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Reaching the goldmine of transformative data

Our digitised society continues to introduce countless new routes to customer engagement. With the pace of tech innovation, it’s hard for firms to keep up.

To build a loyal customer base in a digital era requires a new approach of ensuring a consistent and further personalised experience across the entire customer journey. Many firms will feel that they already have access to a 360 view of the customer, but how many are mining the data across all aspects of the business and applying it in real time to engage with their customers in the moment when it matters?

Is the technology in place to simplify the reams of stored data? And to what extent is it leveraged to better delivery and take your business into the future?

Drilling through to an omnichannel approach

Digital transformation has touched every industry, and the pace of change accelerates with each passing year. Brands know that they need to go beyond traditional methods in order to rapidly achieve innovation -- with two-thirds of CEOs planning to focus on digital transformation strategies by 2017.

So there is no time for businesses to rest on their laurels. Instead the boardroom debate should be centred on how to differentiate, adapt and meet ever changing buyer behaviour and digitally empowered customers. Being equipped to better serve a new type of customer that is digitally connected, socially networked and better informed than ever before is the end-goal. So how do business leaders begin to navigate within such a radically different landscape?

Look first at the new interaction channels in the offering. Customers now expect more ‘convenient’ choices that allow them to engage with a brand anywhere and everywhere, so that they can be in control of their own customer journey. This makes the customer service technology ecosystem ever more complex. Consider also that there are nearly 2000 marketing vendors in the market today each poised to solve a new challenge. But very few can manage the entire customer journey, leaving brands with systems that don’t connect and hence cannot provide a frictionless customer experience. This will not suffice in a digital age. A siloed approach means that key data will fail to be shared across all touchpoints and the customer’s experience will turn sour.

As such, organisations are currently faced with the challenge of delivering a true omnichannel experience to their customers – delivering on the promise of convenience, relevance and speed. Using an end-to-end service platform opens the doors to help the entire business to target and engage as soon as data is intercepted.

Discovering the value of data

Data is the fuel that drives true marketing transformation. By gathering superior customer insights that can help form a deep understanding of the customer, brands will have the power to steal the market.

When the modern customer engages with a brand, they expect each interaction to be personalised in context of the last and in the moment when it matters to them. What makes them tick, what trends are they leaning towards, and what matters to them right now? This presents a great predicament of how to build these unique data profiles quickly enough to be able to act on them in the moment.

Legacy CRM systems simply don’t have the ability to interpret the volumes of data in real time, to truly personalise this approach. And with just five per cent of marketers confident that they can adapt and predict the customer journey, this calls for a new approach that takes CRM into a new phase.

Mastering the delivery of a consistent and relevant omnichannel customer experience should be a priority in a digital era. It allows firms to aggregate key data and apply insights, and ensure a customer journey is connected from marketing, commerce, sales to service and billing. Without this joined up approach, customer data cannot be fully utilised, insights can’t be shared and the customer experience will be impacted.

Unearthing the goldmine

In a more complex digital era, companies of all sizes and industry need work more efficiently and use business insights more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. Digitally empowered customers have increasingly high expectations, and anything other than a seamless experience will put brands at risk.

It’s clear that real-time customer insight and an omnichannel approach is the future of CRM. The race is always on to predict, adapt and deliver relevant, timely customer engagements, across all channels. If a company fails to take this lead then it’s certain that someone else will.

Volker Hildebrand is Global Vice President of Customer Engagement and Commerce at SAP Hybris