CEM: The new way of business

Gemba walk your way to customer conversations from your board room with Customer
Experience Management (CEM)

One of the interesting exercises we were trained to do as senior leaders at DHL (during my long stint there) was the Gemba Walk. Simply put, it was “being on the floor, in the field where the action was”. Finding the time to talk to customers, talking to employees every week of the year was part of the rigour. I have always found that there is no greater joy in business than being on that shop floor or among your customers. The learning was still anecdotal, though richly insightful.

I am jealous of business leaders today. CEM (Customer Experience Management) Technology is making it easy for them. Some call CEM the future of CRM, but I think it is the new way of business. A combination of smart phone penetration, mobile HTML, improving bandwidth, cloud and API integrations have given a perfect launch pad for businesses.

The CEM platforms today allows managers, across hierarchy in the organization to their areas of control, to listen and converse, real-time with at least 10% of your customers through contextual conversations.

The power of this, is incredible. These conversations deliver actionable insights that are beyond anecdotal. And not just customers, employees and other stakholders too. It is all real-time and made simple.

And exciting part about this change, is that your consumers are most keen. Unfortunately, if you don’t have your CEM in place, quite often the conversation moves to the social media, And social media has become unfortunately a venting ground for grievances – and you have probably lost the case once the ‘argument’ happens in public – high noise value, no insight benefit either.
Through our research, it is clear that over 60-80% of consumers are willing to co-create and participate in contextual conversations. They are understandably tired of the spam that the one-way campaign world has triggered.

Most companies design their systems and processes inside-out, mostly inadvertently. When you listen to consumers about their experience directly, you create a ‘outside-in’ viewpoint. Anecdotal evidence simply does not cut it. These experiences, in turn should influence the kind of interactions and therefore the procedures, policies and the systems – not the other way around.
Over 85% of the 30 million conversations that we have enabled have been positive. They tell you what they are missing in the store, what will make them buy more, what is in their electronics buying wish list in the next 6 months and all that relevant stuff that moves your business forward.
Next time a notification comes on your phone, make sure it is that of your consumer moving your business forward.

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Ramesh Natarajan

Ramesh is an entrepreneur & executive with over 25 years of experience globally in customer management, sales & marketing and research across industries. He is the former VP & CEO, DHL Express. Alumnus of IIT Bombay, IIFT New Delhi. He can be contacted on ramesh@litmusworld.com
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