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EDM and a 21st Century Customer Experience


Improving customer experience while adapting to the realities of the 21st century is going to be a critical skill for organizations. Customers expectations are rising, demographics are changing, business is more complex and yet the pressure to reduce costs continues unabated. There are many ways in which organizations should think about the customer experience. One key, clearly, is improving the service that can be delivered by front-line staff such as those in stores or call centers. Another is to ensure that every interaction, not just those with staff but those with your emails, letters or websites, contributes to the customer experience in a positive way. Personalization, making a customer feel that you know them and are responsive to their needs and the loyalty of customers to your organization are also critical. Yet you cannot do everything for everyone, so the resources to be applied must be applied where they make the most difference. And that might be different tomorrow from how it is today.

It is important, when thinking about EDM in customer service, not to focus purely on the opportunities for replacing people with software, something many customer service departments have done in the past. The opportunity for EDM to empower front-line staff to deliver better customer service, while also improving the experience customers have when interacting with systems, is huge. The ability to replace a complex, potentially stressful decision that must be completed in a short time window, such as deciding who is a good customer, and instead make an automated decision can result in dramatic improvements. Getting really personalized can boost response rates while making your customers “feel the love”. All the customer treatment decisions you make (through staff, through the website, through the options presented to a customer) should reflect what you know about your customer. You must, however, know what your objective is in the process of applying EDM to customer service. Perhaps it is to reduce cost with a minimum of impact on customer service. Perhaps it is to improve the customer service of your best customers. Maybe it is about improving customer retention. Whatever it is, EDM can only help if you are clear as to your business objectives. In that, at least, an EDM project is just like other CRM projects – it will only be successful if you define what “success” is before you start.

I am going to cover the role of EDM in the customer in four additional posts/articles:

  • Using EDM to improve first call resolution
    How can that critical first contact with a customer be improved using EDM
  • Using EDM to keep loyalty where you want it
    How do you build loyalty and loyalty to your organization not to individuals within it
  • Using EDM to personalize your business
    How can EDM make every customer feel like you know them and are working for them
  • Using EDM to manage call center (and other) costs
    How does all this keep costs down while supporting growth and better results

EDM is a powerful tool for improving the customer experience. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the series and see how you can use EDM to boost your bottom line.


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