Blog Rant: Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Your Organization – the Five Organizational Success Factors

Rant: Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Your Organization – the Five Organizational Success Factors


So many organizations start out with the best of intentions when it comes to their Customer Experience Management (CEM) efforts. Many trip over unforeseen organizational challenges.

Maximizing CEM success involves five organizational success factors:

  1. Independence
  2. Support
  3. Resources
  4. Expertise
  5. Political acumen

Independence – a standalone department
First, CEM shouldn’t be in a department. Customer journeys traverse departments and CEM needs to have line of sight to the entire journey and deal on equal footing with all of the departments along customer journeys. If CEM resides within one of the departments, it hinders success and collaboration. CEM should reside as a stand-alone function.

Support – organization leader must lead
IBM in-depth interviews with hundreds of business executives around the world found:

  • “Top-down, ongoing support of senior executives and clear links to overall corporate goals” was one of the most critical factors that differentiated successful initiatives
  • Nearly three out of four companies designate ownership of CEM initiatives with sales, marketing, IT or some other department
  • Only a quarter of firms assign it to a corporate-level team
  • If CEM is owned at the corporate level it has a 25 percent to 50 percent greater chance of success

Source: Q&A with Don Peppers and Martha Rogers: Measuring Customer Value Can Be More Important than Measuring Revenue (3/2/2006) CRM Project Volume 6, by Don Pepper, Martha Rogers, Peppers & Rogers Group

Independence and support is best represented by a direct reporting relationship to the chief executive who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

Resources – budget helps positioning
Positioning is important. Your CEM group, department or team should be positioned as there to help others succeed. There will be problems if the team is viewed as adding work or requiring or expecting significant efforts from others. The team needs to focus on how it can help those working along the customer journey improve their customer touchpoints and infrastructure, making their work life better.

To aid its position as a helper, the CEM team needs resources with which to work. The team will be embraced if it can bring people and/or budget to contribute to facilitating improvements.

Expertise and Acumen – knowing what and how
Lastly, CEM success needs both CEM expertise and political acumen. CEM expertise is knowing what to do to succeed. Political acumen is knowing how best to get it done in the organization.

There are three options to combine expertise and acumen:

  1. CEM expertise in-house with strong political mentors and advisors
  2. Tenured in-house personnel in CEM positions with external CEM expertise engaged on an ongoing basis as a coach and/or consultant/vendor
  3. Mix of CEM expertise and tenured professionals on the in-house team plus some external expertise hired as/if needed

Each of the three options can work. The key is that you have large and ongoing doses of both CEM expertise and internal political acumen.

Rule: To maximize success, set CEM efforts up independent of other departments and provide solid leadership support, resources, expertise and acumen.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

This post an excerpt from my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

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Hank Brigman

Hank Brigman

President & TOUCHPOiNT Strategist
Customer Experience Strategies, Inc.
Qualified Member National Speakers Association
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Best-Selling Author of TOUCHPOiNT POWER


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