CRM Is About CEM!

customer experience

Dealerships could easily generate substantial sales and gross increases on an annual basis by improving the customer experience and satisfaction within the dealership. It’s a proven fact!

Success in business requires you to know that it’s no longer about Customer Relationship Management. It’s about Customer Experience Management as well.


All of us know what customer relationship management (CRM) is, but just to make sure, let’s spell it out: “Customer Relationship Management,” as Wikipedia puts it, “is a model for managing a dealership, organizations interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”

Over the past few years, more and more dealers, leaders, managers and prospects we meet in the B2C  (business to consumer)  part of the automotive retail industry are confused and unsure about the difference between customer experience or engagement management (CEM), CRM, and their respective needs. I’m a big believer in CRM, please bear with me while I make my points.

Wikipedia defines “Customer Experience Management” as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. It is a strategy that requires process change and many technologies to accomplish.”


CEM (some refer to it as experience, I, myself, refer to it as engagement), which means getting to know your customers well by collecting data from all touchpoints, analyzing the data, and using it to deliver personalized engagement back to those touchpoints. This can work to increase loyalty to your brand, result in increased revenues, and decreased attrition.

Some standard models of these platforms include multi-channel automation, big data that connect all data sources, and robust data visualization and algorithms that analyze and score customer content preferences on different channels.


CRM is essentially a database that enables the company to collect interactions with the customer to log them and link them to a single customer view. Each “customer file” includes logged hotline conversations, emails, served invoices, payments made or noted, service requests, products used, and solutions delivered by ticketing systems. The systems essentially help dealerships, organizations and businesses manage integrations and improve service levels.

Another very important aspect is the ability to automate the sales processes so that the sales management processes can be easily streamlined to increase lead conversions for customers and clients. It includes functions like lead assignment, building opportunities, and keeping track of them, etc.

Summarizing the differences:


  • Targeted Users- Marketing
  • What It Does- Understands the Customer lifecycle and provides personalized experiences in all sales and service touchpoints.
  • Effects On Customers- Increases loyalty and advocacy, ROI and Reduces Customer Attrition
  • Customer Information- Gives a general overview of the customer life time-value


  • Targeted Users- Sales
  • What It Does- Manages and automates the sales pipeline, store interactions with customers and prospects.
  • Effects On Customers- Increases satisfaction by providing better services and manages sales pipelines.
  • Customer Information- Mostly a singular viewpoint, the “customer file.”


As you can see, there are some overlaps between CEM and CRM. Both can send emails; both have databases and can store interactions with customers and clients. However, each addresses the many issues from a different angle.

It has been argued that CRM are typically tools for managing sales by B2B companies, whereas engagement platforms and processes that thrive on e-mail marketing are the needs of the B2C industry. Either way, both platform types are making inroads to being suitable for both B2B and B2C.

This brings me to the following:  Is one platform better than the other? No! But that’s the wrong question to ask. The real question that should be asked is what are your dealerships needs? Answering this question honestly allows you to start looking for a suitable solution requiring some form of improvement.

In large dealerships and organizations, CRM and CEM should work side-by-side and exchange client data while each focuses on a different area of the business.

Let’s Recap:

CEM: Enables marketers to provide a personalized experience to customers and clients via collecting their behavior on various touchpoints that increases loyalty and advocacy, decreases attrition and increases ROI. Thrives on B2C.

CRM: Enables Sales and Service team personnel to provide higher levels of value-added services, resulting in more satisfied customers. Allows sales and service teams to automate the sales process to increase and improve conversions. Thrives on B2B.

They are both database driven-platforms that provide information, communication tools, and storage of customer interactions.

The Bottom Line! Let’s make sure we end up providing a better customer experience to all customers and clients.

As we have stated in the past: Business goes where it’s asked for and it stays where it’s appreciated! Get SMART!