CEM is too big a concept to deal with without a blueprint
Customer experience management (CEM) is a large and often poorly defined subject that covers a vast spread of needs from network engineering to the retail experience provided to customers. It’s time for a CEM framework that maps use cases to business problems, Victor Donselaar tells George Malim
If you go to a CEM conference the scale of the CEM market is clearly demonstrated. You’re just as likely to see a presentation aimed at network operations engineers as one that explores how to optimise the shopping experience at a communications service provider’s retail outlets. The CEM arena has become so wide that it has become too large to address as a single system.
“The CEM market is huge and not well-defined,” confirms Victor Donselaar, the vice president of business development at Accanto Systems, which is developing a blueprint to map out the different disciplines and solution sets encapsulated by the CEM tag. “RFPs are coming to companies like us from CSPs that are about net promoter scores (NPS) or billing or network operations or customer care or customer care agents. The scope is very wide and big CEM RFPs take a long time to respond to and typically nothing comes out of them.”
“There isn’t one solution that optimises your shopping experience and analyses your subscribers’ voice and data quality so there’s no point trying to accommodate both needs in one RFP,” he adds. “It’s not practical to have one RFP for something you can’t buy. CSPs have different departments and CEM should be top of the agenda for all but they still have budgets to adhere to and CEM as a whole is not a budget item.”
Donselaar would like to see the CEM arena broken down into a subset of solutions that map to CSPs’ own structures, budgetary frameworks and needs, rather than CEM being used as an all-encompassing buzzword. He believes that by creating a blueprint, CSPs can launch viable solutions that help them improve the quality of experience for their subscribers. “Vendors have used CEM as a brand – we’ve been guilty of it ourselves,” he says. “People use the CEM term without defining it which is why we want to create this blueprint. CEM has become blurred and undefined but the intention of customer-centricity is there. CSPs know, for example, that there is a correlation between network quality and making the customer happy.”
Donselaar says CSPs will take different approaches to CEM but admires the approach being taken by one of Accanto’s CSP customers of splitting CEM into tools and processes by way of making the specification process more manageable. However, he warns that regardless of how CEM is divided, a complete set of solutions will be needed. “If you have the tools but not the processes, the customer is still not satisfied,” he says.
The CEM blueprint therefore needs to take both tools and processes into account along with the different aspects of CEM from network engineering through to the call centre or the retail store. “In a typical CSP’s network, there are multiple technologies and probing systems that all produce KPIs and valuable information to monitor the customer experience,” says Donselaar. “We want to correlate this already existing but complex information, rank what customers are suffering most in terms of poor quality, and then provide actionable insight and analytics. The blueprint will be broken down into a few things you monitor that are directly linked to the network and can deliver customer experience improvements.”
“If you look at CEM and the tools and data required, they’re equally important,” he adds. “The proposition should be a solution to a business problem, not just software that plugs a gap. In order to truly understand the customer experience, the CSP needs information delivered to them from a system that takes information from multiple sources. To achieve that, there is a whole process change required for CSPs. Our blueprint will provide much needed clarity to the market.”