Joe Tawfik, CEO of Kinetic – a specialist business process outsourcing (BPO) for the telecommunication industry -looks ahead at what is emerging in the field of Customer Experience. Part two of the feature will appear in the July issue of Customer Experience Magazine.

The Evolution of CRM
The past 20 years have seen an evolution in how we view, analyse and manage our customers. Although the concepts of customer relationship management (CRM) emerged in the 60’s they really started having importance in the 80’s and 90’s when authors like Don Peppers published their book on the subject of “one-to-one” marketing.

The mid nineties really saw the movement gain momentum largely because technology had caught up with the concepts of personalised marketing to the masses. Previously the ideas had not been adopted by companies due to the limitations in technological solutions.

To understand the evolution of CRM we need to examine what are the current hot topics in customer management. In 2014 we can comfortably say that the concept of customer experience management (CEM) is the dominant talking point in most organisations. How did we get from CRM to CEM? This question is best answered by reviewing how customers make decisions around their purchases of goods and services.

The proliferation of information and applications on the internet has changed how customers make purchasing decisions. Many customers use the internet now for pre and post purchasing decisions as well as making actual purchases online. The rise of social media also created a means for customers to voice their views publically on products and services.

This created two interesting new customer dynamics: firstly, customers demanded increased touch points to make their purchasing decision and secondly customers now had a public voice with a global audience. For companies this meant they now had to deal with the challenge of serving customers across multiple touch points and channels in a consistent manner.

Also, with a growing conversationalist culture emerging it meant that word-of-mouth from customers was now defining how customers viewed a brand. In the age of globalisation competition in most industry sectors has increased. It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate on product or services sold. Growing literature came to the forefront highlighting “customer experience” as one of the remaining areas of differentiation. The evolution from CRM to CEM came about to address the importance of the total sum of a customer’s interactions with a company and its products or services is what ultimately will determine a few things:

  1. How competitive a company is in the marketplace compared to its peers?
  2. The rate at which a company can acquire new customers and keep existing ones?
  3. How profitable a company is likely to be in the future?

Answering these questions for a business leader is of paramount importance. Shareholders equally want to know the answers to these questions. In the past five years we have seen the shift away from relationship management to a broader view focusing more on customer experience.

This shift is important as it has taken the responsibility of the customer away a limited number of departments in a company and transferred it to the entire company. This has been a major achievement towards achieving true customer-centricity in a company. Previously, ownership of the customer was restricted to departments and therefore it was difficult to get company-wide transformation. CRM was previously the responsibility of the contact centre and identified as one of many projects within the organisation. CEM is different because finally the responsibility of the customer is now with everyone in the organisation.

The growth in multiple touch points, applications on the internet, and growing competition has meant that to remain competitive companies needed to get all staff in all departments to focus on delivering a standardised experience that was better than their competition and would generate a positive word-of-mouth and help fuel company growth and profit.

The Role of Technology in CEM
The evolution of technology has enabled companies with the necessary tools to deliver consistently great customer experiences across multiple touch-points. Unlike the early 90’s we are no longer frustrated by the lack of technology solutions to better serve our customers in this marketplace. If anything there are too many options to select from making it a challenge to determine which technology solution is going to best meet a company’s needs. The rate of technological change is more rapid than it was 20 years ago. This creates both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity lies in understanding where the best economic value can be gained from the rapid evolution in technology and the challenge is to convert this value knowledge into a profitable reality.

Joe TawfikJoe Tawfik, CEO, Kinetic BPO
Joe Tawfik has over 25 years senior management experience. He has been a Board Director since 1996 and held numerous CEO roles. He has been actively involved in the BPO and Online industries in Australia and Asia since 1996, in a leadership capacity. He is currently the CEO of Kinetic BPO, a specialist BPO for the telecommunication industry, and also founder of Karmadeeds (www.karmadeeds.com); an online platform for social good.

Joe is an international CEO and has published and authored numerous industry papers. His experience is extensive covering regions across Australia, Asia and the Middle East. In addition to leading a number of organisations, Joe has successfully lead award-winning BPOs; having attained over 14 industry awards in the Middle East, US and Australia.

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