You must be familiar with the term customer relationship management (CRM). Companies have adopted CRM to the degree that even technical and business departments are called CRM, or have CRM as a part of their name.
In this chapter, we will compare CRM and customer experience (CX) and explain the differences.
- CRM and its shortcomings
- The customer journey of CX and the need for it
- How CX enables us to accomplish objectives for the best customer experience
Like many other contemporary concepts, the concept of CRM in everyday practice provokes doubts related to its meaning and its scope. The reason for this lies in the fact that CRM is both a strategy, a process, and a system. It is difficult to define a concept that is ambiguous because it covers such a wide area. It should be noted that CRM is a concept developed within the framework of marketing relations and business philosophy that strives to meet the individual needs of consumers; making consumers happy and building systematic interaction with consumers transforms them into clients. In order to do this, a communication system needs to be established that will ensure immediate interaction with the consumer.
Through such interaction, anonymous individuals as mass consumers are transformed into individualized and personalized units, which not only systematically collect information, but also systematically provide information. That in itself presents a challenge when discussing CRM, since strategy, processes, and systems are part of one whole system. We will focus on all of these areas in this book, but for this chapter, we will mainly focus on the systems aspect of CRM.
Such a communication system, especially in the case of a large number of consumers, cannot be built without the use of modern technology. That's why CRM systems integrate into marketing and information systems, as well as management systems. Data is the basis for creating a consumer image and consumer profile that contains all the information and connections that you deem relevant; that is, a 360-degree view of the consumer, which effectively enables you to cater to their needs. Such a system also enables the selection of quality clients in terms of securing loyal consumers. Consequently, CRM enables the construction of a defensive marketing strategy that seeks to retain consumers and make good use of existing clients, which, in nature, requires less effort and resources than the implementation of an offensive marketing strategy.
CRM covers a complete sales process, and its strength manifests from contact between businesses and individual consumers. CRM has a presence not only in area sales activities, but is important in pre-sale and post-sale activities. CRM has evolved from so-called call centers that, except for sales purposes, and were used for post-sale activities, for supporting users of products or services.
CRM is currently a key component of ensuring modern businesses survive.
The main benefits of this are as follows:
- The IT system organizations need to support CRM systems which enforce you to define the roles of surrounding systems and to integrate them accordingly
- Data is kept in a highly organized and accessible manner, and CRM usually comes with predefined dataset relationships
- Data security
- A uniformed consumer view, that is, a 360-degree view
- A product and services catalogue
- Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) functionalities
- Data analytics with drill-down reports
- Process engines
- Business rules engines
- Campaign management
- Loyalty management
- A sales funnel and pipeline
- Customizable user interfaces
- Case management
These benefits are organizational, providing a great inside view of your organization, which enables you to optimize your internal processes and resource usage, while preventing errors using the business rules and process engines.
CRM imposes significant limitations on organizations that implement it. These limitations were not apparent for 20 years, but now they are hindering businesses in their efforts to deliver a great customer experience, and impose technical complications with exorbitant financial costs.
The most common problems with implementing CRM are those that stem from an organization's inconsistencies. Simply put, they occur when CRM is run by a separate department or departments within an organization, and there is no real perception of a CRM end-to-end strategy. These departments are most often marketing departments, specialized CRM departments, or sales departments. Relationships with consumers are not painful in the aforementioned departments; problems usually arise in departments that are in contact with consumers, such as customer service, personnel in stores, and so on. These departments usually do not have enough influence when the time comes to define CRM solutions, strategies, and processes. Relationships with users are not painful in parts of the organization that are, by their nature, tuned to their needs; problems arise elsewhere.
Contemporary organizations usually have obscure units, such as police cells, whose task is to sanction naughty users. Sadly, such departments often use traditional police methods from the era of an economic system that was common to the whole world, regardless of the political system. It is a kind of economic communism, or a monopoly. One bidding, one showing attitude toward users, which in essence comes down to the phrase you need us and we know what is best for you, or, as Ford said, you can get model T in any color you want, as long it is black. With fierce competition today, this approach is not a viable business strategy.
CRM systems fails to incorporate customer experience and customer needs in all departments, including departments that are, by nature, not customer-facing. To enable an appropriate customer experience, applications and strategies must be accepted by the whole organization in an easy and encompassing manner.
Although CRM usually involves a substantial amount of information regarding customers, data is used only for maximizing profit and does not take into account what is important to the customer. This kind of thinking is called inside-out thinking.
- A company is concerned only about the baseline
- Appropriate customer experience is not imperative
- More importance is given to internal processes than to processes that tailor interactions with customers or partners
- Budgets are always assigned to internal needs
- Usually, an incorrect process triggers the implementation of inappropriate systems and, subsequently, assigning people to roles whose incompetent or are inappropriate
Time to market (TTM) can be long, which makes it costly. Usually, any change in CRM triggers changes in a myriad of other systems.
It is no secret that the majority of CRM-implementation projects fail or do not deliver appropriate value to a company. The usual method for CRM adoption is Big Bang, which demonstrates that most organizations still consider CRM, and subsequently, customer interaction, in a very rigid manner. With this method of implementation, there is very little space left for adopting changes that are needed to respond to the ever-changing business environment and consumer needs. It is not enough to implement CRM on time and inside budget. Technology needs to be flexible so that companies can rapidly incorporate new strategies and business objectives during the implementation of CRM. In a sense, CX/CRM projects do not end; they need to evolve alongside the market's evolution.
A CRM system, as a monolithic system, is not able to be flexible, no matter how well you have planned it or how skilled your team is. Another important aspect is that CRM systems are not tailored to support new channels of communication, such as cell phones and social media channels. CRM systems are great as a transactional database, and that was good enough for 20 years, but in today's world they are holding businesses back.
CRM systems are great for storing and managing customer-related information. However, CRM systems fail to tailor communication, and, subsequently, the experience that customers have with companies, catering predominantly to organizational, internal needs.
Customer experience implies a holistic approach and this includes all the times a customer is in touch with the company or brand (that is, via the web and advertising, considering a factors such as reputation, packaging, location, delivery speed, ease of use, reliability, and so on); this is appropriate customer care.
Every client's experience with an organization provokes an emotional response. This could be a pleasant experience if they encounter good things when interacting with a business or they could have a bad experience. The experience of a transaction with an organization, that is, how well a client is treated, remains with the buyer, and affects their future decisions.
If you do not provide a personal touch and do not behave toward the client as an individual, then you are showing that you do not acknowledge their needs in an appropriate manner, and so you do not really care about them.
A CX system defines customer loyalty as the emotional connection that clients have with the organization. Customer engagement describes the health of the relationship between the buyer and the brand. It defines it as how well an organization delivers what it has promised through its brand, to what extent it has a fair relationship with its customers, and how well it deals with complaints and objections.
As part of the complaint process, a company must first develop an understanding that, a client who has had a good experience becomes an organization's or brand's promoter, and transmits that information through word of mouth, thus becoming an ambassador for the brand. Have you thought about rewarding those who complain? We are asking the question, how do you provide a good service?
Each time a customer complains, the damage to the customer is twofold—the economic cost of making the complaint and the emotional damage. Companies that do not recognize the emotional damage caused by customer complaints fail to enable their employees to recognize it too, risking the most important thing, and that is loyalty:
CX is not about data management, it is not about internal systems; its main goal is to make the experience simple and transparent for the customer.
The objectives of the technology are as follows:
- To create a single, integrated, engaging, and highly personalized customer experience
- To create omnichannel communication, seamlessly integrated into one screen
- To create a unified platform that provides social, predictive analytics, and enables integration with other systems
CX technology enables businesses to tailor customer experiences and use data in the best time and way to create the best possible customer experience, essentially allowing companies to think in an outside-in manner.
For the successful introduction of a CX system, a vision is needed that will encompass the entire business, and must start at the highest organizational level. A customer-centric philosophy takes into account the financial objectives and business strategy of the company, and upgrades the marketing strategy. It determines how the company builds profitable relationships with clients and gains their trust.
The introduction of CX technology is not enough by itself; it is necessary to change the culture, organizational structure, and priorities of the company.
This, in a nutshell, describes a company with a customer-centric philosophy.
- Understanding customer needs and objectives
- Listening to your customers and taking note of what they need and suggest
- Always thinking about how your decisions impact your customers
- Making the experience easier and more transparent for your customers
- Using the customer-journey technique to map exercises frequently
- Closing the loop using customer feedback
CX suite is not a monolithic system like CRM systems are, which, in itself, is a substantial benefit. CX enables businesses to tailor the system to their needs, to quickly change systems, and to adopt a new strategy when needed, all while offering a great customer experience.
Data integration between systems is seamless and data is kept in an appropriate system. It has much easier implementation; since you do not have to implement a large monolithic system, and there is no need for the big bang approach.
Nowadays, a sustainable competitive advantage can be best achieved if value proposition is really needed for users—save time for your customers by quickly and easily finding out why this product or service will be bought by consumers. After this process, customers will have growing confidence in your company, because you are speaking truthfully about the advantages and disadvantages of your products and services in a simple way.
The customer knows exactly what is waiting for them in the buying process, and knows how, after the purchase, they will contact you if there is a problem or they have an additional desire. When these qualities are transmitted to the online environment in the context of easily finding what they are looking for, the key to success is to create comprehensible content for users and a customized user experience for prospective clients. Various studies have shown that customer experience will be the most important segment of organizational advancement in the coming years.
Optimizing user experience has the goal of simplifying and speeding up processes, and enabling the easy completion of the requested action.
Oracle CX is a set of applications that form a strategic end-to-end platform for companies. Oracle CX is enabling companies to implement and maintain CX capabilities in their business. These applications are shown in the following diagram:
The Oracle CX cloud consists of the following applications:
- The Oracle Sales Cloud provides tools for customer data management, sales cataloging, sales force automation, sales prediction, analytics, and communication with customers and partners.
- The Marketing Cloud is used for creating campaigns and tracking them throughout their lifespan. Campaigns can be personalized for each customer or segment. Customers can be segmented using all the information available from the Marketing Cloud or another application that you are using in your company.
- The Service Cloud is used for customer service management. This application is mainly used in contact centers and enables companies to track customer cases using its omnichannel-communication capabilities.
- The CPQ application enables users to establish pricing and quoting processes so that they can easily manage and update product pricing and orders.
- The Oracle Commerce and Content applications use templates and other pre-built components, enabling users to implement and manage their storefronts on the web.
- The Oracle Social application combines latent semantic analysis (LSA), natural language processing (NLP), and its own proprietary algorithms to provide comprehensive social listening, analysis, and social engagement features.
In this chapter, we have covered topics describing the differences between CRM and CX. We have explained why companies need to adopt a CX implementation approach, and we have described a CX portfolio.
The sunset of current technological and social CRM developments shows that it is high time for companies to have systems that are able to translate the benefits of products/services into a language that is comprehensible to users, and to adapt the way they present their products/services to users.
There are four essential principles of customer experience:
- Interaction must be in both directions customer-company and company-customer, and the loop must be closed.
- The customer must be engaged in every step of communication.
- The company has to be able to cater to the customer's needs and wants.
- The customer must be able to choose. This shows that the company values them and tailors the experience specially for them. The selection process must be easy and transparent for customers to understand and use.
That is customer experience in a nutshell.
In the next chapter, we will see how it can be implemented in the real world using Oracle's CX offering. We will also discuss best practices and prerequisites.