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In Business, what is CEM?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Customer experience management (CEM) is the process through which a business or company manages or attempts to control the experiences of customers regarding the business. CEM is a relatively new concept, inspired by a number of articles and research performed by economists, businesspeople, and customer service analysts in various industries. Rather than focus solely on a single customer situation, or facet of a business, CEM seeks to organize and direct all aspects of a business and how it relates to customers. This is done to provide the most positive and rewarding experiences possible for its customers across all platforms and interaction levels.

In the past, a great deal of customer service in a business or company has handled through customer relationship management (CRM). CRM focused primarily on individual interactions, and too often narrowed its vision to a single area of focus, usually on the business end of customer interactions. CEM seeks to focus more heavily upon the customer and how customer interactions with a business create an overall experience that remains in the mind of that customer afterward. This redirection of purpose and view of the customer and how he or she interacts with a business is typically at the heart of these practices.

As customers deal with a company or business through various ways, such as brick and mortar stores, online websites and shopping, and over the phone, those customers build a complete experience regarding that business. CEM seeks to ensure that the experience is an ultimately positive one, and considers every aspect of that interaction. This experience is built from the moment a customer reaches a store, to walking inside, looking for what he or she needs, asking questions, going through checkout to purchase the item, and even how a customer is treated over the phone or if returning an item.

The ultimate goal of CEM is to ensure that all of those moments and interactions create a positive experience for the customer. CEM methods are intended to ensure that even if things were not perfect, such as a store not having a desired item or the wrong item purchased the first time, that ultimately customers are happy with their interactions with a business. This increases customer loyalty and the wallet share a company has with the customer.

CEM strives to make customers into satisfied customers who may return, then to turn those into loyal customers who will definitely return, and ultimately turn those into advocate customers who will not only return but recommend the business to other people. By doing this, a business establishes customer loyalty and is able to build the reputation of its brand. These methods try to ensure that every interaction between a customer and representatives of a business, whether in person, over the phone, or provided by a website, is a positive one.

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