There is a lot of discussion around the role of the web content management system in customer experience management (CXM). Some say it’s the core, others say it’s an element, but not a driver. I say they are both right.
Let`s be very specific here, because it is important. If we were just talking purely about the online customer experience, then I would agree that the web content management system (WCM) is the core to designing and support CXM strategies. Pretty much every supporting CXM technology: marketing automation, social media monitoring, customer relationship management, analytics, personalization, social software, etc…needs to integrate with the WCM. Why? Because it stores all the content you need to manage the experience. We use to call this WebEngagement (orExperience) Management.
But customer experience management is about more than the online channels. And not all WCM platforms provide support to the offline experience. Support channels, print-based marketing, internal knowledge work activities — these things are typically done using other tools. And the content used to support these activities is, typically, stored in these other tools.
What I think brings both these views together is not the WCM itself, but the WCM repository. Or to be more generic, the content repository. I think to be successful managing the customer experience, you need to be able to quickly access and relate all elements of a customer interaction with all the internal knowledge your employees have about not only the customer, but the processes used to work with a customer. You can do that if you have a single content repository to work with.
Many content management systems today are designed to store content not as html pages, but as individual components of content that can be easily reused across different web pages, mobile sites and apps, social networks and more. Managing a single version of that content is important to ensure you are always saying the same thing to your customers. These repositories can also be leveraged by other systems to provide content as well. For example, this content repository could be used by your call center support team to help customers with issues.
Now it’s important to point out that I don’t believe you can only have one single content repository where all information needs to permanently live. I believe that content integration is the key to a well-managed content repository. So you can keep your content in the other systems you work with, but find a way to integrate your content repository with those others systems.
By doing that, you can have a single location to mine for information about your customer and their interactions with you, and to use to design and build new applications or online/offline experiences. A central content repository also allows you to develop support applications that have access to customer information easily, including any information from CRM systems, traffic information, etc…
Today’s content is not only the material you use to develop your CXM strategies, it’s also the interactions customers and prospective customers have with you. Having it all accessible in a centralized content repository will help you identify, design and refine your CXM strategies quickly. If you are required to move from system to system to gather all the intelligence and information you need, you are going to spend far more time hunting and gathering, than actually doing something.
Barb Mosher is a guest columnist for MindTouch and Managing Editor for CMSWire.com. You can follow Barb on Twitter @bmosherzinck