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Can You Really Manage Customer Experience?

Can You Really Manage Customer Experience?
September 11, 2013 1:56PM

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McDonald's customer experience management (CEM) is a good example of what companies can strive to achieve. SAS Customer Intelligence expert John Balla says McDonald's special sauce, so to speak, is that the customer experience is always at the center of its business, and the company keeps it there using an analytically-driven optimization process.

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(1) how prospects hear about new products
(2) the factors that influence where they shop and for what
(3) onboarding needs and expectations for new customers
(4) how customers and prospects like to get help when issues arise; and
(5) the perceived value at specific price points, and how these relate to market trends and competitive offerings.

What's Your Secret Sauce?

In terms of understanding the needs and preferences of their target audience, McDonald's seems to be doing all of these things and maybe more, says John Balla, a senior marketing specialist in Customer Intelligence at data-management software-maker SAS. Balla points to McDonald's customer experience management as a good example of what companies can strive to do. He says the burger-maker offers a consistently positive customer experience in its restaurants. But how?

Balla says McDonald's special sauce, so to speak, is that the customer experience is at the center of its business, and the company keeps it there using an analytically-driven optimization process.

Mike Cramer, director of Operations Research in the Innovations Group at McDonald's, says the company simultaneously manages factors in the three categories that affect the customer experience: design, information, and people.

Certainly the factors will vary from business to business and each company's management team needs to find its own formula for optimizing customer experience.

So, here's the take-away, to share with your team:

"Ask yourselves, what is your company's special sauce? How can you keep the customer at the center of your business? There's no doubt it's a matter of deliberate effort -- and it's easier said than done," Balla says.

Keep in mind also that as your operations grow, analytics will become increasingly important for managing customer experience and ensuring customer satisfaction at every step along the way.

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