Some businesses still confuse and even question the importance of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Customer Experience Management is the set of strategies and practices used by a business to build, manage, and improve customers’ experiences through the analysis of data. In contrast, Customer Relationship Management is more of a platform or software tool that analyses data collected from customers to understand and improve the relationship between customers and business.

Well, they both deal with customer information and customer experience. When well applied and combined, they can add value to the business since they will provide insight and make the customers happy. They differ in the specific areas they focus on.

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CEM deals specifically with information on customers’ experience in all their interactions with the business. Through the analysis of that information, we improve future experiences. 

On the other hand, CRM deals with keeping the customers that the company already has by analyzing and improving their relationship with them.

CEM is composed of the methodologies and actions taken to improve the experience. Hence before doing that, the company will need to track, measure, and compare the current experience to previous ones in order to see what customers are demanding. 

In that way, it will be easier for a company to know precisely where to invest and if that can add value, generate profits in the long term, and build a strong customer loyalty as they go through their journey of exploring the companies’ products and services.

Customers are the most valuable asset of a company, alongside passionate employees. Because of that, companies have to make sure that their relationship with customers is good. That is where CRM comes in handy. CRM deals with the strategies used to improve customer retention and boost sales.



We cannot have a business without customers; they are super important, and so is their experience, which needs to be continually improved. 

By analyzing data of the best and worst experiences customers had with our business, we have to learn and iterate our operations to make sure that customers keep coming back to the services. 

The need for more customers and loyal ones drives businesses to update/change how they approach customer retention initiatives and their experience.

Start building an approach to customer experience management and customer relationship management is not enough; there’s another critical step, which is MEASURING customer experience and customer relationship efforts. 

One of the easiest ways to measure CEM and CRM is through feedback given by customers. Plan to collect them in all personal interactions since people do not really want to spend five or more minutes filling surveys. 

People know that we have machines performing some human jobs nowadays but still want to feel a personal touch when interacting with a company’s customer care center. For example, not automated answers.

They know they can give feedback and expect things to get better when a human being is on the other side of the call. Personal interactions make a big difference. That is where CEM comes out strong, using its methods to analyze and learn from the feedback to improve customers’ experience further.

CRM is more software and platforms but also uses strategies and practices to make the relationship between customer and company better.

Microsoft Dynamics is one of the many software used in CRM. It uses data and gives insight into the relationship a customer maintains with a company, such as the customer’s habits, amount of time and money spent per session, items category the customers look after, etc.

CRM can help make informed future decisions about possible campaigns to be implemented. For example, if many customers acquire a certain product, updates can be made to improve the products or add promotions, maybe items, and the product.

CRM will predict what customers want to see on their website or stores. Based on that information, implement strategies to make that a reality and create a welcoming environment for customers arriving there. 

Unlike CEM, CRM does not have to wait for customers to get there to start its work. It starts before the customers even come in contact with the business.


Although both CRM and CEM deal with customers, they play different roles in the specific focal point they operate on. Each of them well applied will increase the business’ productivity since they deal with a business’s most important asset. When combined, they can exceed the expectations of customers.

CRM software will provide a mechanism to divide customers into categories and likes to target future sales. So, here, customers are still raw data, and CEM, in turn, will make each one of those customers more personal, creating a better service experience.

Like the former president of Neiman-Marcus, Stanley Marcus, once said, Consumers are statistics. Customers are people“. 

It is crucial to show how caring a company is towards its customers; that alone will ignite a customer’s sense of appreciation and know that the company is dedicated to its customers as human beings more than just sales and profits.

That customer focus approach adds a lot of value to businesses, for they not only guarantee loyalty from a customer but may also be paving the way for potential new ones.

Companies investing revenues on experience management get significant rewards and stay ahead of competitors not adopting or adopting the strategy later. Combining CRM and CEM will provide that because they are already amazing by themselves, so when they come together, their pairing will be remarkable in giving a perspective of what customers are doing, feeling, and will be up to.

They will give real-time insights, describing both what the customers did during the interactions and how they felt about those interactions. Putting customer data and experiences will facilitate looking into a group of people more specifically and understand why they relate the way they relate to the company, what they wish would be different, and exactly how.


When looking at customer experience, companies may keep a list of possible things to change according to surveys and other forms of customer data collected during customer and company interactions. Yet, those changes’ results to the business are unknown, which is a barrier when convincing the stakeholders to invest there.

Joining CRM and CEM data will make it possible to predict changes made in the business due to data and feedback received from customer surveys and behavior.

Other metrics will also be impacted, such as sales, revenues, deal size, number, and characteristics of customers complaining or rating a product as good.

Those will be essential in deciding which changes to apply and how those changes are going to affect a specific group of people, so bringing together these two is a win-win, as customers will be getting new and better experiences, and the company can be assured that their investment is informed, thanks to the data collected from the same customers, so they both benefit from it.

In conclusion, CEM and CRM both deal with customer data and can be combined to uplift experiences, sales and revenues but are still two different tools, two approaches to collect and use data to improve the services provided to the customers.

CEM tries to ease customers’ interactions and please them at every touchpoint, while always looking for ways to improve their experience, and building awareness in other parts of the business for the need to focus on the experience of the customer. While CRM tries to understand with what products and services customers are engaging, and what else they’d want more, so it can promote other related products or services, and increase engagement and retention of the customers.

Emidio Amadebai

For the past 2 years, I have been working as the head of Customer Experience, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Finance at an international pay as you go solar home system company working in rural areas in Africa. After my previous 7 years working in B2B, IT&Telecoms industry, as a Service Delivery and Project Manager, having worked with Vodacom, Huawei, and other multinational companies. My job is to make sure we improve the lives of thousands of families, with access to electricity, utilities (radio, TV, lights), doing our very best so that they get the best-in-class customer experience, and succeed in acquiring the products for themselves.

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