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Episode #164: Back to Basics — What is CXM, Really?

Grad Conn

October 12, 2021  •  12 min read

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We talk a lot about CXM on this podcast, which makes perfect sense — it is the “Unified-CXM Experience” podcast, after all. But it occurred to me recently that we might not be on the same page when it comes to understanding the nuances of CXM. So, in an effort to achieve total CXM harmony, we’re going back to basics.

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I just love our theme music. And we’ve been doing the show for almost a year. Not quite yet. Our anniversary show’s coming up soon. But man, I just I don’t get tired of it. It’s amazing. Oh, welcome to the Unified-CXM Experience. As always, I’m your host Grad Conn CXO, chief experience officer at Sprinklr. And today I’m going to, I’m going to do some back to basics.

I was in a meeting not too long ago, let’s say two, maybe three weeks ago, with a customer, someone we’ve been working with for a number of years. And I often get called into these meetings to set a framework for where it’s changing. So, we’ll talk about marketing megatrends, we’ll talk about the future, it’s pretty fun, doing a lot of stuff in combinatorial future change, where multiple things happening at the same time lead to unexpected innovations or outcomes. One example would be autonomous cars. Autonomous vehicles, which are somewhat tied into advances in computing advances in computing sight, and also advances in what we’re doing with electric vehicles. All that stuff’s all driving this autonomous future. It’s exciting, it’s going to be great. A true autonomous car future will also mean something else, which is also fantastic, which is a lot fewer car accidents, and a lot fewer car deaths, which you know, run at a clip of about 50,000 a year in the US, no matter what we do, no matter what we do. Now, they do think that a significant percentage of those car deaths are actually suicide. So that’s why it’s a sticky number, doesn’t seem to go down. Partly because you know, a whole bunch of those are people driving themselves into embankments and stuff like that. So they don’t really wear seatbelts. So that’s going to be a challenge. But in autonomous car, you won’t be able to do that. So, I’m going to try something else. That was kind of dark.

Anyway, so what’s going to happen with fewer car deaths? What happens after that? It’s great, right? Sure. People aren’t dying in cars. It’s awesome. But what are car deaths, the number one source of? Organ donations. Organ donations are going to suddenly become very, very hard to get. So, what does that mean? Well, there are these other advances going on in biomedical sciences in 3D printing, to make artificial organs. It’s not heavily invested in because there are enough organ donations right now to mostly satisfy supply. But when that dries up, we’re going to see an explosion there. So there’ll be some interesting investments in that space. That’s a good example of combinatorial change, with a dark twist.

Now, what we’re going to do is talk a little bit about this meeting I had three weeks ago. So, I did this meeting, we’re talking about the future, are talking a whole bunch of stuff. And I spent a lot of time talking about CXM, because you know, we’re the Unified-CXM Experience. I was talking about unified-CXM is this new enterprise software category that we’re innovating in, very cool and went on… CXM this CXM that. You know, clipped along, I had a pretty good slot, maybe half an hour, maybe 40 minutes. Took questions. It was great. And I would say that I kind of felt like I probably killed that meeting. Oh, wow, this is a dark podcast. What is going on here? Am I okay right now? I think I’m okay. Yeah. Good day. And I had a fun day yesterday Yeah, I think I’m all right. No, there’s something going on.

Anyway. I did a really good job in the meeting. And I thought everyone was really excited. And I was getting all sorts of high fives from the account team, and it seemed to be going amazing. And then… I’m going to have to do this figuratively because you are obviously listening to this, and this is also a Zoom presentation, so we’re all still virtual. And so figuratively, a little tiny hand went up at the back of the room. I’m not saying this person’s hands are tiny. I have no idea, but just go with me on this one for a second. A tiny hand rose at the back of the room. And I said, Yes, there’s a question at the back. And a little voice said what does CXM stands for?

Oh boy. Wow, I am doing a not so great job here. So, I felt like wow, I left somebody — maybe not everybody — but I left somebody in the dust in the first half second of my presentation, and never really filled it in. So, I have added a couple of slides to my presentation to talk about what CXM is. The first one… and I’m going to go through them in a little bit of detail here, It’ll take about five minutes or so to go through these. But they’re, I think, quite helpful. People do have some questions that they bring up that we’ve tended to sort of answer, but always in response, as opposed to clearing the deck in advance. So now I’m trying to clear the decks in advance so that people are comfortable with where we’re going, so they understand what we’re talking about.

So, you start with CRM, not CXM, start with CRM, customer relationship management. There are some major players in this space, we’re all familiar with Salesforce, a great company, one of the great tech stories of our generation. We’re familiar with Dynamics, Dynamics 365, wholly from scratch engineered product by Microsoft that’s doing all sorts of really cool things, NetSuite and many, many, many, many others. And when people sometimes say, well, what’s the difference between CXM and CRM? Or maybe more specifically, what’s the difference between Sprinklr and Salesforce? And we’re always, you know, quick to say Salesforce is a great partner of ours, we work with Salesforce all the time, Salesforce is our back end. So, this is not like either or. It’s and. But for people, they’re like, how do I understand the “and”? So I think I can describe it pretty well.

So, CRM, what is it? CRM shows what a customer looks like, to the organization. Think of it as the organization’s view of what a customer is. It’s obviously focused on sales and outreach to customers and prospects. And it’s a collection of people we know. That’s CRM. CXM, or customer experience management, shows what an organization looks like to the customer. Right? So, CRM is what the customer looks like to the organization, CXM is what the organization looks like to the customer. They’re two sides of the same coin, but very different sides. And CXM relies on the voice of the customer to measure customer sentiment. And, more importantly, CXM can include people we know and people we don’t know. So that’s the difference. So CXM, outward facing, what we tend to call front office. CRM, inward facing, what we tend to call back office.

Now occasionally people will say, Well, what about digital experience platforms like say, Adobe. And people measuring and optimizing the flow of experiences on a site, like looking at abandoned carts or looking at rage clicks, or just generally taking the experience that people are having online trying to make it better. And these DXP platforms sort of fall between CRM and CXM, because they’re tracking customer behavior on owned properties. And they focus on delivering optimization and digital experiences. That’s kind of the behavior we see. So, people we know, people we know and don’t know. And the behavior we see from people form what you’d call the modern customer stack of CRM, DXP, and CXM, so hopefully that’s helpful.

We’ll post some of these images online, if you have any additional questions, but I did enjoy… I really, really appreciated that person asking that question, I really thought it was a brave moment, because we just spent 40 minutes on CXM. So it was a brave moment, it was a brave moment, and a tip of the hat to anybody who’s willing to ask the stupid questions and lean out there because, guaranteed, the other people in the room had the same question. Guaranteed. And this slide has proven to be extremely helpful as we go through our conversations with customers and prospects because I see a lot of people get a look of relief on their face when I take them through this. Now, I don’t have to ask the difference and now I know the difference.

So, the second thing I wanted to do is talk a little bit about what are the foundational principles of CXM This is another slide, we’ve never done this, we never really talked about this, and this is early stage so it’s likely to change or… likely to not change but evolve. Or get better, I guess is probably even a better way to put it, but this is like a pretty solid starting point. So again, just to repeat myself, customer experience management is CXM, customer experience management.

I have had some smarty pants say shouldn’t it be CEM, but CEM isn’t as cool looking as CXM. So, customer experience management. And there are essentially three… think of those as three columns, one under customer, one under experience and one under management. And there are three kind of questions that you’d want to ask yourself under each. Under the customer, you want to ask yourself “do you approach your business from the perspective of the customer?” Do you approach your business from the perspective of the customer? What does that mean? Well, do you have a persona-based approach to the four P’s? Your marketing mix. Do you ask your customers how happy they are with your company? Do you listen to customer comments from public channels? Just how connected are you to the customer? How infected is your organization with the voice of the customer? Second column is experience. And this is I think, the most powerful one, which is do you respect the time of your customers? I feel like sometimes with experience, people get super wrapped around their shoe laces on it. And my advice is, before worrying about the color of the ribbon, ask yourselves: is your product or service easy to find? Is it easy to buy, is it easy to return repair, recycle. I mean, other things are important. But can people find you, buy you, return you? This is still not as easy as it should be for too many companies. And make sure the basics are being met.

And finally, management. The question here is do you rapidly respond to questions, concerns and comments? And the question here are when people ask you questions, do you answer them? When people have a problem, do you solve it? When people thank you, do you amplify? And this is tied in a way to voice of the customer. But it’s this idea that people have questions, people have concerns, people have positive feedback. You’ve got to deal with those things. Now what’s super interesting about customer experience management, and the reason why it’s a changing and very complicated field, and why people in CXO roles, like myself have complicated jobs is that classically, all that customer stuff is under the role of marketing. And classically, all that experience stuff is under the role of the product teams. And classically, all that management stuff is under the role of a customer care department. These are very different departments… don’t ever really report to the same senior leader… barely work together. And so for the customer who’s got this external view of the company, that’s what CXM is, remember, they see a very fractured experience because they see essentially the org structures being revealed to the customer. And so these things aren’t tied together in a way that’s cohesive. So, the challenge in a modern organization is how do you get these three different silos to work together? And we’re going to talk about that. And then next podcast, we’re going to talk about what is the rollout plan for CXM and how to unify silos. And how do you take what seems like an almost overwhelming task, which is how do we get my whole organization to be customer obsessed and customer focused? And how do I make that happen? I’ll talk a little bit about how we’ve done it at Sprinklr and it should be pretty fun episode but that’s it for today.

If you’ve got any questions, particularly what is CXM, hopefully I answered that question today. If you have any other questions, throw them my way. I love it every time we get asked a question, particularly around things people think they should know that we may not be talking about because we may have passed that sign without collecting $200. Let us know, it’s always good to hear. So, for the Unified-CXM Experience, I’m Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr, and I will see you next time

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