I just did a search of my old files for “customer experience,” and I first started writing about this in 2001 as a new analyst with Giga Information Group. Customer Experience, or CEX, became the hottest new term in customer service. We saw vendors adopt the term as an industry segment name with lightening speed–quality monitoring, CRM, incident management, knowledgebase and self-service vendors all became CEX companies overnight.
At some point around 2003-2004, however, CEX took a dark turn: Mass adoption of the term by marketing and marketing-oriented vendors that used CEX to mean click stream monitoring and upsell/cross-sell. The customer experience stopped being about “the product ownership experience” and instead became a euphemism for how to get more products into online shopping carts and through the checkout process. When I was at Forrester, they had a big CEX practice, and it was all about storefront website design and driving online revenue.
I am seeing some very promising trends in customer service about improving the CEX, and have decided that instead of coming up with a new name for this trend, I’m going to TAKE BACK the customer experience term, and use it for what it was originally intended: to measure the ownership experience of customers while they are interacting with your products and services.
With this in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to a short 30 minute webcast this Thursday at 11am PT: Actionable Customer Experience Metrics: Measure Consumption & Encourage Adoption with Frontline Performance Intelligence. One of the key components underlying TSIA’s push on the Complexity Avalanche and Value-Added Services is product consumption: technology products are becoming so complex that customers struggle to use all the new features, impacting ROI for new hardware and software. To understand how customers are ‘consuming’ products, identifying laggards who need more training to improve use of the tools, as well as finding customers who are way ahead of the consumption curve and how they managed to do so, are all projects we are seeing our members try to tackle.
For OnDemand/SaaS vendors, this may be easy. They automatically can capture how customers navigate applications, what features they use, how long it takes to complete processes, etc., to arrive at a baseline and then show customers how they are above or below that baseline. But for the majority of enterprise software deployments, which at the large enterprise level are all OnPremise, how can you do this level of monitoring?
Enter Aternity, whose End User Experience Platform for Application Performance allows companies to capture how customers navigate any desktop or networked application, which features they use, which flows they use, how long processes take to complete, etc. Armed with this information, support suddenly has the capability to do some amazing things:
- Work with customers to boost their use and consumption of products, with metrics showing how their baseline consumption compares to their peers in the industry
- Identify problem areas of the application needing tweaks or rewrites to improve usability and mask complexity
- Lobby with development to prioritize bugs and enhancements based on actual customer impact, not guess work or the squeakiest wheel.
Not only can platforms like Aternity provide accurate consumption information for enterprise software vendors for the very first time, but the same platform can also be used to have major impacts on employee productivity. You can use the same platform to monitor how employees navigate their desktop applications, highlighting which employees need additional training and who your ‘super users’ are that may be good coaches for new hires.
Join us Thursday for a great discussion on Customer Experience, and help me take this valuable customer service mindset back from marketing! Thanks for reading!