Customer Support vs. Customer Experience Management: Both Essential but not the Same

April 12, 2013 Brian Beattie

I recently encountered a software company with a 'Customer Experience Management' (CXM) department. This was not a new name given to their 'Customer Support' (CS) department but rather a unique business unit aimed at comprehensively managing each customer's exposure, interaction and transaction with the company. In fact, it seemed like the CXM and CS departments were practically in opposition. CS tried to minimize the time spent with customers to reduce support costs while CXM tried to increase the time spent with customers to better understand them. The CS department typically only interacted with customers once they had reached a specific project milestone (i.e. 'go-live') and had reported a problem. Meanwhile, the CXM department was essentially always looking for ways to reach out to customers...even before they officially became customers. CXM sounds costly, so why have this department at all?

As software companies increasingly adopt subscription business models and deliver software as a service (SaaS), it's not surprising that Customer Experience Management departments have emerged. With the subscription model, companies spend in advance to acquire a customer and receive payment from them over time, much like an annuity stream. To earn a return, a company must keep customers satisfied and 'subscribed' over the long term. Broadly speaking, this is the goal of the CXM department; to keep customers satisfied throughout the customer life cycle from discovery, attraction and interaction to purchase, use, support, cultivation and advocacy. CXM departments help companies keep customers coming back by helping the customer enjoy all aspects of interaction with the company.

Your Turn

How can you provide better customer service and a better overall customer experience?

About the Author

Brian Beattie

Brian Beattie is the Chief Financial Officer at Volaris Group. Besides overseeing the financial health of the company, he works closely with Volaris’ legal and M&A team on all new acquisitions. Brian is an expert on every stage of the M&A process – from sending out the non-disclosure agreement to executing the sales purchase agreement.

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