Customer Experience Questions Every Business Should Ask

By: Elizabeth Clor

January 14, 2016

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
Customer Engagement
customer experience
customer experience management
Customer Feedback

Customer Experience Management (CEM), although not a new discipline, is still somewhat ambiguous in many organizations. If you’re struggling to understand how to make CEM effective, here are five questions to ask.

1. Who owns it?
Discrepancies and confusion arise from the fact that nearly every function within an organization owns a piece of the customer experience. Executive championship of a program is critical, because the CEO is uniquely positioned to drive change throughout all areas of the business. The most successful customer experience management programs look at customer feedback data from all channels: social media, call center, online review sites, inbound emails, surveys and others to get an omni-channel view of the customer journey and their needs and feelings along the way. At Clarabridge, our must successful clients are the ones who are able to gain executive buy-in and break down these silos.

2. Top down, or bottom up?
In “top-down” CEM programs, the CEO and other executives believe in customer experience and champion CEM initiatives. The approach creates a culture of CX throughout the organization. If your CEO believes in CX then you can assume that the rest of your company will eventually be on board. On the other hand, in some organizations, the day-to-day CX analysts define how the program looks and works. In this “bottom-up” structure, the CX team finds insights and shares them, spreading their influence throughout the organization. Eventually, the value of investigating and proving the customer experience is felt all the way to the top of the org chart.

3. What are “CEM” skills?
CEM professionals need to be experts in a variety of areas, even in large teams. At its core, every member of your CEM team needs a foundational understanding of the main CX principles. This includes a high-level understanding of key CEM best practices and principles such as customer loyalty, customer sentiment as well as key CX metrics like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score and (NPS).

A fundamental skill is data analysis. Members of your CEM team need to have a basic comfort level with understanding and making sense of customer data, even if they aren’t data analysts themselves. They need to understand data trends and insights within the context of the business, and know how to make them relevant to an external audience, whether it is an executive of a different department or a front-line employee.

4. How do you measure success?
The obvious metrics are customer satisfaction scores, such as NPS. NPS is a simple metric that correlates to customer satisfaction and can show the impact of CEM programs. It is a straightforward, easily explained indicator that is widely used across various industries. It allows you to benchmark your performance and work toward improving your customers’ overall satisfaction. But to make this metric actionable, you need to understand what’s driving it. It’s great news if your NPS score suddenly jumps up, but if you don’t understand why, then you won’t be able to capitalize on it. Similarly, if your NPS score plummets, you need to be able to quickly take action by addressing the most common customer complaints.

5. Why is CEM important?
CEM goes a long way in building loyalty and establishing profitable customer relationships. In order to build a loyal customer base, businesses need to demonstrate that they are listening to customer feedback and using it to improve the customer experience. Furthermore, there’s no doubt that customer experience is a huge competitive differentiator, and businesses who do not invest in CEM programs will quickly fall behind.

If you are responsible for your company’s CEM program, these questions and answers may seem obvious to you. However, in order to build a customer-centric culture, you need to develop awareness for your program enterprise-wide. This high-level overview of CEM will help you rally the troops in support of your charter: happy, loyal customers.


Elizabeth Clor is the Sr. Director of Content Marketing and Communications at Clarabridge. In this role, she is responsible for solidifying Clarabridge’s position in the marketplace as the leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) technology vendor. Elizabeth has 17 years of experience in high-tech marketing and communications, and is a regular contributor to various marketing publications. She holds a B.A. of English from the University of Virginia.