Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Opinion Blog: CRM vs CEM

The blog of this week is a bit different from our usual content. We want to know your opinion on one of the trending topics in the CRM field, Customer Experience Management (CEM). SAP is emphasizing more and more on CEM in the 360 Customer offering. But what is CEM exactly and what makes it different from CRM?

This is the first blog post on this topic in a number of blogs to come in which we want to discuss the added value of CEM, the differences with the ‘traditional’ CRM approach and the practical translation to solutions in SAP CRM.
Let’s start with the definition. The customer experience is the sum of all experiences, feelings, emotions a customer has with a supplier of products or services, over the duration of full customer life cycle. This customer life cycle can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. 

In other words, how does the customer or prospect experience our service and sales offerings and, in general terms, our company? CEM intentionally tries to direct these experiences across all touch points with your company. At the same time, CEM is not an exact science. Customer experience is emotion and emotions are controlled by differentiating factors as personal or business preferences, environment, market, culture, trends, etc.

Many of the goals of CEM are quite similar to the ones expressed at the rise of CRM. Similarities between CRM and CEM are most certainly there. The exact position and, more importantly, the difference between the two is explained by the opinion of a CEM expert:

Bernd Schmitt: “Where CRM is enterprise-focused and designed to manage customers for maximum efficiency, CEM is a strategy that focuses the operations and processes of a business around the needs of the individual customer.”

In summary, CEM and CRM are strongly related and may well be in the same area of expertise. CRM aims to service the customer in the most efficient way, often in a rational approach. In contrary, CEM has the focus on the customer perspective, resulting to make an impact on the customer emotion.  How does the customer feel about our company and what experience do we want to provide to our customers?

Interesting approach and in a way we think CEM starts off where CRM has finished. It could well be that a CEM approach will finally uncover the full potential of your SAP CRM implementation. As a start, we would like to see if a CEM based strategy can be translated into practical solutions in (preferably) our existing SAP environment. CEM related topics to come in this blog will deal with these practical solutions like the customer journey, the Net Promotor Score, multi-channel support, Social CRM, etc.

We are very interested in your opinion. What do you think about CEM? And if we think about practical solutions, how can we translate CEM into practical SAP solutions?