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Customer Episode Management

Customer episodes are specific events that begin when a customer expresses a need and end when the customer considers the need fulfilled. By organizing their activities around customer episodes, companies gain an end-to-end view of the customer experience rather than just the pieces of the internal process. This helps companies to break down functional and channel silos to deliver tangible benefits to customers, employees and shareholders.

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Customer Experience Tools and Trends

Our insights share how the right CX tools make customers’ lives richer and more fulfilling and strengthen a company’s economics by holding down costs and securing new revenue streams.

Episode management can increase revenue and reduce costs. One leading global bank boosted its Net Promoter Score®, a measure of customer sentiment, by more than 10% for digital experiences and by 15% to 18% for priority customer episodes. The bank successfully reduced its release cycle from one year to three months and saved more than $30 million by reducing call volumes.

How companies use customer episode management

  • Delivering remarkable customer experiences. Customer episodes touch on many functions in the organization and are not constrained to a single channel. By applying the episode lens to a company’s offerings, it becomes easy to do right by the customer. Improvement initiatives address the whole experience, rather than narrow pieces of the big picture.
  • Improving employee experience. Episode management brings together cross-functional teams to address customer experience challenges. Ideally, a company empowers its teams to make decisions that directly affect customer experience and how employees work. As teams see the impact of their efforts, they bring new ideas forward and go the extra mile to delight customers.
  • Reducing costs. Simplification reduces costs and improves the customer experience. However well intentioned, uncoordinated efforts by individual managers can have the opposite effect. An episode view helps companies optimize with an eye toward results, cost and quality. 

Key considerations with customer episode management

Episode management should complement individual functions, not replace them. Companies that want to manage their episodes need to make thoughtful choices in the following areas:

  • Radically simplify and digitalize experiences. Leading companies are deploying digital technology to meet customers’ expectations, fight revenue erosion and cut costs. Radical simplification goes hand in hand with digitalization and is often a prerequisite. Digitalizing a complex and faulty process yields a complex and faulty digital process.
  • Assign episode authority and accountability. Good episode management makes accountability explicit and empowers executives to make necessary changes. Accountability requires clear metrics that reflect the desired outcomes of the specific episode.
  • Adopt new ways of working. At the heart of episode management lie agile teams that bring diverse skills from across the business. These cross-functional units, usually in the same location, work to improve episodes through defined sprints.
  • Build the right enablers. Leading companies adopt technology, data architecture and processes that help them reach their episode goals. High-velocity feedback loops, for example, can create a steady stream of customer feedback that informs operational and structural improvements to an episode. Episode analytics and customer experience dashboards provide a comprehensive view of performance, helping executives make critical decisions.
  • Agile ways of working
  • Customer experience factory
  • Customer episode design
  • Customer experience dashboards

Net Promoter®, Net Promoter System®, Net Promoter Score® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.


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