So you’ve decided to establish or scale up your customer experience program. You are keenly aware that customer experience will make or break your business. After all, it’s the only real way to stand out from the competition. You’re geared up and start researching customer experience management (Also called CXM) platforms. You ask around. You search on google. The more research you do, the more confused you get. The truth is, there are a ton of CXM solutions in the market right now. Most are indistinguishable from each other. The generalized ‘top 5 CXM solutions of 2022’ lists offer no help. How can one solution- even if it’s the most famous one- be right for businesses of ALL sizes across ALL industries? So we’ve put together this guide to show you how to choose the right CXM solution for your business.
How to choose a customer experience management solution?
Step 1- Identify your goal and problem statement
Step 2- Determine the type of solution needed
Step 3- Get Management Buy-in
Step 4- Evaluate the features required.
Step 5- Check Pricing
Step 6- Speak with an existing client/user
Step 7- Pilot with one paid project
Let’s dive into these, one by one.
Step 1: Set goals for your CXM program
What is your objective behind obtaining feedback?
This is the most important question. Your goal behind obtaining feedback will dictate the system, features, and support you need.
At Numr, we believe that the end goal of any CXM program is to boost revenue. However, it’s important to identify micro goals to help you improve your bottom line with CX data.
- Are you trying to create a customer-first approach in your company?
- Are you trying to identify why your customers aren’t renewing their subscriptions?
- Do you want to discover problem areas that are making your customers angry and frustrated?
- Have you identified issues at a vital touchpoint and want deeper insights to solve them?
- Do you want to establish and monitor your customer satisfaction trend so you can improve your experience year-on-year?
- Are you planning on becoming an industry leader with a record-breaking NPS/C-Sat score?
Once you’ve identified your goal (or goals), the next steps will become clear.
Step 2 – Determine the type of solution you require
To figure out what type of CXM program is right for your business, think about this question.
How will you use the insights gathered from the program?
To understand what kind of CX program you need, you need to understand how people would use that program.
A good CXM solution will give you tons of useful insights for all important touchpoints. To turn these insights into action, you’ll need to involve your operations and customer support teams. So, before you vet CXM solutions, figure out what you’ll do with the insights gathered. Are you willing to rally your operations and support teams to turn them into strategies that’ll boost profits? Will you only use them to benchmark? Will you use them to improve overall efficiency?
Remember, customer experience management is not a data-collection exercise.
- how different departments would use the program daily, and
- what their analytical needs would look like
Here’s an example of what this would look like-
While you’re doing this, also ask yourself questions like,
- Do I/my team know the right questions to ask in the feedback surveys?
- Can I/my team handle all the analytics required internally?
- How often will I be presenting to management?
- Do I need help in creating KPI?
Once you do this exercise, you’ll have a fair idea of the features and external support you require. Your CXM partner will step in and fill the gaps when you can’t do something in-house.
Step 3- Generate management buy-in
We intuitively understand that a good customer experience is good for business. But how can you quantify the business impact of measuring and improving customer experience?
As Blake Morgan, a CX futurist points out,
“to showcase the ROI of customer experience, changemakers need to connect money and data to key aspects of the customer journey.”
This means, before you approach management, you need to define how you’re measuring success for your CXM program.
To generate leadership buy-in, your plan should contain the following elements.
- Success criteria. For example, what is your north star metric?
- The support you will require from other departments. Such as-customer support for calling back customers, participation of account managers to increase survey response rate, and more.
- How frequently will you share results and next steps with your whole team?
- The budget for the program and the support you require
Note- Your success criteria are the most important element of your plan. Make sure that it’s realistic and achievable.
Step 4- Evaluate the features you require in a CXM program
Some businesses may only require data segmenting and analysis in Excel. Others may have more sophisticated needs. Some can probably work with a self-serve CXM solution while others may need a team of dedicated consultants.
Before you take demos from multiple vendors, create a checklist of your requirements. Decide which requirements take priority and which requirements are good-to-haves. Score each vendor based on them.
The right CXM program for you depends on-
- features you want
- program management support you require
- depth of insights
- Ability to predict churn, and more
However, there are some features that every CXM solution in 2023 must-have.
Must-have features of a CXM solution
- Multichannel feedback collection
- Omnichannel Customer Journey Mapping tools
- Advanced segmentation, analytics, and insights
- Real-time, dynamic dashboards
- Alert management system for close looping
- Easy integration with existing tech
Multichannel feedback collection
Customers interact with a business across several different channels (social media, mobile, physical store), sometimes all in a single day.
A good CXM solution must be able to capture feedback at all these touchpoints.
Omnichannel customer journey mapping
A customer journey is never linear. A good CXM solution must have advanced customer journey mapping tools that can monitor behavior across the entire journey, at an individual and an overall level.
Advanced segmentation, analytics, and insights
A CXM solution in 2023 must come with AI capabilities that empower CX teams to predict customer behavior, churn, revenue, and much more. They should allow for advanced segmentation and personalization.
Real-time, dynamic dashboards
A good solution must allow companies to view customer feedback and insights in a clear, easy-to-understand manner in real-time. To prevent silos, everyone should have access to the information they need to excel at their part.
Dashboards with data visualizations that reveal the most critical and relevant information are non-negotiable when vetting a CXM solution in 2023.
Alert management for close looping
None of the CX insights matter if you can’t put them into action. Your CXM solution must be able to send you automated alerts whenever a customer has a bad experience across any physical or digital touchpoint. So look for CXM solutions that offer alert management for customer recovery.
You can learn how to built a perfect closed-loop system in our blog here.
Easy integration with existing tech
Customer experience tools rarely work in isolation. solutions. Look for CXM solutions that will easily integrate with your existing CRM and other processes. For example, Numr’s APIs and webhooks make integration quick and seamless.
Side Note- Here is a vendor selection worksheet for you. You can download it here.
Use this worksheet to do a technical evaluation of the programs before you consider the price.
Step 5- Check Pricing
CXM programs can range from $1200/year to over $1,000,000/year.
Once you know the features and support you require, it’s easier to find a CXM program that fits your budget.
When it comes to pricing, no two vendors price their programs the same way. You’ll need to do the comparison on your own. To makes things easier for you, three main components affect pricing-
- Licensing and hosting
- Setup and configuration
- Consulting or added support
Licensing and hosting
- Integrations with your systems
- Number of users allowed on the system
- Amount of send-outs you can do
- Amount of survey responses you can receive
- The number of admin (creator) licenses you require, etc
Usually, there is a limit on these numbers. You can negotiate these in your contract or upgrade your program if required.
Setup and Configuration
This is the one-time cost for setting up the system. If you opt for a simple SaaS solution that you can configure on your own, the setup cost will be minimal (if any). Usually, the more complex the requirement is, the higher the setup cost will be.
Complex requirements = customized solution = high setup cost.
So when you’re vetting CXM programs, ask questions like
- If I want to add a new survey, can I do it myself? If I ask the vendor to do it for me, what would they charge?
- What if I want a new report?
- Can I manage (add and remove) users on my own?
- Can you help me import historic data into the system? Would there be a charge for it?
Discuss these questions to understand the additional cost of add-on services you may require in the future.
The pricing of CXM programs can massively vary based on whether they provide a dedicated consultant or not. This brings us back to a previous point- understand your requirement. Figure out if you would need dedicated support from your vendor to run a successful CXM program.
Step 6- Speak with an existing client
These are some of the questions you should be asking an existing client before you jump in.
- How involved was the vendor in onboarding your system?
- How long did it take to set up the integrations with your systems?
- How many days did it take from signing the contract to sending the first survey?
- Did the vendor help you in identifying insights?
- Did they constantly monitor the process and tweak requirements based on new feedback?
- What kind of support are they providing- data scientists, program managers, developers, etc?
Step 7- Paid Pilot
Once you’ve selected the best CXM program for your business, run a paid pilot with them for one touchpoint. This will show you what kind of insights you can expect from the vendor and will help you to move forward with complete confidence.
Setting up the success criteria for the pilot:
- Which programs are going to go live?
- What kind of integrations are we going to test?
- How many emails are we planning to send out?
- What kind of response rate are we expecting to see?
- How many people are going to view the reports?
- What mechanism are we going to implement for close lopping?
Once you have the answers to these questions, we will know exactly what to expect. Being prepared and knowing what to ask is often half the battle in getting to the right answer.
These steps (although extensive) will set you up for guaranteed success.
Something extra to consider - Speed of execution
How fast can your vendor get the CXM program up and running?
If a CXM solution is too complicated to implement, it might be best to consider an easier solution. Getting the program off the ground quickly is incredibly important. Once the problem has shown promise, improvements can be done on top of it.
Customer experience is becoming more and more important every single day. McKinsey’s 2022 State of Customer Care Survey found that improving customer experience is the fastest-growing priority area for CX leaders.
By choosing a customer experience management solution that is the right fit for your business and goals, you can ensure that you thrive in the global market.
Looking for a CXM partner who’ll help you every step of the way? Contact us and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you.