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While I was designing the post-bachelor Customer Experience Management course recently, I received feedback from one of the market reviewers: make sure your students clearly understand the difference between CRM (customer relationship management), CEM (customer experience management) and CCM (contact center management).

That sounded like a nice challenge to me, and a relevant comment, so I’d like to share my vision on the difference and cohesion between these three.

State of mind

Aside from the factual differences, I get the feeling that the people in the three fields really do differ from each other.

Nine times out of ten, if I explain CEM while lecturing CRM people, they start to lose interest.

I’ve found them to quickly assume that CEM has nothing to do with their discipline.

Yet the CCM people react completely the opposite: they breathe a sigh of relief because they feel that they are CEM and are finally being heard.

Neither is completely true as far as I’m concerned.

The CRM people should embrace more CEM in their own field, while the CCM people need to understand that CEM is much more than simply CCM, and the CEM people would do well to recognize the cohesion with CRM and CCM.

The differences

In my opinion, a brief description of the three concepts is as follows:

  • CRM: increasing the value (in dollars) per customer, by smartly applying customer data in order to increase the return on your marketing and sales efforts.
  • CEM: improving the customer’s experience, by taking a truly customer-centric view of the end-to-end services in order to increase satisfaction/CES/NPS while at the same time improving efficiency.
  • CCM: appropriate management of ‘the moments of truth’; the moment at which the customer seeks contact with the organization (online or off-line), through the right combination of experience and information in that contact moment.

They truly are three different disciplines therefore, each with their own expertise.

Effective operation of a contact center has totally different requirements to the design of a good marketing and/or sales campaign.

And in turn, that is completely different to integerally designing your end-to-end services on the basis of the customer experience journey, which involves both that marketing campaign and that customer contact, but in which all other company departments also play a role.

The connection

What a pity that there are a number of walls between these three fields.

“CRM never comes to the contact center to listen to us”, CCM complains.

“CEM is always moaning about experience, but I’ve got conversion and sales targets to achieve”, CRM complains.

“CRM and CCM only care about their own targets, and don’t believe me to be important”, CEM complains.

Yet they can achieve such wonderful synergy if these three disciplines can reinforce one another.

In the contact moment, CCM can convert all CEM and CRM input directly into results: think in terms of employee empathy in a conversation, to give optimum customer experience, and the most relevant offer on the customer’s screen, which can be directly used for maximum conversion.

The insights into the end-to-end customer experience journey offered by CEM, provides CRM with the exact moments at which they can inform customers of relevant products and services.

And all the customer data and analyses available from CRM, provide perfect insight into those moments at which customers require a better experience in order to keep the conversion as high as possible.

If all three can just chip away at their own piece of wall, understand each other better and respect each of their added values while burying the ‘most important person’ hatchet, the sky is the limit.

Read the other articles in the Customer Experience miniseries here:

  1. What purpose does customer experience management really serve?
  2. CRM versus CEM versus CCM
  3. Experience Engineering: a brilliant discovery, but how can you start it right now?
  4. Customer Experience versus Patient Experience: surprisingly similar.
  5. What is the shelf life of customer inspiration? 3 x 7 tips!

 

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