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Article : Are You CEM Fit? 8 Steps to Customer Experience Management (CEM) Gold

The contact center is the front line for delivering the brand promise. Yet a recent study by Ventana Research reveals that most contact centers are not up to delivering on that promise; they are just not able to do it consistently. If this sounds like your company, you are not alone. Much of the frustration for both agents and customers centers on the desktop and the inability to obtain a single view of the customer.

And although companies have heard the warnings about customer loyalty being the new competitive playing field, and they have a general understanding of what CEM is, they haven't yet made steps to correct it. It's much like many of our growing waistlines-we know we should make changes but we're just not sure what the first step should be.

And like our physical selves, without the proper equipment and preparation, the contact center is ill-prepared to compete for the customer, which can be detrimental to future profitability. When one bad customer experience in the contact center or website can result in losing that customer for life, the stakes have never been higher.

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The Ventana Research Executive Summary, "Improving the Consistency and Quality of Customer Interactions," lays out eight steps to get your agent desktop and contact center CEM Fit:

Increase awareness of how CEM can promote business goals - Most companies have a basic understanding of what CEM entails. The next step is proving to senior executives that CEM can improve business performance.

Assess your maturity and take steps to improve - The study assesses organizational maturity at four levels that companies can use as a benchmark for their own organization.

Invest in technologies that help you understand your customers better - A key to improving the customer experience is understanding customers and their relationship with your company.

Invest further and differently in training and coaching agents - Three of the top four factors influencing the customer experience relate directly to agents. Investments in training and agent tools like a unified agent desktop can pay huge dividends.

Consider desktop technology to help agents handle interactions more effectively - The study found that leading companies have deployed a "smart" desktop that empowers the agents and makes interactions more effective.

Review and improve customer self-service - Many websites were reported to be informational only and missing an active e-commerce aspect. Companies should capture and analyze customer experiences that occur on their websites.

Transition to an integrated, multi-channel customer service environment - Companies need to adapt to new multi-channel technologies and mobile lifestyles to communicate in their customers' preferred channels.

Create a single view of the customer -Most organizations were found to have too many sources and types of customer data to be able to bring it together in a useful form. Consider products that deliver a comprehensive view of the customer.

Following these eight steps is a great start to getting your contact center CEM fit and making the contact center a strategic part of your business. As far as your own physical fitness, see your physician first and set achievable goals. You'll want to be around a long time to see the results of your successful CEM project!

About Randy Saunders:
Randy Saunders is the Marketing Director for Cincom’s Customer Experience Management products, with more than 25 years experience working with partners, Fortune 1000 and small-to-medium-sized businesses. Previously Randy has held marketing, sales and management positions at BusinessLabs, Gannett, SmartStar, and The Kroger Company.

About Cincom:
Company LogoCincom Systems delivers software and services to simplify complex business processes. For more than 43 years, we have empowered thousands of clients worldwide to outperform their competition by providing ways to increase revenue, control cost, minimize risk, and achieve rapid ROI.
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Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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