Customer Experience Management

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 Customer Experience Management Feature Article
> Customer Experience Management home

Rich Tehrani

[See other articles by David Sims]


[March 23, 2005]

CEM and Search Engines?


Customer Experience Management sounds so welcoming. Like a dinner jacketed concierge greeting you as you walk in the door, solicitous for your every whim to ensure your experience.

Much of the theory behind CEM comes from the 2004 book Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers by Bernd H. Schmitt. As one Amazon reviewer described it, The revolutionary approach that Bernd H. Schmitt is advocating here wouldn't sound so radical to anyone who has ever been in therapy: be aware, see things from other people's point of view, address their concerns.

If you've been in $150 an hour territory (for the record this reporter hasnt been in or needed any therapy more expensive than a few shots of Irish whiskey), this isn't radical, but in the suites of marketing, the author contends, it is brand new.

The idea is, according to Chris Daffy, about using a few proven, simple, yet powerful techniques to create an experience for customers that they will wish to repeatagain and again! Or as I like to call it, to create an Addictive Customer Experience. (Hit the site just for the Figure 1 of Whole Brain Thinking. Thats one intense-looking smiley-face.)

An example of CEM in action, the theory as applied to an aspect of a real customer experience, how customers use search engines, is to be found in Search Engine Journal.

The Searcher Behavior session was moderated by Danny Sullivan and speakers included Gord Hotchkins, President and CEO of Enquiro, Cam Balzer of Performics, and Dr. Bonny Brown of Keynote systems. Danny started with the age old question of what do searchers do after they perform a search?

Dr. Bonny Brown of Keynote systems first addressed with her presentation on Customer Experience Management, a space which Keynote just entered. According to Brown, CEM basically deals with interpreting the behavior of site visitors and improving on the interaction between your web site and their online experience:

  • Expectations. What do users think about you? How do they expect to be treated? What do they want to do?
  • Interaction. What do users do? What are they thinking?
  • Customer Experience. Are your customers engaged, confused, why?

Keynote has analyzed the Customer Experience of web searchers in various industries such as travel, flights, banking, retail, online dating, and vacation packages. The example used for the session was the competitive benchmark of the leading search engines.

Keynote took a sample of 2,000 panelists at 400 per search site. Panelists are invited to use and evaluate search engines using a Keynote browser companion which prompts the user with questions and feedback. The companion also captures keywords. Over Customer Experience Rankings of Search Engines:

1. Google
2. Yahoo Search
3. MSN Search
4. Ask Jeeves

Between studies in Spring of 2004 and Fall of 2004, Yahoo and MSN both began to close in on Google in Customer Experience Rankings.

Ask Jeeves and Lycos both reported the best Paid Search results of users clicking on ads. Ironicaly (and possibly planned) they did not rank in the Top 3 of Customer Experience Rankings. Google, which had the top Customer Experience Rankings, had a much lower ad clicking ranking.

When tracking frustrations, Local and Normal search brought in the most customer frustrations, while customers seemed to have almost no problems with product and shopping search.

Other findings:

  • 64% use Google as their primary search engine.
  • 3 in 4 have a primary search engine
  • 1 in 2 use another search engine if they cannot find something on their primary choice
  • 1 in 3 use a search engine toolbar in their browser.
  • 96% responded that relevant search results in the most deciding factor when judging search engines.

Almost sounds like what some shrink would write as you babble on a couch, doesnt it?

David Sims is contributing editor and CRM Alert columnist for TMCnet.

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