Today, strength of reputation is simply not enough to win and retain clients due to difficult market conditions, globalisation and increased competition. Professional services firms are beginning to adopt a more mature and dynamic application of the CRM concept – i.e. customer experience management (CEM).
So is CEM that much different from CRM? Actually, it’s not. CEM should be the driving force behind CRM. In short, it’s about “listening” to clients – I mean really really listening to understand what keeps them awake at night and assessing what expertise the firm has in-house and within its network of influence to help resolve those challenges for the client. It requires being mindful that what interests or is of value to one client, may not be relevant to the other. Also, listening includes addressing clients’ rational and business related concerns, but also being attentive to ‘softer’ concerns of customer contacts.
Building in a mechanism that contributes to continuous improvement in the value a professional services firm delivers to clients is critical to enhancing customer experience. CRM is the glue that brings together relationships, content, communications, processes, and service offerings – all of which contribute to delivering the best experience possible to clients. Essentially, for CEM to be a success, it must be the responsibility of every individual in a firm, and not simply the remit of the management board (although management board backing is also important for cultural change).
With the business and risk landscapes changing, it makes good business sense for firms to devise ways to build up the confidence and trust of their clients. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s not necessarily the high fees that customers resent; it’s the unresponsiveness of professional services organisations to their requirements that annoys them. Staying one step ahead of the client to help meet their forthcoming requirements, and ensuring that the client enjoys a trustworthy relationship with the organisation (as opposed to an individual) – all lend themselves to a proactive approach to CEM. It is a sign of business maturity. A number of our clients use Lexis® InterAction® as the vehicle to deliver this kind of experience to their clients as indeed do we at LexisNexis strive to deliver this experience too.