Reaching Customer Experience Management Maturity

By: Lisa Sigler

April 26, 2016

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
customer experience
customer experience management

Forrester research indicates that 86% of companies aspire to be leaders in customer experience (CX). That’s a great goal, but do you know how to get there? How do you know when you’ve arrived?

It helps to remember where you should start—and that’s with your customer.

After all, the customer experience ultimately doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to your customer (it’s right there in the name, even). However, you can and should try to understand the customer’s perspective and to influence their experience as much as possible by improving how you operate.

Listening to customers, understanding their wants and needs, addressing their frustration, interacting with them with real empathy, and taking action based on all of this information—these are the things that produce a good customer experience.  And these are the things that you accomplish with a mature Customer Experience Management (CEM) program.

Forrester’s customer experience expert Megan Burns has recently released the Customer Experience Management Maturity Model, a framework that defines the activities, processes, and habits of a mature Customer Experience Management program. (Clarabridge was thrilled to have Megan as a keynote speaker at this year’s C3 conference, where she discussed the framework as well as the state of CEM maturity across industries in 2016.)

The model lists thirty separate practices, broken down into these six areas of competence:

  • Customer Understanding
  • Prioritization
  • Design
  • Delivery
  • Measurement
  • Culture

The report also states that it requires discipline, empathy, and momentum in order to reach true maturity.

It requires discipline to make all of the internal changes required to put the customer first, from strategic changes driven by the executive team to training frontline employees.

Regarding empathy, “employees notice, internalize, and are sensitive to the needs and feelings of the entire ecosystem.” It’s not just about following new processes, but about using emotional intelligence to put new the new customer-centric processes into practice.

From a momentum perspective, the report suggests starting with already-existing “pockets” of CEM maturity in your organization and building from there.

When you start by truly putting customers first, use a disciplined approach, show empathy, and are clever about how you build up your program, your Customer Experience Management will reach maturity.

It’s not an overnight process, but the Customer Experience Management Maturity Model gives you a way to assess your progress. If you’re ready to take the next step, get a demo from Clarabridge to see  how we can help you on the road to maturity.


Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.