Management: A Hands-On Guide

28 minute read

“If you are not taking care of your customers, your competitor will.” This age-old quote by Bob Hooey has stood the test of time and is now more relevant than ever before.

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, having a product to sell is no longer enough to get customers through the door. You need to nurture your customers through every step of their journey with your brand - be it in-store or on the internet. And the best way to do that is through effective customer experience management.

Graphic showing an email alert following a low CSAT score.

Introduction to customer experience management

Customer experience management is no longer just a buzzword. It’s fundamental to growth in today’s hyper competitive marketplace. In a world where customers have thousands of different options at their fingertips, you need to have a plan to improve customer satisfaction, strengthen loyalty, and solidify the customer’s emotional connection to your brand.

And that means delivering consistently great experiences. Without a proper customer experience management strategy in place, losing business to your competitors is not a matter of if, but when.

Having a strategy for customer experience management is only half the battle. Your business also needs to find a suitable platform to manage the different customer experiences and feedback to understand what's working and what isn’t. Through collection and analysis of unbiased customer data you can identify, the problematic areas within the customer journey, allowing you to address them by making smart decisions based on data not assumptions.

What is customer experience?

These days, customer experience (CX) is a well known term used to describe a customer’s interaction with, and perception of your brand based on their individual experience from pre to post purchase and beyond. The customer experience journey begins from the moment the customer finds out about your company up to the last time the customer has interacted with your business – whether that’s buying a product or a service, speaking to customer support, or engaging with your content on social media.

The origins of customer experience

The origin of customer experience dates back to the early 1920s, but it wasn’t until the post-WWII boom in consumerism that its significance began to take shape. As the business environment became more competitive, customers started to have more options.

In the 1980s, businesses started to notice that securing customer loyalty by doing the bare minimum of supplying a product or a service at a desirable price was no longer enough. On the flip side, businesses who understood the importance of putting their customers first quickly started to grow market share.

This marked a significant turning point and business started to really pay attention to CX and incorporate it into their strategies which has seen customer experience evolve into what we know it as today

What is customer experience management?

In basic terms, customer experience management (CXM) refers to the tactics and strategies employed—and technologies used—by companies looking to better manage the overall experience a customer has with their business (with the aim of improving that experience).

It’s important to remember that CXM doesn’t merely refer to the resolving of customer complaints and or other issues as they arise. It refers to taking a holistic view of the customer journey and a proactive approach to anticipate customer needs, identify their pain points, and continuously enhance every touchpoint in the customer journey.

Learn more about our CX solution

Request a demo

The benefits of customer experience management

Implementing an effective CXM strategy can lead to significant benefits that will allow you to compete with your competitors beyond product and price. Here’s how:

Impact on brand loyalty and customer retention

In today’s business environment, market saturation exists in almost every industry, giving customers more choices than ever before. Subsequently, customer loyalty cannot be taken for granted.

A study published by Walker Information, showed customer experience will be of greater importance than price and product. This is just one of many studies that highlight the businesses that focus on customer experience will continue to expand their market share, while those that don’t will start to lose customers until they inevitably stop being profitable and go out of business.

In today's digital world customer experience doesn’t just apply to brick-and-mortar businesses. People are spending more and more time on the internet and eCommerce is growing at an astonishing pace and is expected to be a $69.1 trillion dollar market by 2032.  Modern consumers  expect a quality digital experience whether that is in app, on your website or talking with your support team through live chat or on DMing on your social channels.

It’s not just in the purchase where this digital experience matters. Post purchase notifications, shipping updates, delivery notifications have all become of heightened importance and play a significant part in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Influence on customer satisfaction and referrals

It’s no secret that customers who have had a great experience with your brand will become advocates telling others about the positive interactions. Word of mouth is a hugely powerful marketing tool, and it’s easy to see why. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers are far more inclined to believe recommendations from friends and family compared to random advertisements

And thanks to social media, when a customer speaks positively about your  brand on the web, it won’t just reach their closest friends and family but has the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands of people that follow them.

Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience.

Core components of CXM

With so many customer experience management platforms on the market it can be easy to jump in and want to buy a piece of software. But before reaching straight for the tech it's worthwhile spending some time thinking about the core components that will underpin your efforts. Below is a brief overview of the 5 key components to get you started.

5 key considerations for planning for CXM campaign

The adage “Don’t build a house on sand” applies to most things in life including CXM! Before building a CXM campaign, you need to build strong foundations first. Having a strong structure in place will not only make your efforts more efficient, but you’ll create a framework for sustainable success that aligns with your customer’s needs and business objectives. Here is an example of how you could lay the groundwork for your CXM campaign:

  1. Assess your starting point
    The first step to building an effective CXM campaign is understanding your starting point. To find your starting point, you need to ask yourself - is the goal of the CXM campaign to address known issues or are you looking to identify problems that are not yet known to the business? Once you have an answer to the above, you can move on to the next step.
  2. Define your objectives
    Whether you know the problems that exist within your company or not, outlining the goals that you want to achieve with your CXM campaign is key. Otherwise, there is no way for you to know whether your efforts have worked or not. Some examples of objectives that you can set for your CXM campaign include increasing customer satisfaction, boosting loyalty, and enhancing brand reputation.
  3. Understand your customers
    Carrying out surveys, conducting interviews, and reading reviews on the internet - these are all ways you can gain insight into your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. Using your findings, you can then tailor your CXM efforts and start working on problems that are backed up by data (customer feedback) rather than blindly focusing on improving various parts of the customer journey.
  4. Establish key metrics
    The next step is to clearly define the metrics that will gauge the success of your customer experience management program. These metrics could include customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Scores (CES) , customer retention rates, and various other KPIs. Establishing the key metrics that you’ll use to keep track of your CXM campaign will allow you to see the progress of your efforts and the impact it’s having on customer experience.
  5. Develop a strategy and action plan
    Based on your business objectives and customer insights, you should develop a comprehensive strategy for effective CXM. The strategy should focus on initiatives or actions aimed at addressing key touchpoints of the customer journey that need to be improved. As part of the strategy, make sure to assign responsibilities to the relevant team members, set deadlines, and allocate the resources necessary to carry out the CXM campaign.

The role of personalisation in CXM campaigns

Personalisation is a crucial component of modern-day CXM campaign. A study carried out by Epsilon concluded that 80% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand if it offers a more personalised experience.

In marketing, when referring to personalisation, it can be as simple as saying the name of the customer in a post-purchase email or recommending products based on their preference using historical data.

In customer experience management, personalisation largely refers to getting personal feedback from your customers at different touchpoints of their journey. For example, if they’ve received a delivery, you can ask them how their delivery driver was or if the packaging was in good condition.

Let's take a look at how you can use SmartSurvey to add personalisation to your CMX campaign...

Custom variables

Custom variables enable you to integrate personalised elements based on known respondent data – this could be pulled from any number of other platforms but most commonly from CRM, Marketing Automation Platform Helpdesk or existing surveys. By embedding these variables into survey URLs, specific information such as names or locations can be dynamically displayed in surveys and subsequently in reports. This tailors the content to individual respondents but also streamlines data analysis, ensuring more targeted customer interactions.

For a detailed explanation on setting up and utilising custom variables in surveys, you can refer to the SmartSurvey guide. A common use case is triggering location based surveys, for instance sending a survey to a customer who has recently purchased from a store in Birmingham for instance enabling to directly reference their store visit and then breakdown responses based on location – pretty cool!

Piping

Piping is a powerful function that can significantly enhance the personalisation of your customer experience surveys. For example, if your survey first asks a customer to identify their favourite product, this piece of information can be dynamically used in subsequent questions.

SmartSurvey’s piping functionality allows this data to be automatically inserted into later questions or answers, making the survey more relevant and engaging for the respondent. This not only tailors the survey directly to the individual's preferences but also encourages more detailed and specific feedback.

For a deeper understanding of how to implement this feature in SmartSurvey, you can refer to our guide on piping which provides step-by-step instructions on setting up your surveys to utilise piping, enhancing the effectiveness of your customer interactions.

Skip logic – also referred to as branching or routing

Skip logic is a fantastic feature to use in customer experience (CX) surveys ensuring that questions are highly relevant to each respondent, improving data quality and respondent engagement. Here are a few practical examples of skip logic in use in a CXM campaign:

  1. Customer support interaction
    If a customer rates their support interaction poorly, skip logic can be used to immediately follow up with an open-ended question asking for details on how the experience could be improved. This direct follow-up can help gather specific feedback that might otherwise be missed in a survey that just captures the quantitative rating.
  2. Product feedback and development
    In surveys targeting product feedback, skip logic can leverage a user’s previous responses about the product. For example, if a customer indicates that they have not used a certain feature, the survey can skip over related questions and instead ask if they need information or assistance regarding that feature.
  3. Customer retention
    In retention surveys, particularly where a customer has discontinued a service or returned a product, skip logic can direct them to questions that probe for underlying reasons behind their decision. This can help businesses understand critical factors influencing customer churn and potentially offer targeted solutions or alternatives to retain the customer.

These examples show how skip logic can be applied in various contexts to enhance the relevance of surveys - there are so many more use cases! Skip logic is a brilliant feature that helps make the feedback process less tedious and more engaging for respondents. This approach improves the quality of the data collected but also enhances customer satisfaction by showing the customer’s specific circumstances and responses are being considered.

To learn how to implement skip logic effectively in your surveys, visit the SmartSurvey help guide on skip logic.

Download our quick guide on customer experience

Read it now

Integrating omnichannel approaches

Omnichannel CXM refers to providing your customers with a seamless and consistent experience regardless of whether they’re shopping in one of your physical stores or from your website. When an omnichannel CXM strategy is implemented well, the customer will feel ‘at home’ regardless of how and where they decide to shop or interact with your brand.

When a customer has a consistently good experience with a brand, their level of satisfaction and loyalty will only strengthen - giving you a competitive advantage over the competition.

Let’s explore how SmartSurvey can support an omnichannel approach to CXM...

SmartSurvey gives you a comprehensive platform to implement an omnichannel approach to customer experience management through a variety of survey collection methods. With over 250 native integrations you can set surveys to trigger and feed into any number of different platforms to automate customer feedback.

Below are a few of the most common channels used in a CXM campaign with SmartSurvey:

  • Offline surveys
    Gather responses without internet access and upload them later, ensuring continuous data collection in remote or offline environments
  • SMS surveys
    Reach customers directly on their mobile devices, increasing response rates and engagement through quick and convenient survey access
  • Email and live chat embedding
    Integrate surveys directly into email campaigns and live chat interfaces, making it easy for customers to provide feedback during interactions
  • Multiple distribution channels
    Utilise web links, QR codes, Facebook integration, and website embeds to meet your audience where they are, ensuring broad and effective survey reach
  • APIs and integrations
    Seamlessly integrate with various platforms to automatically trigger surveys on the channels of your choice based on customer interactions, ensuring timely and relevant feedback collection.

With SmartSurvey, you can seamlessly integrate feedback from diverse channels to enhance your customer experience strategy.

Book a demo of our CX solution

Request a demo

The customer experience management process

CXM processes and strategies vary from business to business, but there are some common denominators.

Identifying common customer experience touchpoints

Customer experience touchpoints refer to the interactions customers have with your brand during their journey. This can range from website visits and social media interactions to in-store experiences. Identifying the individual touchpoints in customer experience is essential as they are your key ‘moments that matter’ where you will want to gather feedback.

Once you have mapped out these touchpoints you can implement measurable objectives and start to gather feedback, and begin to address the issues your customers are facing at each touchpoint.

If you have a physical store, paying attention to the packaging and product displays can have a major impact on customer experience and the way your customers perceive your brand. Visiting your store should become a memorable experience, which will positively influence the customers’ purchasing decisions now and in the future.

Example: using SmartSurvey to improve in-store customer feedback

Gathering in-store customer feedback is vital if you have bricks and mortar locations. Poor connection or no internet in store? No problem you use offline surveys to collect feedback via a tablet placed through the store – common positions include store entrance and checkouts. Here are some important aspects you might want to include:

  1. Cleanliness
    • How would you rate the cleanliness of the store?
    • Were the customer toilets clean and well-maintained?
  2. Helpfulness of staff
    • Were staff members available to assist you?
    • How would you rate the friendliness and helpfulness of our staff?
  3. Store layout
    • How easy was it to find the products you were looking for?
    • How would you rate the overall layout and organisation of the store?
  4. Product availability
    • Were the products you wanted in stock?
    • How satisfied are you with the variety of products available?
  5. Checkout experience
    • How would you rate the speed and efficiency of the checkout process?
    • Were you satisfied with the payment options available?
  6. Overall experience
    • How likely are you to recommend our store to others?
    • What can we improve to make your next visit better?

SmartSurvey makes it easy to collect responses through various distribution channels, helping you identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall in-store experience. By integrating SmartSurvey with your existing systems via APIs or native integrations, you can automatically trigger surveys after customer interactions.

For instance, surveys can be sent after a purchase linked to your customer membership app or when a receipt has been emailed. This ensures timely feedback collection, capturing customer impressions while they are still fresh – you want your customer to remember clearly what they thought was good and what wasn’t and the quicker you can get that feedback the better the quality of the data you will have to drive change.

Identifying pain points and opportunities for improvement

Companies looking to improve customer experience have to proactively identify and address pain points their customers are going through. And the best way to do that and ensure a great customer experience across the board is to identify problems through. And make decisions based on data not assumptions.

That's why carrying out surveys, conducting interviews, and monitoring your customers’ interactions with your brand is so important to a successful CXM campaign, it underpins the entire strategy and without feedback you won't be able to obtain the insights into where customers face challenges or have unmet expectations.

By actively capturing customer feedback, you will quickly become closer to customers and  their problems,  and you’ll be able to address them in a timely manner before they impact your wider customer base. Problems might arise from implementing new systems or perhaps a service that has gone down or a third party partner. Problems and poor experiences come in many shapes and forms; it’s not just business as usual that a CXM campaign deals with.

A fantastic way to identify pain points and areas for improvement is by creating a customer journey map. This process involves the visualisation of the entire customer journey from start to finish. It’s designed to help you pinpoint exact interactions and areas where your customers may experience friction and negative emotions as well as positive emotions. By understanding and mapping this journey you can identify known problems areas as well as positive experiences and which type of survey would be most appropriate to run.

With the emergence of technologies such as AI and machine learning, companies can now analyse vast amounts of data to uncover hidden pain points that they would have otherwise missed. These advanced tooling options allow businesses to see customer behaviour and their preferences in real time, enabling them to take action on issues before they escalate.

Using different types of customer experience questions in SmartSurvey to identify pain points

SmartSurvey offers a variety of question types to support your customer feedback process:

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT is ideal for immediate feedback after a purchase. For example, “How satisfied are you with your recent purchase?”

Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES is particularly useful after a return or product support inquiry. For instance, “How easy was it to resolve your issue?” This helps identify areas where processes may be causing customer friction.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is best used 6 months after purchase to gauge long-term loyalty. Ask, “How likely are you to recommend our store to a friend or colleague?” This provides a broader view of customer satisfaction over time.

These CX specific question types auto-calculate the data, allowing you to focus qualitative insights. All your quantitative data can be fed into a real time dynamic customer experience dashboard, enabling you to view and share KPIs and trends across your organisation.

It's important to choose the right question point in relation to the touchpoints on the customer journey and also make sure it's related and feeding back into the right departments who can drive the necessary change.

Example use case

  • After purchase (CSAT)
    “How satisfied are you with your purchase experience?”
  • After support interaction (CES)
    “How easy was it to get help with your issue?”
  • Six months post-purchase (NPS)
    “How likely are you to recommend our product to others?”

Mapping the customer journey

Mapping your customer’s journey with your brand is key to effective CXM. A comprehensive customer journey map will allow you to see the experience that customers have with your brand from their perspective.

This will give you an insight into the potential problems that they may face along the way, which could lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, and other negative emotions that will impact customer experience.

When mapping the customer journey, you should especially pay attention to moments that matter. This concept in CXM refers to touchpoints that can have a significant impact on customer experience.

To give you an example, if you run an e-commerce store, having a post-purchase survey is of critical importance. It allows you to ask the customers who have bought from your brand what they think about their shopping experience up to this point. And if there are any negative comments, you will quickly see if there is a pattern that you and your team should address.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map represents the step-by-step experiences that your customers go through when interacting with your brand. It helps you pinpoint crucial touchpoints that your customers will experience throughout their journey. When you know what those touchpoints are, you can start obtaining feedback, and see if there are any pain points that need to be addressed.

Key stages of the customer journey

There are five stages that customers typically go through when interacting with a brand. Understanding why each stage is important and the impact it can have on your business will help you manage the customer experience more effectively and ensure your customer’s expectations are exceeded every step of the way. The five key stages of the customer journey include:

  1. Awareness
    The customer becomes aware of your brand and the products or services it offers
  2. Consideration
    The customer compares your offerings against those of your competitors
  3. Decision
    The customer makes a purchase decision
  4. Retention
    The customer’s post-purchase experience, which can be anything from them using your product or service to speaking with your customer support team
  5. Advocacy
    The customer is satisfied and becomes a brand advocate

Learn more about our CX solution

Request a demo

Collecting and analysing customer feedback

To truly understand the experience that your customers have with your brand, continuous feedback is crucial. Being able to tap into up-to-date feedback from your customers will help you refine your customer experience management strategy by making data-driven decisions to address any issues before they impact your wider customer base.

Types of feedback to collect

When collecting feedback from customers, there are three types if feedback that you should focus on, including:

  1. Direct feedback
    This type of feedback is obtained directly from the customers - either online or in person. It includes feedback that is obtained from surveys, interviews, or by directly communicating with the customers.
  2. Indirect feedback
    This type of feedback refers to comments, thoughts, and opinions left by your customers on social media platforms or review sites such as Trustpilot.
  3. Inferred feedback
    This type of feedback refers to insights drawn from observing the behaviour of your customers rather than soliciting feedback directly from them. Some examples of inferred feedback include website and social media analytics and purchase history.

Methods for gathering customer insights

When it comes to gathering customer insights, there are two different ways that you can go about it. They include:

Direct feedback

One of the most widely utilised direct methods for gathering customer insights is carrying out surveys, which are completed directly by the customer. Some direct feedback surveys include Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Indirect and inferred feedback

Another popular method for gathering customer insights is monitoring social media platforms, review sites, and forums. From these platforms, you can extract indirect and inferred customer feedback about your customers and their experiences with your brand.

Good to know: Use calculators to measure feedback efficiently


As we saw earlier, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an integral part of any customer experience management (CXM) program. These metrics provide valuable insights into how customers perceive your brand and their overall experience.

Customer Satisfaction surveys give a measure of customers' immediate reactions to their interactions with your brand. Typically, customers rate their satisfaction on a scale (e.g. 1 to 5). The CSAT calculator aggregates these scores, helping you identify an overall satisfaction percentage and in turn highlighting areas where your business excels and where it needs improvement.

Customer Effort Score surveys focus on the ease of customer interactions, asking questions like, "How easy was it to resolve your issue?" Responses are usually on a scale of 1 to 7. The CES calculator averages these responses, helping you to gauge how much effort customers need to exert, providing insights into friction points in your processes.

Net Promoter Score assesses long-term customer loyalty by asking, "How likely are you to recommend our product/service to others?" Responses range from 0 to 10, categorising customers into detractors, passives, and promoters. The NPS calculator is a handy and quick way to subtract the percentage of detractors from promoters to produce a score, indicating overall customer loyalty and potential for organic growth.

Utilising these calculators within your CXM program helps identify strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to refine your strategies and enhance the overall customer experience.

Analysing feedback to improve CX

Once your CXM campaign is underway, you’ll start to receive various feedback from your customers. One crucial step to improving CX is being able to analyse the feedback properly and turning it into actionable steps.

Doing so, however, is easier said than done, especially when dealing with a lot of feedback. That’s when SmartSurvey’s text analysis and sentiment analysis tools can be of big help in helping you extract meaningful insights from large volumes of data.

What’s more, is that when these tools are used in conjunction with dashboards and custom reporting, you can make sense of this large volume of data across multiple regions, stores, or digital assets, allowing you to segment the data and drive action only in the areas that need improvement.

Use case: Improving CX with text analysis

Challenge

A retail company is swamped with customer feedback from various regions and stores. Manually sifting through this data to find common issues is overwhelming.

Solution

By using SmartSurvey's text analysis tool, the company can:

  • Sort feedback
    Automatically tag responses by topic, making it easy to find recurring themes.
  • Visualise data
    Use word clouds to quickly spot frequent issues.
  • Generate reports
    Create visual reports to share insights with teams.

Outcome

The company can quickly act on customer feedback, improving the customer experience in specific areas, boosting satisfaction and loyalty.

For more details, visit SmartSurvey’s Text analysis guide.

Book a demo of our CX solution

Request a demo

Implementing changes based on insights

The collection of data from your customers is only useful if the insights that you’ve gained lead to improvements. That being said, doing so is easier said than done. In the three subsections below, we’ll go over how to prioritise changes, examples of actionable improvements, and overcome common implementation challenges that you may face along the way.

How to prioritise changes

When it comes to maximising customer experience, the changes that you should prioritise are the ones that may have the biggest negative impact on your customers. To prioritise changes properly, take into consideration both the feasibility of implementation and the expected ROI from each change that you want to make.

Examples of actionable improvements

There are many actionable improvements that businesses can make to improve their customer experience. And although the improvements that you need to make will be very specific to your business, there are a few improvements that are universal, regardless if you sell clothes on the internet or run a software as a service (SaaS) business. They include:

Improve website navigation

If your customers are struggling with finding your products or services on your website, you should consider redesigning your navigation bar and adding a search functionality.

Enhance customer support

Introduce more training for your support staff so they can better handle and resolve the problems that your customers are facing.

Reduce handling times on support calls

Consider hiring more support staff or guide your existing customer support team to improve the speed at which they handle customer enquiries. That way, frustrated customers won’t have to wait on hold, which will massively improve their satisfaction with your brand.

Overcoming common implementation challenges

You might have the best plan to improve customer experience, but it’s of no use if you can’t implement it. Each business will likely face different implementation challenges along the way.

Some won’t have the resources to roll out the changes, while others will face resistance within the organisation. Whatever the case might be, having a clear business case and a clear cost for the solution can be of massive help.

For example, SmartSurvey has made it extremely easy for customers to overcome implementation challenges by offering clear pricing, unlimited responses, and access to all the features within the subscription plan the customer chooses. Combined with access to Customer Success Managers and a responsive UK based support team they support CX professionals every step of the way.

And for those customers that need some external perspective SmartSurvey have access to a number of seasoned CX consultants who can support CX strategy and approaches.

Advanced customer experience management strategies

When it comes to the different strategies that you can use to enhance CXM, it very much depends on your business and way of operation. With that said, the advanced strategies in CXM that we’ll share below apply across the board - regardless if you run an e-commerce store or have a brick-and-mortar business.

Leveraging technology in CXM

To remain competitive and provide customers with the best possible experience, your business needs to take advantage of the available technology in CXM. Using various CXM systems and platforms will allow you to not only deliver a more personalised customer experience, but it can help you to do it more efficiently and at scale. Keep on reading to learn about some of the latest technological advancements that are shaping CXM.

How is AI and machine learning changing the face of CXM?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is transforming customer experience as we know it today. These new technologies will use historical data to predict customer behaviour, automate responses, and even personalise the interactions your brand has with your customers at scale.

To give you an example where AI will come in particularly handy as far as CXM is concerned, we’ll take chatbots as an example. When chatbots are integrated with AI, they can easily handle customer enquiries without any human intervention. That way, your staff’s valuable time will be freed up from doing repetitive and mundane tasks, which they can then spend on tackling more complex problems.

Importance of CRM systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are an integral part of effective CXM. CRM systems can act as the central repository for customer data, which can then be safely accessed and used by the various departments within the business at any given time.

Taking advantage of a modern CRM system, which can be integrated with other tools and platforms used by your business will allow for seamless data sharing and communication across the company. As a result, the consistency of the customer experience provided will be enhanced.

Emerging technologies to watch

As new technologies start to emerge, paying attention and taking advantage of the ones that are relevant to you can give your business a competitive advantage in CXM. An example of an emerging technology are Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which can provide your business with customer data in real-time. Another example is using blockchain to make customer data management easier and far more secure.

At SmartSurvey we have started to leverage AI technology to deliver sentiment analysis, which allows businesses to quickly and easily see if customer feedback, for example, is positive, negative, or neutral.

How to use sentiment analysis to improve CX

Step 1: access sentiment analysis

  • Log in to SmartSurvey
  • Navigate to your survey results
  • Select “Sentiment Analysis” from the analysis tools

Step 2: analyse feedback

  • The tool will automatically classify responses as Positive, Negative, Neutral, or Mixed
  • Review the sentiment breakdown to understand customer emotions

Step 3: take action

  • Use visual reports to identify trends
  • Navigate to your survey results
  • Focus on addressing negative feedback to boost satisfaction

Step 4: share insights

  • Generate and share charts and reports with your team

Use case: Enhancing CX with sentiment analysis

Challenge

A service company receives vast amounts of customer feedback. Understanding the overall sentiment quickly is challenging.

Solution

By using SmartSurvey’s Sentiment Analysis tool, the company can:

  • Gauge sentiment
    Automatically tag feedback
  • Spot trends
    Quickly identify areas needing attention
  • Visual reports
    Create easy-to-read charts

Outcome

Swiftly respond to negative feedback, improving customer satisfaction.

For more details, visit SmartSurvey’s Sentiment Analysis Guide.

Strategies for effective personalisation

General CXM is no longer sufficient. To maximise customer satisfaction and ensure that your customers remain loyal to your brand, you need to implement a personalised approach to CXM that addresses each customer individually. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you can think about implementing strategies such as:

  • Tailoring product suggestions
  • Sending personalised emails (referring to each customer by name)
  • Implement dynamic website content (customer sees content that’s most relevant to them)
  • Add interactive features such as surveys and quizzes to better customer experience while gathering more insights.

When it comes to the exact strategies you should use, they will very much depend on your business, the product or service you’re offering, and your customers. So, consider your options and opt for the ones that are most relevant and feasible.

Download our quick guide on customer experience

Read it now

Measuring customer experience

Being able to measure the success of your customer experience management strategy is key to seeing what is working and what isn’t, and depends upon measuring customer experience itself. Using the collected data, you can then adapt your CXM strategy accordingly. To help you do that, in the section below, we’ll take a look at:

  • The key metrics for tracking the effectiveness of your CXM
  • Long-term strategies to maintain the effectiveness of your CXM
  • How to adapt and evolve with the ever-changing expectations of your customers.

Key customer experience metrics

There are three big metrics that have become really well known with CXM and they are: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

These three customer experience metrics alone can provide your business with invaluable insights as to how your customers feel about your brand. Once you have collected a sufficient amount of data, you’ll quickly and easily be able to identify areas for improvement.

Long-term strategies for CXM maintenance

Once you successfully implement CXM as part of your business operations, it’s time to start thinking about maintaining it for the long term. Some of the most essential practices that you need to undertake to continue seeing improvements in customer experience include:

  • Updating existing and creating new customer journey maps
  • Staying up to date on new CXM tools and technologies
  • Continuously gathering and action on customer feedback

How to adapt and evolve with customer expectations

To succeed in CX and continue to provide a better experience for your customers, you need to maintain momentum and continuously adapt to the evolving needs of your customers and market dynamics. Here are a handful of tips that will help you achieve success in the long run with your CXM program:

Create a customer-centric culture

To achieve a great customer experience, you need to make sure that your entire team - from the frontline staff to the senior management team lives and breathes customer satisfaction. When everyone is aligned on one common goal, delivering a great customer experience becomes the new norm and makes everything much easier.

Make data-driven decisions

Take advantage of the data you collect via surveys, interviews, and other methods to make decisions based on hard data. Using the data you have at hand will also help you with prioritisation so you can focus on the initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Never stop measuring and monitoring data

Creating a great customer experience isn’t a one-off type of deal. It requires continuous effort. That’s why we recommend that you never stop measuring and monitoring data. This will make catching new pain points and issues early on much easier, giving you plenty of time to fix them before they impact your wider customer base.

Ensure cross-department collaboration

If you operate a larger business with a digital presence and physical stores, cross-department collaboration is key. That’s the only feasible way of achieving consistency in delivering an exceptional customer experience across the board.

Adapt and innovate

Never stop adapting and innovating. The market and your customer's needs and expectations evolve day by day, and the lack of adaptation or innovation in your CX practices will make you fall behind until eventually, you start to lose customers to the competition.

Now that you know the different principles that you should incorporate into your long-term CXM strategy, let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to consider when choosing a CXM platform.

Choosing a customer experience management platform

Having an effective CXM strategy is crucial for increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. However, that’s only half the battle. To remain competitive and optimise your CXM operations fully, you need to find a CXM platform that works for your business.

Although finding a CXM platform is easier said than done, the good news is that there are many options on the market, varying from basic to extremely advanced, to suit the different needs and budgets of the marketplace. When trying to decide between the different CXM tools that are available to you, you should take into consideration:

  • Response costs
  • The number of unique users you require
  • The key metrics that you need to capture
  • The different channels you plan on using

Aside from those, when choosing a CXM platform, you should also ask yourself:

  • Do I need to break down data into specific teams?
  • Do I need to extract dashboards and reports?
  • Do I need to slice and dice the data to make it actionable?
  • Can the platform integrate seamlessly with the existing systems we use?
  • What level of support is available and how do I take advantage of it if needed?
  • Is the data backed and where is it stored?

The above are some real-life examples of things to consider and questions to ask yourself before settling on one particular platform. One thing you don’t want to do is skip this part and pay for a platform only to find out that it’s lacking in an area that is of crucial importance to your business.

To find the perfect CXM platform for you, we recommend that you write down every single need and question that your business has. Once you have exactly what you’re looking for on paper, you should start scouring the marketplace for a suitable CXM system.

Key takeaways and concluding thoughts

TL;DR: Here's all the good stuff summarised for you in three concise sections:

Essentials of customer experience management

  1. Customer focus is essential
    Nurturing customers through every step of their journey is crucial in today's competitive market.
  2. Customer experience management (CXM)
    CXM is vital for growth, helping to improve satisfaction, loyalty, and emotional connections with the brand.
  3. Strategic necessity
    A well-defined CXM strategy is necessary to avoid losing customers to competitors.
  4. Importance of data
    Using unbiased customer data to identify and address issues is crucial for effective CXM.
  5. Comprehensive customer experience
    CX encompasses all interactions from the first contact with a brand to post-purchase engagements.
  6. Historical context
    CX’s importance emerged significantly post-WWII, and businesses realized its potential in the 1980s.
  7. CXM definition
    CXM involves tactics, strategies, and technologies to enhance the overall customer experience proactively.

Implementing effective CXM strategies

  1. Benefits of CXM
    Effective CXM boosts brand loyalty, retention, and competitive edge, and significantly impacts revenue.
  2. Digital experience
    High-quality digital experiences are critical due to the rise of e-commerce and online interactions.
  3. Customer satisfaction and referrals
    Positive customer experiences lead to word-of-mouth recommendations and advocacy.
  4. Core components of CXM
    Effective CXM requires foundational planning, understanding customers, setting objectives, and developing a strategy.
  5. Personalization
    Personalized experiences, such as custom variables and piping in surveys, enhance customer satisfaction.
  6. Omnichannel approach
    Providing seamless experiences across all channels (online and offline) is essential for consistent CX.
  7. Feedback collection
    Collecting customer feedback at various touchpoints helps identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Tools and techniques for ongoing CX improvement

  1. Customer journey mapping
    Mapping the customer journey helps identify crucial touchpoints and potential issues.
  2. Analysing feedback
    Using tools like sentiment analysis to process customer feedback is vital for actionable insights.
  3. Implementation of changes
    Prioritizing changes based on data and feasibility ensures effective CX improvements.
  4. Leveraging technology
    Technologies like AI, machine learning, and CRM systems are integral to modern CXM.
  5. Continuous adaptation
    Adapting and evolving CX strategies to meet changing customer expectations is crucial for long-term success.
  6. Choosing the right CXM platform
    Selecting a suitable CXM platform involves considering costs, user needs, integration capabilities, and support levels.

Wrapping up

Customer experience management (CXM) has become increasingly essential in the fiercely competitive modern business environment, where meeting high customer expectations is paramount. A solid CXM strategy will not only boost customer satisfaction and loyalty but will also drive substantial business growth.

By mapping the customer journey companies can identify the most important touchpoints and pain points. They can then target the kinds of improvements that create the positive interactions that foster strong, emotional brand connections.

To this end, collecting and analysing customer feedback - continuously - is crucial for making the informed decisions that keep the customer experience top-notch. The key to successful CXM is a proactive, data-driven approach that prioritises the customer at every stage.