For those of you just tuning in, CXM is the acronym that the content management industry is using to describe “Customer eXperience Management.” 

I don’t know who coined the phrase, but I guess they went with the X instead of E because the acronym CEM was already taken.

Searching for an Apparition 

In preparation for this article, I did a little research on the real Customer Experience Management (CEM). Seems like something that is critically important for any company, but I couldn’t figure out how Web CMS could be leading the charge. So I started with a Google search and came up with this definition on Wikipedia:

  • Customer Experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.”
  • Customer Experience Management represents the discipline, methodology and/or process used to comprehensively manage a customer's cross-channel exposure, interaction and transaction with a company, product, brand or service.”

Huh. No CMS there.

I searched LinkedIn and found the 27,000 member strong "Customer Experience Management" group.Conveniently, there was a long thread about how to define this ethereal term.But these were actual customer experience practitioners crafting the words, not technology vendors.It’s still going, but the front-running definition is:

  • Customer Experience is defined as the perception that customers have of their contacts and interactions with an organization.”
  • Customer Experience Management is the business discipline concerned with the theory and practice of comprehensively managing and optimizing processes and factors that impact upon a customer’s experience of an organization. The objectives are to positively influence and leverage customer perceptions into the efficient creation of value for all stakeholders."

Weird. No CMS again.

While I was cruising LinkedIn, I thought it would be fun to post my CXM is DOA article in the 5,000 member strong CMS User Group to see get a sense for what the community thought. As expected, I got a whole lot of "I disagree and here’s why" and "CXM is the future" and whatnot, but the explanations given were a bunch of inside baseball crap or described Web CMS personalization features that were five years old. When I challenged the group for an example of CXM in the wild with the list of packages being deployed, I got crickets.

Learning Opportunities

Where Does Technology Come In?

Here’s another definition for you:

  • Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially cancelled. At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.”

So why is the industry clouding the truth about what CMS has to offer, today and in the future?I have three theories:

  1. Web CMS vendors are afraid that someone else is going to eat their lunch so they’re turning to vaporware
  2. Web CMS vendors are sick of dealing with IT groups and they want to move up the chain to Marketing
  3. Web CMS vendors are hoping to charge higher prices for their product by wowing prospects with features that either don’t exist or are never used.

Now I’m not saying that there isn't a role for technology in customer experience management. In fact, for more and more businesses, all customer interactions are digital. But it’s not correct to infer that the content management system is at the core of it. Some would argue that there is no role for Web CMS in customer experience management at all. My opinion is that the role of the CMS in CEM is far less than what the industry would have you to believe.

Don’t be confused or afraid. There’s no such thing as CXM.

So can we please stop using that acronym.