Evolving to the new age of customer experience

Evolving to the new age of customer experience
Marcus Ruebsam is SVP, Global Head Solution Management at SAP Hybris. Marcus is globally responsible for defining the products and execution for SAP´s Solution Portfolio for Billing, Commerce and Marketing. His primary areas of focus are customer intelligence and profitability, loyalty management, marketing resource management, omni-channel marketing and the social customer. Marcus has an extensive track record of leading Sales & Marketing organizations for B2B and B2C – including sales, brand management, marketing communications, product marketing and business development.

The evolving demands of modern-day customers have made it increasingly challenging for brands to engage with audiences. The digital age demands that brands quickly get to grips with digital platforms, which by their very nature encourage lower tolerance to poor customer service. The digital age is also unforgiving.

Our research with the CMO Council found nearly half of North American and European consumers will abandon a brand and take their money elsewhere if they repeatedly encounter “a poor, impersonal or frustrating customer experience across channels of engagement.”

With over 51% of web traffic coming from mobile phones these days, it is always surprising to encounter brands that have a strong online presence but don’t have an optimised mobile experience. It’s boggling that some brands are so far behind when today’s customer is mobile-first.

The need for speed

Change is happening fast in the digital world.

Mobile sensation Pokémon Go reached 50 million users on Android platforms a mere 19 days after launching, while the ‘Space’ version of Angry Birds amassed the same number of users in 35 days.

Compare that to the iPhone taking three years to reach the same userbase, while it took Facebook 3.5 years, television 13 years, radio 38 years and the traditional telephone 75 years, and it’s clear the rate of digital innovation is increasing at scale.

the modern customer journey is too vague and unstructured for modern processes

These rapid advances in digital adoption are indicative of the fact that the modern-day consumer expects immediacy in all areas of their life, which creates a conundrum for brands that aren’t in a position to cater to these needs. Not only are they demanding, but the customer journey is no longer linear – in fact, most purchasing journeys are very non-linear.

The modern customer journey is too vague and unstructured for modern processes, channels and touchpoints. It can start anywhere, anytime and move in any direction – even backwards and in loops. Most importantly, each journey is unique. It snakes and shifts, depending on each customer’s needs throughout.

Case in point; a potential customer now might see an advert while waiting for their train on the way to work, start researching the product on their phone whilst on the train, ask people for their thoughts at work or via social media, then pop into a store after work to get a feel for the product, and then only decide to purchase it when they get home later in the day.

Regardless of channel – be it website, store, contact centre, email campaign – the experience must be consistent across the board. Brands must be agile enough to provide a single and consistent customer experience. But to take this one step further brands must be able to provide personalised and contextual experiences. This means allowing each customer to take their own journey, ensuring they are contacted at the right time via the right medium, and have access to the relevant information to what they’re looking for at hand when they need it.

Kicking eCommerce Goals

The essence of good customer experience is giving customers what they want, when they want – engaging and transacting with customers regardless of place, time or device.

brands need the agility to meet the high expectations

A shining example of this in practice is Arsenal Football Club which transformed its online retail site ArsenalDirect, allowing fans to shop faster, anywhere, anytime and with a choice of currencies. Momentous events provide the London-based football club an opportunity to react and engage with fans. Key events such as the FA Cup Final success, player signings, and new kit launches result in a significant boom in web traffic.

With these milestones driving e-commerce traffic, Arsenal sought a technology platform that could effectively manage and capitalise on these spikes in demand. The football club opted for a commerce platform that provided a speedy and reliable shopping experience for its supporters, across all mediums. The omnichannel solution has yielded excellent results since implementation, with Arsenal experiencing an 86% increase in mobile transactions and 57% reduction in page load time.

In this age of increasingly demanding customers and the rise of mobile, it is crucial for brands to perfect their interactions or risk losing out to more nimble competitors. Brands need the agility to meet the high expectations consumers now have.

The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ has never rung truer, and brands must ensure that they not only understand the individual needs of their customer base but are also harnessing the latest tools on offer to help them achieve their goal of perfecting the customer experience.


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