A guide to Customer Experience Management

Get the guide

Learn what key areas to focus on when investing in customer experience management.

Download the Customer Experience Management Guide

Customer experience will either make or break a business and is, therefore, one of the most essential parts of any business. For customers, it can be the deciding factor between choosing a service provider or going to their competitor. Investing in customer experience management is vital for all companies in all markets, and here's why.


What is Customer Experience Management?

Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is becoming one of the key differentiators for any brand. Businesses that ignore investing in customer experience management struggle to survive, which is becoming more apparent than ever. Customers have come to expect more than a transaction from the companies they choose to interact with. They expect a positive experience. It is important to understand what customer experience is, what impacts it, and how it affects a business to be able to evaluate what improvements can be made to enhance customer experience and elevate your business.

Providing excellent customer experience is vital for all businesses, and some of the top reasons businesses choose to invest in customer experience management are:

  • To improve customer satisfaction
  • To improve customer retention and loyalty
  • To increase selling opportunities and revenue

Definition of Customer Experience vs. Customer Experience Management

Customer experience is the resulting impression of how well the buying experience was and how well the business was able to fulfill the customer’s need, building on all the interactions a customer has with a business when attaining a service or product.

Customer experience management is a selection of customer-centric strategies developed from understanding customer needs and deployed across the organization with the goal to nurture customers and elevate their satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

The Benefits of Customer Experience Management

Actively working with customer experience management benefits businesses in multiple ways, but most importantly, it helps them grow and stay in business.

Some of the key benefits of customer experience management are:

  • Helps businesses increase customer satisfaction and staff satisfaction.
  • Increases customer loyalty and retention.
  • Increases sales growth.
  • Strengthens brand reputation on the market and amongst customers.
  • Reduces service costs and enhances operational efficiency.

Customers who are happy with you and your product or service are more likely to return and recommend you to others via reviews and word-of-mouth. A good customer experience can even make customers willing to pay more for a product or service instead of going to a cheaper option at a competitor.

It’s hard to think of a business that does not benefit from having a great customer experience. The competition is increasing in all markets every day with newer and better options, so sticking out from the crowd and providing excellent customer care will help in the long run. Easily put, if your customers like you, they will choose you over someone else.

What Makes a Great Customer Experience?

Excellent customer experience is built on positive interactions with a brand in all instances, for example, the ability to easily connect through multiple channels, easy-to-use self-service options, well-targeted marketing offers, and rewards on loyalty. Customers’ demands are increasing as their lifestyles and work patterns become more challenging, putting pressure on businesses to provide seamless experiences throughout the whole customer journey that fit new consumer behaviors. Businesses need to be flexible and investigate what pain points their customer may be facing in order to provide solutions or processes that make their buying journey smoother and easier. Investing in customer experience management and actively working with it will help businesses to stay on top of changing customer expectations.

Some customer expectations that are consistent but may be expressed or designed differently from time to time are:

  • A smooth buying process and easy accessibility to the service or product.
  • An efficient customer journey that values their time.
  • Easy-to-use technologies that help them through the buying process.
  • Pleasant interactions with knowledgeable and resourceful staff that help them get the service or product efficiently.
  • Clarity and transparency in communication.

How to Improve Customer Experience

The first step to improve customer experience is, you have to get to know your customers and identify the key touchpoints along your customer journey, both in real life and online. Reimagining your customer journey can simply be broken down into three steps.

  1. Observation and analysis
  2. Ideation and remodeling
  3. Execution and evaluation

Observation and Analysis

Evaluation of the current state is a first step to identifying what your customer’s journey looks like today, what aspects bring value to them, what needs are being fulfilled, and what is missing. This way, you are able to identify the touchpoints in your customer journey and what strengths and weaknesses it has while gaining a deeper understanding of what your customers are looking for and what needs are yet to be fulfilled. Laying the foundation on how to improve customer experience. 

Ideation and Remodeling

With a newly gained understanding of what customer needs are to be fulfilled or how the customer journey can become more efficient and according to the customer’s wishes, the ideation and remodeling part of reconstructing the customer journey begins. Discovering new solutions or adjusting current processes into new formats, even with minor alterations, can significantly improve the customer experience and result in an elevated customer journey.

Execution and Evaluation

Executing the reshaped customer journey and its solutions, designed with a more customer-centric approach, is a vital task that could include several teams and whole departments across the business. It is an essential step to initiate customer experience management and setting the foundation for actively improving customer experiences. Ensuring all internal stakeholders are informed and aware of the new goals and strategy will create a collective force between departments.

Once the strategy and selected solutions are implemented, it is equally important to establish a process to gather customer and staff feedback to perfect and adjust the new strategy. Evaluating the strategy once it is in place will enable businesses to see whether the solution had the thought-out outcome and if enhancements are needed to fit the operations and purpose better.

With everything in place, this is where the actual work of customer experience management comes into role. Like any other strategy, it needs to remain alive and be actively worked on for it to work and show results.

Customer Experience Trends

Customer experience trends can vary from industry to industry, but some general trends are relevant across many businesses. When investing in customer experience management, it is critical to consider a holistic view and include what trends dominate the market to be flexible and meet new customer expectations that may come with them. That way, your efforts to improve customer experience are likely to be more effective.

Some examples of more consistent trends are:

  • Personalization: Customizing the customer experience to the individual customer is becoming more important. This can include using customer data to tailor recommendations, using the customer's name in communications, and offering a more customized service.
  • Omnichannel experiences: Customers expect to be able to connect with businesses through a variety of channels, including in-person, online, and via mobile devices. Ensuring a consistent experience across all channels is critical.
  • Self-service options: Many customers prefer to find answers to their questions and solve problems independently rather than contacting customer service. Providing self-service options, such as online knowledge bases and chatbots, can help improve the customer experience.
  • Convenience: Customers value convenience and appreciate businesses that make it easy to shop, make purchases, and get support. This can include offering mobile apps, easy-to-use websites, and flexible delivery and return options.
  • Social media: Social media is an important platform for customer service and can be used to resolve issues, gather feedback, and build brand loyalty.
  • Customer feedback: Gathering and responding to customer feedback is crucial for improving the customer experience. This can be done through surveys, social media, and other channels.

How to Measure Customer Experience

Customer experience is a subjective perception that is unique for each customer, and measuring it is vital for evaluating how successful your customer experience management is. Since customer experience is subjective, it is essential to break it down into more general categories to understand what type of data is helpful in your efforts to enhance your customer experience management. It is important to set up suitable methods where you can collect the needed data based on its nature and consider in which format it can be collected.

So, the key question to answer is, how do you measure customer experience and how can you collect data about it?

Collect Customer Feedback with Surveys and On-prem Solutions

Allowing your customers to send their feedback to you after their interactions is a valuable measurement tool to collect hands-on information of your customer experience from the primary source itself. Sending an online survey to your customers after they have attained your services or products gives them the opportunity to express how their customer journey was and where improvements can be made to enhance their experience. Furthermore, asking your customers what they think adds value to your customer experience as it projects an interest from you as a business to hear their thoughts and show that their feedback is valuable.

Customer surveys can be carried out through online surveys, simple on-site questionnaires with yes or no options, or more complex in-person interviews. For example, you can ask your customers how they feel about your products or services, your level of service, delivery times, how helpful the staff was, or anything else necessary to your business and the customer journey.

Identify Why Customers Choose You

Asking your customers why they chose your services or bought products from you and whether they are first-time buyers or returning customers is an excellent way to collect data about your market position and customer loyalty. Analyzing how these numbers fluctuate through time and keeping a close conversation with your customers to understand what brings value to them will provide you with the needed intelligence on what your strengths are and how you can maintain a stronghold of delivering a good customer experience.

Create a Forum for Customer Suggestions

Allowing your customers to submit ideas to make your offering more valuable actively is another way of collecting data, where it's angled to collecting ideas for improving customer experience. This enables your customers to be a part of the process and helps you improve customer experience, especially in the ideation part of how your business can enhance operations to be more customer-centric.

When customer ideas are collected, you can also identify request patterns and see which improvements are more urgent to implement than others. In some scenarios, you may even realize that a specific idea generated by the internal team to enhance customer experience isn’t necessarily seen as an issue from your customer's perspective, and you can focus on other ideas.

Analyze Support Data

Analyzing the support tickets could provide insightful data if you have a customer support ticketing system. Looking for recurring topics, review the possible reasons for those hiccups, and find ways to solve or avoid them. It will help decrease the number of tickets and provide a more enjoyable customer experience where your customers don’t need to come back with complications.

Practical Examples of How to Improve Customer Experience

Provide a Seamless Customer Experience - Online and Offline

Customers expect an excellent experience with seamless service and support at every interaction in their customer journey. Online as well as offline.

An excellent place to start improving customer experiences and establishing customer experience management is by making a customer journey map to understand the entire customer journey and where interactive touchpoints exist. When you know every touchpoint your customers have with your brand, you can focus on making each one of those touchpoints a positive experience and enhance it by removing any obstacles or inefficiencies.

Taking it one step further, using a customer journey management system helps you manage the customer experience before, during, and after services have been provided. Stretching from appointment booking and arrival to service or product delivery, supporting errands, and collecting customer feedback after purchase.

Understand and Manage Customer’s Expectations

A big part of successful customer experience management is understanding your customers' expectations. Their subjective view of your business is influenced by previous experiences with you and other similar companies, outbound communication, reviews, and word of mouth. Understanding how customer expectations are expressed in your industry and how they form and change over time is a great way to manage them and pinpoint how you can improve your customer experience.

Lack of clarity or absence in communication has been widely cited as an issue that negatively affects the customer experience. To help manage customer expectations, always ensure that the communication you provide is clear, honest, and frequent with updates. For example, use a language and tone of voice appropriate for your customers, train service agents and staff appropriately, and communicate expected wait times and other important customer information in real-time with messaging services and digital signage.

Offer Flexibility and Easy Access to Services

Customers value easy, fast, and personalized interactions with businesses that are accessible whenever they need it or offer the flexibility to attain the service or product according to their convenience. In many industries, we have come to identify an expectation for a multitude of channels where customers want and should be able to interact with your brand at a time that suits them best.

For example, an appointment scheduling system gives your customers easy access to your services anywhere at any time and the flexibility to book appointments without being limited by office hours or having to wait on the phone.

Provide Frequent Updates and Clear Communication

Clear and frequent communication with your customers is one of the best ways to improve customer experience when provided with information that will make their customer journey transparent and smooth. It is an effective way to avoid the uncertainty amongst customers when they are unaware of, e.g., how long they have to wait until they are served, which queue they should enter to get needed help, and other relevant customer information. Clear communication is greatly appreciated by customers and will add value to your customer experience management efforts.

Keeping customers informed every step of the customer journey with regular updates by using messaging services or digital signages are easy-to-use tools that can be accessible both on-premises and online through mobile phones. Providing information, even with short messages, lets your customers know what to expect, gives them a sense of control, and helps create smooth transitions between each interactive touchpoint.

Reduce Perceived and Actual Wait Times

Improving customers waiting times by implementing self-service kiosks, appointment scheduling systems, and virtual queuing are great ways to improve the customer experience. No one likes waiting, and it is a step in the customer journey that creates no value for the customer. So, reducing the wait times and improving the communication of how long customers have to wait until they get assistance will positively affect the perceived and actual waiting time.

Including technical solutions such as an online appointment scheduling system and self-service kiosks in your customer experience management helps streamline your customer flows and reduce the actual wait time when resource allocation is optimized to meet customer demands. These solutions also help relieve pressure off your staff when customer flows are handled controllably. Combining appointment scheduling and self-service kiosks with digital signages helps you to communicate queuing progression. It allows your customers to see when it’s their turn or if their request has started to be handled by your staff yet.

Virtual queueing solutions, such as a Mobile Ticket, enable your customers to wait wherever they want, enter a virtual queue instead of a physical one, and track their progression comfortably on their phone.

Equip Your Staff with Customer Information

When working with customer experience management, it is important to remember your staff and what they need to provide excellent customer care. Giving your staff easy-to-use tools to manage customer flows and service requests plays an essential part in their effort to assist your customers in the best possible way.

Using Qmatic’s customer journey management system, you can equip your staff with specialized apps easily accessible on a tablet or mobile phone, connecting and integrating your staff to the customer journey. Not only will you equip your staff to obtain customer information before calling them up and helping them fulfill your customers’ needs and provide excellent service, but you will also allow your staff to become more efficient.

Address Customer Feedback

Your customers' feedback is the most valuable source of information on how you can improve customer experience, and implementing a customer feedback solution is key to collecting such data. Without the insights of your customers, it will be challenging to observe where in the customer journey improvements can be made and understand for what reasons.

Using customer feedback in your analysis and suggested solutions will allow your strategies to be on point from an earlier stage, giving you more value from your investments. But it will also be the source of information that is most useful for continuously adjusting your operations and enhancing them according to how customer demands and expectations change throughout time.

Continuously Analyze Your Business and Be Dynamic

In business, nothing is set in stone. What was a successful strategy this year might not be the case the following year. The market and customer demands are dynamic, and by understanding this, you know your strategy needs to be flexible too, and you always need to observe your internal operations and surroundings. For this reason, flexibility and adaptability are two crucial points of customer experience management.

Integrating business intelligence tools across your business to observe the customer journey and your customer expectations can help you obtain actionable insights that will help you meet new demands and amplify your processes. This type of intelligence helps you remove sudden frictions in the customer journey and gives you powerful insights into how the market and customer behaviors are changing and how they may affect your business. Thus giving you the upper hand and the tools needed to adjust your internal strategies and operations according to how your performance data is changing.


If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of customer experience management, you can download our free guide and see how it can be applied to your business.


Get the free guide! Your complete guide to Customer Experience Management.

Download the Customer Experience Management Guide