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Are You Ready to Roar Like a CEM Lion?

Organizations today face an all-too-common digital challenge: trying to provide great experiences that delight a customer and bring him or her back for more. At the same time, customer expectations are sky high, whether your organization is an SMB or large enterprise, whether you’re in regulated industries or services, or even whether you’re in the private sector or a government agency.

Today most business leaders know that they have to embark upon a digital transformation journey. But where to start?  The answer varies widely, depending on many factors, including the organization’s business, marketing, and technology acumen for customer experience. Understanding your maturity level is critically important in helping start with the right projects, objectives, skill sets, and approaches for success.

A simple 2 x 2 matrix is quite powerful in determining where to initiate your customer experience management (CEM) efforts. Associating these four segments with animal characteristics creates a useful, memorable and even humorous picture of the customer experience maturity. By looking at the business’s CEM maturity on a vertical axis and the IT organization’s CEM maturity level on the horizontal axis, we can define four distinct states of readiness.

Maturity Matrix

By aligning them with four types of safari animals in the wild, these segments emerge:

Monkeys are huge mimics, imitating human behavior without any clue as to what they’re doing or why. For example, it’s common to see monkeys sitting around outdoor tables pretending to drink tea or read newspapers. Companies with low customer experience maturity in both technology and business often behave like monkeys. They want to imitate larger, more successful companies, but they instead have many false starts, aren’t sure why they’re doing what they’re doing, and lack the right skill sets in CEM. They know they want to be like all the other companies, but don’t know how to get there.

Gazelles are quite different from monkeys. They’re nimble, agile, and move very quickly and gracefully across the terrain. Companies with strong business  but limited technology experience often demonstrate gazelle-like behavior. Executives from these companies try to move quickly on multiple CEM projects–sometimes managing as many as a dozen or two discrete initiatives at one time. Because these companies are moving so quickly–and are often motivated by fear of the competition–they usually do not give sufficient thought to infrastructure issues such as a data management platform or how these discrete projects will be integrated at a future date.

Elephants are at the opposite end of the spectrum from gazelles. In the wild elephants often travel slowly, moving methodically in a long line, almost plodding at times. They make a good metaphor for companies that have strong technology skills, but lack business experience or prowess in CEM. Elephant companies usually have excellent project management skills, strong technology strategies, and can be quite successful with their projects, even those that are high risk. The downside is that CEM projects may take a long time to complete, and the organization may not move as quickly as its strategy warrants.

Lions are the most powerful companies in the CEM space. Like their real-world counterparts on the plains, lion companies are powerful, have very clear business and technology strategies, and know how to execute them. They usually quickly transition their scope from digital transformation to business transformation as they go up the learning curve in CEM. In fact, it’s not unusual for the CEM projects at lion archetypes to be led by members of the C-suite, the CEO or COO, or even members of the board.

These four archetypes for CEM maturity are drawn from original research conducted by DCG in Q1 2015 and published in our report entitled Partner Your Way to Success in Customer Experience Management. We surveyed over 200 business and IT leaders and interviewed more than fifteen executives at companies located in North America and Europe and representing a variety of industries. The survey and interviews included questions such as:

  • Who leads CEM projects in early adopter organizations?
  • How often do they involve service providers in projects, and why?
  • What transformation goals do they have for their company and industry?
  • How concerned are they about technology risk?
  • How long do the CEM projects last and what are the typical phases?
  • What is the role of the business execs, marketing and IT?
  • What are the key technologies for CEM?
  • What are the reasons that some projects fail?
  • What are key success factors?

Download the free report for answers to these and related questions. Then have some fun determining the kind of animal you are in the CEM wilds.


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