CEM Secrets to get you Thinking—and Acting

By: Clarabridge Team

November 3, 2015

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
customer experience
customer experience management

Last week, 300 Customer Experience Management (CEM) professionals joined us in London for our inaugural C3 Europe event. They gained first-hand access to CEM veterans sharing their best practices, tips, and CX stories. Event attendees got to see presentations from E.ON, ADP, B&Q, Airbnb, Traffic Scotland, and JUST EAT, to name a few.

Even though each speaker covered a different angle of CEM, several key themes stood out across all presentations. Here are the key secrets to success, takeaways, and action items our CEM speakers shared:

On Getting Internal CEM Buy-In

  • Success breeds success: Don’t be shy to share your successes with as many people as possible across your organization. Chances are, when one executive sees how you’ve been able to help someone else, they’ll be asking you to help them too. This is one of the best ways to get your CEM programme off the ground and growing.
  • Sell the story: Data points give you the credibility, but stories make you memorable. Execs often leave a meeting forgetting the data and statistics you share, but they’ll rarely forget the emotion. Make sure you supplement trends and data with customer verbatim. It’s the stories that will keep your audience engaged.

On Empowering the Front-Lines to Believe in Putting the Customer First

  • Don’t use surveys as a scorecard for the head office: Make sure you ask survey questions that give store managers insights to act on. Don’t ask about corporate metrics or NPS in your store survey; the manager can’t do anything with that. Instead, ask 3 primary open-ended questions: How was your experience? What went well? What could we have improved?
  • Stamp out the fear: Don’t make your CEM program seem like a scary job-threatening initiative. Show your employees that the feedback is there to help them do their job well; not hamper it. Create dashboards that everyone can see and interact with, empowering them to see the value of customer feedback for themselves.
  • Celebrate the success: People are always very quick to highlight what’s wrong with your customer experience. But don’t forget to also highlight what’s going well. Really give your customers the ability to recognize individual colleagues who go above and beyond, and then celebrate those successes internally.

On Scaling—Across the Enterprise and Across Countries

  • Start from the top: Make sure you have a cross functional team that is driven from the top. You can’t have the entire CEM team sitting in a silo. You need to have it engrained and accessible across the entire organization. A good way to achieve this is to have a Chief Customer Officer or VP Customer Experience on the Executive team.
  • Centralized and Decentralized: You may start with a centralized program, with a team to govern and set best practices, but as you scale, you will want to educate across all departments and give business units the ability to self-serve and access insights on their own. Find your core experts to get the network effect going.

On Measuring CEM

  • NPS is only a number: Looking at customer verbatim can really help you understand what is driving a spike or data point. Metrics can only tell you so much; you won’t know how to move the score from a 4 to a 6 without looking at the reason for the 4 in the first place.
  • Targets aren’t for everyone: Setting targets and NPS goals may not be the best way to motivate your employees; figure out what works best for your business. It may be the case where you get rid of targets and instead, tell everyone to just get better from where they are today.
  • A 7 in Sweden isn’t a 7 in the USA: When benchmarking or comparing CEM metrics across global teams, keep in mind that cultural differences can impact a country’s standing. If someone in Sweden receives a great experience, they would probably rate it a 7; in the USA, the same experience would most likely receive a 9 or 10.


For many companies, CEM may still be in its infancy or early growth stages. In that case, one of our presenters put it best when they shared a quote from Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, “if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later.” Take heed of the advice in this post to help you take your CEM program to the next level. And if you are still itching for more, read our ebook: 5 Ways your Customer Feedback can get you Promoted. Better yet, be sure to join us at our next Clarabridge event!