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CRM to CXM to C3E - Innovation or Evolution?

While CXM (Customer Experience Management) was floated as a concept almost a couple of years ago, it seems quite recent in wake of the fact that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been the mainstay of enterprises worldwide for almost 2 decades now. Despite the fact that most of the organizations are yet to latch on to this, and the fact that the ones who have latched on are yet to mature the concept when implemented on ground, the industry is looking for something newer already. The new acronym on the block is C3E (Cross-Channel Customer Experience), and at least for now it seems to satisfy everyone's appetite for innovation.

I think what CRM did was to take the whole customer data recording, management and usage to the digital age. It was soon complimented with add-ons like customer analytics, workflow (business process) management, and end-to-end capabilities (like concept-to-cash solutions). When CXM came it moved the focus to a richer and integrated customer experience. Customer has been the king for long, but organizations started transforming themselves only recently to suit that. Traditionally organizations were built around products & services, and while they can shift focus from production to sales and customer care, it takes an organizational transformation to make all the moving parts reciprocate. Come C3E the playing field for customer experience has gone across channels (or touch-points). Consistency, continuity & comprehensiveness of experience has become the mantra.

When noticed closely the theme which is getting increasingly prominent in this recent chain of events is "Customer Centricity", moving the focal point of experience from inside the organization to customers outside.

The mindset, and hence expectations of customers are rising exponentially. They are increasingly mapping their experiences in one industry to another, even when the service providers may not be ready, not only technically, but organizationally as a whole. For e.g. Customers today are expecting seamless transactions across channels, in a click-and-collect fashion from their cellular operators, a concept popularized by the retail industry. When these concepts which are designed for one line of business (e.g. physical products) are applied to another (e.g. service) they pose magnanimous challenges for everyone concerned.

One could say that when the change is fueled by the provider (push mechanism) it is an innovation, and when it is a response to a stated need from the customer it is evolution (pull mechanism). So what do you say, is this transformation led by innovation or evolution? And more importantly, what do you see this trend leading to next?


The evolution of customer's expectations is pushing the innovation of providers. It's innovation led by evolution. This concept of C3E will revolutionize the customer experience especially in services sector and looks a promising upgrade from CRM/CXM.

Nice summary, Mayank. While definitions of push and pull mechanisms are related to innovation and evolution in a nice way in this comment, I am interested to see the role of sustainability which is the mantra in today's CXOs including Kris's recent blog and visit to Brazil or so!

Mayank, nice summary, I also feel a strong cross-channel solution requires continuous effort to make each of its selling channels blend in with the other channels and providing a more consistent shopping experience for customers

But to realize the benefits of increased customer loyalty and incremental sales, retailers must work hard at making sure their company is providing a consistent and complementary shopping experience online, in stores and through mobile and social commerce, Peter Taylor, Sport Chalet’s director of business development, said at the Internet Retailer 2012 Conference & Exhibition in a session titled “Cross-Channel Commerce: Techniques and technologies to leverage.”

You are correct, sustainability is the buzzword today. With respect to Cross Channel (XC) Experience I feel the cause is helped even better. Whether you are the customer, or a company executive, or a partner, the underlying need from XC is the ability to access and act upon information on the medium of your choice, at the correct time and with the same efficiency as you would have in any other medium (or channel). This translates into something like car-pooling.

Say you are a field sales exec and are working on repair jobs. Accessing your next task through your mobile device (which you were anyways to carry and use) instead of a printed sheet or accessing a heavier machine nearby would not only save you time, but conserve energy on a whole. Similarly route optimization on the fly can now be delivered to you on-demand reducing the daily carbon-footprint substantially.

What do you say?

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