Adopt Quality CEM, Gain Long-Term Market Advantage



Cory Bennett
05/31/2011

Hank Brigman doesn’t appear old enough to say this, but when dealing with the "infant"
discipline of customer experience management, it seems feasible.

"When I started in this discipline, it didn’t even have a name," said Brigman, author of
Touchpoint Power! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint. Brigman,
one of the first to establish the concept of "touchpoints" – channels that connect
customers to companies – led a workshop at this year’s 3rd Annual Customer Experience
Summit. It was titled, "Customer-centricity as the Differentiator: Delivering Value
Across Touchpoints and Channels."

Now, companies are realizing the need for and value of providing quality customer
experience across all touchpoints, pre- and post-purchase. And the opportunity is there
for early adopters to secure a long-term lead in customer experience management (CEM),
generating millions of additional dollars in sales.

"There’s an understanding of need to, but no understanding of how to," Brigman said,
adding that when he speaks, the room can rarely get into double digits naming truly
customer-centric companies. "There’s a need-to, how-to gap that the discipline is slowly
seeking to fill."

The disciplines of sales, management and marketing are all entrenched in colleges and
certificate programs. Proper language and processes are well established. CEM is a
newcomer on the scene – six or seven years by Brigman’s estimation. And it’s "going
to be measured more in decades than in years" before CEM joins the pantheon of sales,
management and marketing.

"The convergence in the change in the worldwide economic scenario coupled with the
implementation of social media … combined to help organizations to recognize and see
the need," Brigman said.

Those companies that commit now will have "enormous benefits," though.

"Nowadays with social media, the differentiators and early adopters will be self-evident,"
Brigman said. "Unlike technology early adopters that are paying more for a short-lvied
benefit, I think those that truly engage customer experience management and bake it
in and build the competencies as part of their core DNA are going to see a long-term
competitive advantage."

But truly embracing CEM means committing to the concept of "valued touchpoints," –
a standardized interaction that is customer-centric, while advancing the organization’s
values, identity and strategy.

"The need to be great across all your interactions with customers," he explained.

Brigman didn’t understand why quality initiatives, such as Six Sigma, were mostly
applied to internal efficiencies, not externally to customer interactions. And with the

advent of social media, there are more touchpoints than ever, requiring a shift in the
approach to CEM.

"We have historically looked at sales as a funnel," Brigman said. "We have a lot of
people at the beginning and we whittle them down to the ones that end up buying. I view
marketing now more as an hour glass. We need to market to get down to those that buy.
Now we need to continue to market to them because they are going to continue to create
voice. We need to help plant the messages we want them to communicate."

To finish the workshop, Brigman pulled up a large spreadsheet to show that a simple
one-point increase in a company’s New Promoter Score (a common customer experience
metric) can generate additional revenue in the range of millions and billions of dollars.

"I love to tell boards that," Brigman said in an excited whisper. How to get that score up
remains the trick, with the post-purchase touchpoints critical to CEM success.

"Good marketing can help shape that post-purchase word of mouth and that’s a new
frontier for marketing that customer experience management will be working hand-in-
hand with."

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