CEM gains traction as business differentiator
CEM concerns have risen to near the top of the priority lists of communications service providers. What many have considered an operational backwater in recent years has become a central focus as competition increases and things like churn, retention and loyalty take centre stage. The reason is the need to provide differentiated value based on something other than offering a commoditized service or product at a more attractive price.
The Internet has changed the buyer/seller relationship in profound ways as sellers have access to better and real-time information. What this means in simple marketing terms is that if you want me you literally need to romance me, i.e., provide an overall experience that is so compelling I will be attracted to what you have to sell and could even be converted to an advocate if you delight me.
With all of this in mind, Alcatel-Lucent and Heavy Reading decided it would be a great idea to ask 75 service providers around the world about their feelings and commitments to CEM. They delved into the challenges and opportunities of improving customer experience management as a strategic differentiator, and the findings of their efforts are now available for consideration. The need is acknowledged and spending is on the rise
The survey was sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent’s Market and Consumer Insight (MCI) Program. It quantifies and ranks the CEM elements service providers deem most important. It provides detailed insights into the drivers and barriers they perceive, as well as the solutions they require and the strategies they have in mind to excel in CEM.
Key findings include:
- CEM investment increasing: Two-thirds of respondents expecting to increase next year’s expenditures in this area.
- CEM is seen as opportunity for differentiation: More than 75 percent indicated improved CEM provides an opportunity to attract new business, and two-thirds agree it could improve their brand image and nearly 60 percent were confident it will provide competitive differentiation.
- Common customer satisfaction metrics being measured: While CEM-related metrics are clearly valuable to service providers (e.g., customer satisfaction, network and service availability), the study shows that there is a strong desire to take measurements more frequently — with 75 percent agreeing that measuring their top five metrics more often would have a significant impact on their ability to deliver a superior customer experience.
- Widespread agreement on activities influencing CEM: Respondents agreed on several ‘bread and butter’ activities that impact the customer experience. Nearly 90 percent cited the importance of answering customer queries and resolving problems in a timely fashion. Other activities (such as prioritizing network quality of service based on the value of an individual customer) are seen as relatively less important.
- Barriers to CEM implementation remain: When asked about potential barriers to implementing CEM, more than 50 percent half listed difficulty in securing cross-organizational cooperation. Almost half of respondents saw poor data quality as the second-to-top barrier.
The tale of the tape is in two interesting charts from the study. The first one looks at the view of the drivers for CEM investment. Not surprisingly, quick response tops the list, followed closely by having an order filled promptly and filled correctly.