UK Organisations Drive CEM Initiatives from the Top-Down in 2013

By: Clarabridge Team

February 7, 2013

By: Peter Mann, VP of Sales, EMEA

Shortly before the holidays, I read an article in Customer Think about the “Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence Index” of the top customer experience leaders in the UK. The list included companies likeAmazon and Virgin Atlantic, which have long been recognised as ahead of thecustomer-experience curve. This article got me thinking about what the major CEM trends would be in the UK in 2013. While our fearless leader, Sid Banerjee,blogged about the global industry trends for CEM this year, I wanted to take a hard look specifically at what would be a defining trend for the UK.

If you talked to me 12 months ago, I would have told you that the UK was about 18 months behind the US in terms of CEM initiatives. This is no longer the case. While there is still some catching up to do, UK companies are beginning to develop a clearer understanding of the customers’ role in both reputation management and the bottom line. In 2013, I anticipate that many more organisations will start thinking about CEM as a company-wide strategy thatneeds senior-level buy-in.

The companies that I work closely with in the UK look at CEM as an enterprise-wide strategy. What makes them different is that these strategies are being driven from the top down. Traditionally, CEM is a priority down the chain of command for things like loyalty and retention. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important, but they are only a small piece of the CEM pie. With executive buy-in, you elevate CEM into something that brings realvalue to the entire organisation – something that can influence the hard numbers and overall corporate strategy. For this next level of customer experience, executive buy-in is essential. Let me give you some examples.

One of our UK-based clients, we’ll call them Company X, is a leading multinational telecommunications firm. As you can imagine, Company X, due to its size and name recognition, is often talked about over social media channels – both positively and negatively. From the very start, Company X’s executives knew that CEM was critical. They were the force behind the creation of a strong, consistent CEM strategy for listening to and measuring social mediachatter and then filtering it to the appropriate internal stakeholders for response. In the 14 months we have worked with Company X, it has seen incredibly positive results stem from its CEM program and its overall reputation is excellent – something that’s not too easy to achieve for major organizations. How did they do this? Well, there are multiple reasons, but one of the biggest is that the CEM strategy was fully endorsed and overseen by top management from the beginning.

Let’s look at it from another angle. Company Z (I’m being creative with names today), another one of our clients who is a large UK-based retailer, had been plagued by high-profile customer issues for years, significantly hurting its market share. Before working with Clarabridge, Company Z struggled internally to define its CEM structure and didn’t have the right stakeholders invested. Commendably, after losing customers and finding its bottom line hurt, Company Z’s leadership recognized what was happening and publically stated that its number-one priority was elevating the customer experience. Management brought in Clarabridge to help it create a unified CEM strategy to monitor,listen to and act on customer feedback. Today, I can confidently say Company Z is on the up and up.

Both Company X and Company Z use similar technologies and strategies for their CEM initiatives, but from the start they looked at CEM very differently. Unfortunately, Company Z learned the hard way that lack of senior-level involvement in CEM strategy can significantly harm the business. This year, I fully expect to see the UK’s major organizations elevate CEM strategy as a top priority – and many of these initiatives will be driven from the top.

What do you think about CEM in the UK? Are we still a year out compared to the U.S.? Are there any particular organizations that you feel do CEM right? Or wrong? Do you agree with the importance of senior-level involvement in CEM strategy? Share your opinions in the comment section below and let’s talk.