Optimization Glossary

Experience Management

What is Experience Management?

Experience management (XM) is more than just another trendy marketing buzzword. Experience management is a whole new way of thinking about marketing in an omnichannel marketing world that is evolving relentlessly. 

Read on to learn: 

  • What experience management is 
  • How it works when implemented well
  • Which technologies can help your company become an XM juggernaut

Experience management defined

At its core, experience management offers you control over each customer's experience with your brand or product. 

As customer experience (CX) is a marketing metric measuring how customers feel about their journeys down the CRM funnel, XM is about keeping your company's ear to the ground to avert and divert negativity emanating from poor customer experiences via predictive metrics. 

XM is about turning lemons into lemonade -- quickly, before other customers taste the lemons.

Experience management is an active endeavor

Experience management is a process predicated on action. How can your company ensure customers have continually great experiences with your brand?  How can you retain and incrementally upsell to your customers over time? 

XM can identify bad customer experiences quickly and provide avenues for rebuilding customer trust. Experience management generally results in a better overall customer experience -- but this is a positive side effect, not the goal.

Defining experience management success

The goal of XM is higher ROI, longer customer lifecycles and increased sales. Experience management success is often determined by looking at its impact on three business areas: 

  • Customers. Customer retention and engagement should improve. 
  • Products and Brands. Customer interaction with your products and brands should be enhanced across numerous channels.
  • Business Efficiency. Sales should increase, labor costs should decline and focus should shift to acting on customer data instead of monitoring it. 

Successful XM will result in a feedback loop that increases customer engagement with your brands, fuels increased revenue and fosters more efficient customer marketing. All of which leads to increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

How experience management works

Experience management is about integrating Xs and Os. Experiential data (the Xs) explores how your customers feel about their experience and your brand in general. Operational data (the Os) represent your company's decisions, products and services your customers interact with or purchase. 

XM allows you to integrate these two disparate datasets to generate insights about what aspects of your brand, product and marketing fuel customer satisfaction. You can then act on those insights to create better products, a more fulfilling customer experience and increase ROI throughout the company.

How experience management integrates your customer Xs and Os

For example, let's say you're overseeing the implementation of a new online video streaming app. Your goal is to get people to love streaming videos on your mobile app. 

You can collect data about user experience and customer feedback within the app. You can also collect data about what programs your customers prefer to stream. These datasets represent experiential data and customer insights. 

Conversely, you need to understand how much certain programming costs to license and produce. You need to know why the current user interface is designed this way. Perhaps there were other operational cost savings or user-experience advantages. 

XM integrates operational data to give your teams insight into your products and bottom line. This knowledge can help your employees decide on whether product enhancements may hurt more than help overall aggregate customer satisfaction and sales. For example, your marketing team may learn that the app is designed to steer customers toward selecting the content you don't pay licensing to stream. 

Combining operational data with experience data in your decision-making also allows your company to make cost-benefit analyses. Will making a change to the interface increase customer satisfaction nominally, but at significant cost? Will licensing more programming of a specific variety cost more than can be gained? 

Integrating experience and operations data for proper data-driven decision-making epitomizes how experience management works -- successfully. 

Use customer experience management to personalize relationships

Experience management offers one additional asset other marketing approaches don't always cover. XM helps you create personalized, omnichannel experiences. 

Your customers expect personalized content

Traditional marketing tools (e.g., customer relationship management or CRMs) collect data about customers so you can create and analyze market segments -- broad characteristics covering specific target demographics. Such tools allow you to design campaigns that will appeal to generic segments broadly. 

XM multiplies this capability to the extreme because it is action-oriented. Using XM strategies, you can create data-driven insights about individual customers to offer them personalized experiences and upsells in real-time. Market segmentation can help you explore new product or service ideas. Personalized marketing will help you make and increase sales.

Personalized omnichannel experiences

No matter your business, today's customer needs to be able to interact with your brand around the clock, online and via mobile device. Successful companies offer a seamless, personalized omnichannel presence -- a consistent, uninterrupted experience across media and devices. 

Experience management allows you to operate the personalized experience across all channels. It also helps you counteract unforeseen negative experiences in one channel (e.g., poor customer service in the store) -- with positive reinforcements in others such as a customer appreciation coupon on a product or service data that appeals to your customer. 

How to implement experience management in your existing workflow

A successful experience management platform requires three things: 

  • Centralization. You need to centralize your marketing content, customer data, and operating information to facilitate experience insights and ensure you optimize the customer journey. 
  • Detailed documentation. You need to track every customer interaction, every operational decision, and every employee process. Documenting every bit of data provides your company a holistic view of every experience to make data-driven decisions. 
  • Technology. CRMs and an agile or headless CMS aren't enough. Successful companies are transitioning their operations to an integrated amalgamation of customer experience, content, and real-time data-driven insight tools like Optimizely's Digital Experience Platform (DXP). 

Digital experience platform (DXP) solutions

You can partner with a DXP provider to incorporate existing content, CRM workflows and customer-experience data into a cloud-based DXP to leverage automation. The best DXPs will centralize and document every customer and brand interaction across all channels and provide real-time, personalized insights about customer experience and shopping behaviors. 

You know your customers best, however. You may want to avoid fully automated, AI-controlled DXP solutions. It's better to look for an AI-enhanced DXP solution, providing insights that your marketing team can decide to act on and control instead. 

Future-proof your experience management in the cloud 

The future is uncertain, but one thing is for sure -- data will continue to grow. It's essential to choose a cloud-based DXP for three reasons:

1. Cloud-based DXP is infinitely extensible

The channels comprising your omnichannel presence today will seem trite tomorrow. You need to have an XMP that can scale across technologies -- no matter what. Cloud-based solutions also give you unlimited data management capacity. Make a move to the cloud now, not when compatibility and capacity become crises and ruin the brand experience. 

2. Speed of data integration

Your goal is to monitor and enhance customer experiences via customer-centric and operational data integration. Experience management requires action on real-time insights. Cloud-based platforms provide insanely fast processing options above and beyond what most company services offer. 

3. Access to customer data and information

Cloud-based technologies provide universal and constant access to the data when your team needs them. With data backup capabilities, you don't have to worry about a server going down or your company's VPN getting hacked. Cloud-based data and tools are versatile and dependable, yielding a robust user experience creating customer loyalty for life.

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