CEM Maturity: Shrinking the Gap between ‘Novices’ and ‘Collaborators’

I think we’d all agree that in today’s market, the majority of companies have now tuned in to the fact that measuring and managing their customer experience is crucial to their future success and sustainability. Moving alongside this trend has been the emergence of more sophisticated and insightful tools to capture those measurements, from SMS surveys and alerts, to text analytics, customer journey trackers and Big Data predictive insights.

This does not mean to say that as technology has advanced so has the maturity amongst companies using CEM solutions. Research by The Temkin Group™ shows that there are still an overwhelming majority of companies at the very early stages of their CEM journey, which they define as ‘Novices’ and ‘Collectors’. Essentially, if a company wants to gather feedback about your recent interaction with them, it is most likely they will collect this information via one of the more traditional, low volume and low insight methods.

In this case, it’s also likely that the process is taking place in isolation across each of the different touch points and that a customer is in danger of being surveyed multiple times during a short period of time by one organization. What then happens with the results of these surveys will also be variable, as our Novices and Collectors in general haven’t yet reached the stage of closely linking their feedback results to strategic or operational decisions.

At the other end of the scale, and sadly in the minority, are those companies who have a much more sophisticated program to understand the customer experience. They are able to understand and act on, in real time, interactions across channels while simultaneously having a holistic understanding of the whole journey. Temkin™ defines these as ‘Collaborators’ and ‘Transformers’.

So given this delta, what’s the possible effect on consumers? In my view, it’s increasing survey fatigue due to the ‘immature’ state of CEM maturity.

I’ve participated in a number of surveys which were both onerous on my time and also extremely detached from the actual interaction. And, there are plenty of similar examples that I’ve seen on various blogs, tweets and online forums. The following quotes suitably summarize the inherent themes:

"I can't remember the last time I bought a fast-food hamburger or a sandwich without seeing a request for a survey on the receipt. I don't always have that much to say about a purchase."

“Most surveys are so vague that it's impossible to see how they could ever be of any use. I also wonder whether companies are even listening.”

You will notice that one of the negative themes mentioned here is that customers perceive a lack of follow up or an absence of action being taken once their feedback is given. Hence, our strong recommendation to clients is to demonstrate to customers how you have reacted to their feedback, and to be transparent about any changes you have made.

As measuring customer experience has increased in importance, many organizations have begun to survey customers as a knee jerk reaction. But this is largely missing the point and ultimately offers little value. Customer experience measurement must be relevant to the customer and enable them to say what is important to them about a certain experience. Sticking a generic 20-question survey on a till receipt just doesn’t cut it.

Customer feedback and insight will continue to be important when gathered at a robust and actionable level; and what we will see in the coming years is the shrinking of the gap between the novices and the collaborators.

To learn more about creating effective CEM strategies, join us at the 2013 NICE VoC Forum taking place in London on June 11th.  

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