Not all small and midsize businesses are created equal, but they do have an edge over larger competitors when it comes to growth: they understand the value of each and every customer. From personalized offers to relationship-based engagement, they are blazing the path with customer experience (CX) that compels customers to want to buy from them.
Simply put, small and midsize businesses keep their focus on the lifeblood of their business: customers.
But as businesses earn the attention of more loyal customers, growing pains develop, making it more challenging to personally meet the needs of customers, according to the IDC InfoBrief, “The CX Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Embedding Intelligence to Drive CX.”
So how do high-performing midsize businesses overcome the obstacle of doing more without sacrificing CX? They adopt intelligent technologies that help them keep the customer at the heart of everything, such as predictive analytics, Big Data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, and cloud services.
What is CX software?
Many small and midsize businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) software. But don’t be fooled – CX is much more than CRM technology.
CRM software is designed to focus on a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. It uses the data it captures to analyze a customer’s account history and deliver insights that help improve the business relationship, customer attention, and sales growth. However, these functionalities of CRM make up only a small part of the capabilities of CX software.
CX software is a cloud-based suite of marketing, sales, commerce, and service solutions that helps employees create a seamless line of intelligence and processes for the entire customer journey. It allows employees to collect customer-consented data and information with ease and across every interaction throughout the customer lifecycle. It also enables business leaders to understand the customer’s journey to the brand. The software can also take orders, process transactions, monitor deliveries, and detail units sold of a specific product and services
More importantly, CX software can shed light on the areas where your business is underperforming, especially from your customer’s perspective. Think about the time when your marketing colleagues crafted a campaign that emotionally resonated with consumers and increased sales like never before. Now let’s say that a week later, customer service is overwhelmed by calls reporting issues with your products. When sales and marketing are meeting their goals, that department may think everything is fine until the pipeline is depleted. Meanwhile, the customer service team knows when and why sales will diminish.
Customer experience software provides everyone across your business access to the insights of your service department in real time. Managers can assess issues with a product, while empowering customer service agents to immediately remedy customer concerns, rather than passing them off to a different division.
Remember, your business might have many different departments, but the customer sees you as one brand. You can use CX software to assure that each interaction with consumers is unified in voice, no matter if sales, service, or marketing is speaking.
How does CX software work with existing and future business systems?
The openness of CX technology allows growing businesses to connect between different systems. For example, the software integrates with a back-end ERP system and exchanges data with other organizational solutions that support areas such as supply chain and distribution, finance, and inventory management.
CX software can upgrade an existing CRM implementation that stands alone and focuses on a microcosm of the CX, including account and opportunity management. Now, CRM becomes part of the overall CX – from sales performance management, customer service, and field service to marketing and commerce – whether you are in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C).
What benefits should growing businesses expect from CX software?
By replacing manual processes and siloed spreadsheets with CX software, companies can access analytics and a consistent dashboard view, providing everyone with the real story about the entire business. Then as the business grows in revenue, workforce size, and regional presence, everyone knows that administrative tasks and critical decisions are productive, accurate, compliant, and cost-efficient.
CX software primes your small or midsize business for growth by providing the tools to keep your customer happy across all stages of the customer journey.
What should growing businesses consider when selecting CX software?
The key to adopting the right CX software for a growing company is finding a solution provider that will support long-term growth and scale to business needs dynamically.
Let’s face it – no small or midsize business knows with certainty what will happen 3, 5, or even 10 years from now. A competitor may be acquired to add to a growing portfolio of products and services. Customer demand may soar, requiring new ways to handle the supply chain with greater efficiency, visibility, and control. Or economic or industry fluctuations can cause a fast pivot toward a new business model or more conservative management of cash flow.
For this reason, small and midsize businesses need a one-stop shop for CX capabilities that integrate with the overall landscape of back-end and front-end applications.
Discover what specific digital technologies mean to small and midsize companies. Bookmark the Getting Started series page to keep up with the basics of analytics, HR and people engagement solutions, digital platforms, procurement and expense management tools, and ERP and CRM applications.
Shalini Mitha is global head of Portfolio Marketing, Customer Experience at SAP