Think about the last time you needed a specific item — let's say paper towels. Did you decide where to buy them based on the cheapest price? Or which place had the most absorbent product? Or which store had the friendliest staff?

There's no one secret step to winning over customers because customers care about the whole experience. From checking out the brand's Facebook page to browsing in-store. Every interaction and touchpoint should be as seamless and stress-free as possible.

That's where customer experience management (CXM) comes in.

What Is Customer Experience Management (CXM)?

Customer experience management is the management of customer interactions through each physical and digital touchpoint to deliver personalized experiences that drive brand loyalty and increase revenue, said David Clarke, global chief experience officer at PwC. Brands carry out customer experience management programs through a combination of software, analytics, research and data-management systems.

The goal of customer experience management is to drive customer engagement, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately boost customer loyalty, turning existing customers into brand advocates.

CXM vs. CRM: What’s the Difference?

Customer experience management and customer relationship management (CRM) are two terms often used interchangeably — but they are not the same thing. While both CXM and CRM help businesses gain a deeper understanding of their customers (primarily through the use of customer data), they focus on different aspects of the customer experience.



Uses quantitative and qualitative data to gain a better view of the entire customer lifecycle.Manages customer interactions across various touchpoints, such as email, phone, social media and in-person experiences.
Measures customer engagement, loyalty, satisfaction and advocacy to drive profitability.Tracks customer history and data to segment customers, identify upsell/cross-sell opportunities and provide more personalized communication.
Involves analyzing customer emotions, motivations and behaviors to create a personalized and relevant experience.Tools include features for sales automation, marketing automation and contact management to optimize customer relationships and revenue generation.

CRM is a tool that helps businesses manage interactions and relationships across various customer touchpoints, such as phone, email, social media and in-person interactions. Customer relationship management software typically includes features such as contact management, customer segmentation, sales automation and marketing automation.

On the other hand, CXM is a broader concept that encompasses all the interactions a customer has with a business, including their thoughts, feelings and perceptions about the brand. CXM focuses on creating a positive and consistent experience for customers across all touchpoints, with the goal of building long-term customer loyalty and advocacy.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Ensure Successful Customer Experience Outcomes

Why Is Customer Experience Management Important?

Customer experience management has a direct impact on a business's bottom line. Research shows that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the business to others if they have a positive experience.

CXM also helps businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors. In today's crowded marketplace, where products and services can be easily replicated, the customer experience is often what sets businesses apart. In fact, one in three customers said they'd walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.

The right customer experience management software will gather customer data, analyze the entire journey and identify areas where companies can improve their processes. Businesses can gain insights into what their customers want and need, and make informed decisions about how to better serve them.

Ultimately, CXM fosters customer loyalty and advocacy. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to become loyal to the brand and recommend it to others. This can lead to a steady stream of repeat business and new customers.

Winning CX Examples

CXM is worthless without actually delivering good experiences for customers and prospects — and seeing more money for your brand's bottom line.

Here are a few resources that include examples of excellent CX:

Where the Customer Journey Fits In

Part of a successful customer experience management strategy includes customer journey management.

The customer journey is the path a customer takes from initial awareness of a product or service to post-purchase evaluation and potential repeat business. And it includes all touchpoints and interactions a customer has with a business during that time. Brands often use customer journey maps to visualize this progress.

Image depicting the various customer interactions along the entire customer journey.

Customer journey management is the process of understanding and optimizing these various touchpoints and interactions, with the goal of improving customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, business performance.

Tim Linberg, chief strategy officer at NOBULL, told CMSWire that customer journeys can be either historical or hypothetical.

“We can influence and enable journeys, but we can’t absolutely dictate them,” Linberg said. “And, moreover, a truly customer-centric organization wouldn’t try to. What we can do, though, is leverage behavioral data, customer insights, experience design and marketing technologies to better understand and optimize every step of that journey.

"Done right, customer experience management is just as valuable for the business as it is for the end user.”

Related Article: Customer Journey Mapping: A How-To Guide

CXM Software: What to Know & Top Providers

A strong CXM program is only as good as the software behind it. Brands need to collect, track, manage, organize, analyze, personalize and execute relevant interactions with customers and prospects and can do this primarily through customer experience management software.

According to Statista, spending on customer experience technologies worldwide hit $641 billion in 2022, up from $508 billion in 2019.

Statista chart showing global spending on customer experience technologies in 2018, 2019 and 2022.

Capterra, a product review site, provides reviews of nearly 300 customer experience management solutions.

CXM software can incorporate capabilities like CRM, web content management, personalization engines, web analytics, customer feedback, customer data platforms and customer journey orchestration.

In the Forrester Wave: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q1 2023 report, Forrester lists under "significant" providers: Alida, Concentrix, InMoment, Medallia, NICE, PG Forsta, Qualtrics, SMG and Verint.

And, of course, there are plenty of CXM service partners, according to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM and Customer Experience Implementation Services, including:

Learning Opportunities

  • Accenture
  • BearingPoint
  • Capgemini
  • Cognizant
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • HCL Technologies
  • IBM iX
  • Infosys
  • Publicis Sapient
  • PwC
  • Reply
  • Salesforce
  • TCS
  • Wipro

Choosing the Right CXM Tools

Every company will tell you managing customer experience is central to their strategy, but in practice, it’s an extremely difficult thing to figure out how to create consistency across every touchpoint of the customer journey, said Meredith Rodkey, senior vice president of product management at Brightspot.

“As I make decisions about features and capabilities, I am always aware of who this benefits — the end user. I think of it as ‘living in their shoes,’” she said.

Having the right tools — instrumented correctly — is more important than having a lot of tools, Rodkey added. “A great customer experience allows a brand to meet customer needs and be seen as integral in helping each user do their jobs easily and effectively. To deliver this type of personalized experience across all channels, languages and content types, requires various technology solutions.”

Still, PwC's Clarke recommended not getting too distracted by newly available technology.

“Imagine your ideal CX: don’t let technology define it,” he said. “Visualize all touchpoints across the digital and physical world. It is most important to ensure that you are providing customers with what they need, when they need it the most.”

This may mean deploying chatbot-based customer service, and other times it may mean reducing the number of clicks to get to purchase.

Brands should be thinking about democratizing customer experience. “CXM,” Clarke added, “isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. Great customer experiences are owned by the C-Suite and only happen through a matrix of co-dependent connections.”

It’s not just on the marketing department to execute CXM. And it’s not just about using a CRM. “It should be on the agenda across functions,” Clarke said. “Having the customer in mind even when thinking of back-office system functionality has an effect on the customer. Don’t silo the responsibility. Everyone affects CX.”

Related Article: Customer Experience Conundrum: Fix Bad Experiences or Make Goods Ones Better?

Getting Back to Digital Basics

Companies that want to be an essential business and give customers the kind of experiences they want need to reset, said Clarke. Start, he explained, by going back to the basics: the business equivalent of food, water and shelter.

“A new reality requires a new kind of thinking, a double-down approach to digital transformation and new ways of working that weave in what we call BXT, the perfect balance of business, experience and technology,” Clarke said. “It doesn’t stop there — it hinges on faster management of uncertainty, and a plan for operational resiliency you can enact now.”

Ask yourself: Which products and services have seen top-line revenue impacted the most? Margins are irrelevant now because they’re under pressure everywhere.

Which of those top-line impacted items are likely to recover in 60, 90 or 180 days? What does the data tell you? Can you shift a product or service quickly and efficiently to meet a burgeoning demand or make it more relevant?

“Focus on the most essential products and services for your customers and use digital tools to deliver them faster and more efficiently,” said Clarke.

Customer Experience Management Puts the Customer First

A good customer experience management program leads to a customer experience that is consistent across channels, frictionless and valuable to both the business and the consumer, said Linberg.

“The promise of CXM for marketers is the ability to purposely move from ‘ready fire aim’ acquisition and retention tactics to a ‘ready aim fire’ approach that puts the customer's unique needs first,” Linberg said.

“There may be no such thing as a perfect one-size-fits-all customer journey, but there can be perfect journeys. Embracing a one-to-one strategy, enabled through AI and machine learning, delivers both a better, more personalized experience for customers and also better business outcomes."

There has never been a more important time to get customer experience management right, Linberg continued. As organizations navigate a constantly changing landscape, delivering an optimized digital customer experience has emerged as a critical lifeline for businesses across industries that are reimagining how they attract, engage and retain customers.

How do you bring good CX to life? By making connections, according to Clarke. Connect goals, points of view, responsibilities and ideas as they flow through the organization. Connect cross-departmental teams and budgets to share in the commitment. Connect associate, customer and partner journeys. Connect systems and technologies to provide a platform for iteration.

“Reducing friction in this time of disruption is incredibly important,” Linberg added, “and that will continue to be true as customer expectations evolve and organizations look to future-proof their business."