CRMs are essential management tools for sales, business development, and account management teams. They log the history of interactions between an organization and its potential and existing customers. Teams utilize them to inform themselves of the context surrounding, for instance, a customer’s purchase history, so that they might be better prepared to present new opportunities and products to that customer, based on their prior experience and needs. They were purpose-built for helping organizations bring in and realize more revenue, and they are incredible, invaluable tools.
Nobody is here to knock the CRM. What we critique, though, is the practice of foisting it upon teams that it is not suited for - namely, Implementations, Success, Support, and other highly operational teams. Business Development focused teams have time to prepare for their interactions with clients, and so the structure and simplicity of the CRM works well for them. Operational teams need to be agile, working with clients in the here and now to get things set up and get problems solved. Having these teams use rigid structures wherein they have to search around for information and then switch back to email, chat, or a phone call is inefficient and not well suited to their needs.
In spite of the above critique, we do not think that the solution is to reinvent the wheel. We propose a solution that would not supplant the CRM entirely, considering that these operational teams are already using them. Our suggestion, rather, is that organizations employ the use of a CXM Layer (aka an Orchestration Layer) that would make the data that already exists in the CRMs more useful. A CRM overlay, if you will, that will allow operational client-facing teams to work more efficiently, delivering excellent customer experiences along the way.
Support, Success, Implementations and Operations depend on being able to know everything about a given customer’s situation in an instant. That means knowing about their customer history, their product history, and anything having to do with third parties. As a result, diving into a storehouse of information and searching for the right answers can be taxing, stressful, and a waste of time. Taking the effort out of that process is what implementing an Orchestration Layer is all about - moving teams from pulling information, to having it pushed to them.
CRMs are good for managing customer relationships because they are used by teams that interact with customers on a long-term, relationship driven basis. The Account Managers and Salespeople that use them know their clients on a first name basis, and have fostered a degree of patience and trust in that relationship over a long period of time. Support and Success team members often do not know their customers on a first name basis, but the experiences they provide to them are vital. More often than not, customers interact with these team members when things have gone awry, and so time is of the essence in every interaction. That is why they need a CXM layer - to tie together loose ends, to deliver knowledge, and to pick up where the CRM leaves off.
CXM (Customer Experience Management) is inherently different from CRM (Customer Relationship Management), but is nonetheless a vital component of maintaining customer relationships. In empowering operational teams, CXM brings CRM to life.
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