>Customer Experience Management and Enterprise Architecture

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Customer service is so important. We need to architect it in every fiber of the organization. Good customer service is a critical differentiator for organizations and it offers a strategic competitive advantage to those enterprises that embrace it and make it central to their product offering.

DM Review, 25 April 2008, reports that “companies are under unprecedented pressure to optimize the customer experience.”

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is emerging as an increasingly important tool. CEM is the practice of actively listening to customers, analyzing what they are saying to make better business decisions and measuring the impact of those decisions to drive organizational performance and loyalty.”

CEM information should be considered an essential component of the business perspective of the enterprise architecture. CEM should be incorporated into EA planning and governance to accelerate and improve enterprise decision making such as “tailoring products to customer desires to save investment in unwanted innovations.” The overall goal is to provide the customer with world-class service and an overall high satisfaction interaction.

How are organizations achieving CEM?

  1. Chief Customer Officer (CCO)—establishing executive positions that are focused on the customer experience and on earning high marks for customer satisfaction.
  2. Measurement—“putting tools in place that measure the customer experience” and provide feedback to the organization. These tools include customer satisfactions surveys, focus groups, blogs, point-of-sale data/trends, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems that “hold valuable comments from emails, support cases, and online conversations between contact centers and customers.”
  3. Process improvement—using customer feedback and measurement to tune processes, streamline them, and eliminate defects.

Unfortunately, “still at many companies today, the potential of CEM remains untapped.” It behooves the enterprise architects to help drive CEM as a major source of business intelligence and for use in enterprise architecture planning and governance for new investments.

Ultimately, just like the EA end-user is the final arbiter for driving the development of the EA information products (so they are useful and usable), so too the customer is king when it comes to influencing the organizations’ future direction for product, process, technology, and service. If we’re not satisfying our customers, they will find a better supplier to give their business to.