People yearn for experiences that are authentic, convenient, and, above all, trustworthy. However, companies can miss the mark when establishing these connections.

What is missing? Innovation that stimulates differentiation and growth by uniting the needs of the business with those of the customer.

Successful customer experiences are the ones that resonate with people’s deepest instinctive behaviors. Humans have always sought out authenticity, convenience, and trust, which is directly tied to an inherent desire for a meaningful life. Any interaction that does not carry this emotional value signals a reason to walk away empty-handed.

Although the customer experience is undeniably human-centered, technology is shaping a new era of authentic engagement. Businesses now have access to Big Data insight that can help them understand their customers and predictive analytics in order to sense their needs. Now, with a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning embedded in most solution investments, specific processes, communications, and interactions can be automatically triggered to motivate a new potential sale.

But even with such a diverse selection of technology, there may be moments when some experiences are not as seamless and connected as they should be. This reality is what inspires SAP to continue building and expanding a portfolio of SAP Solution Extensions that can help businesses bridge those customer experience gaps.

Growing Importance of Omnichannel Experience and Operations

Whether a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) sale, transactions can be initiated, processed, and completed through any variety of channels. Businesses can support the demands of each touchpoint with standard software. However, the real power of such an omnichannel business model is best realized by centrally consolidating the management and monitoring of all transactions, peripheral devices — such as scales, scanners, kiosks, mobile devices, and printers — and customer interactions.

With this approach, businesses can support the back-end processing of transactions across the omnichannel point-of-sale (POS) experience, such as:

  • Payments: Process all forms of payment, including mobile payments.
  • Returns: Save all receipts and make them available throughout the entire store system to streamline returns and prevent multiple returns of the same item.
  • Mobile couponing and marketing: Increase revenue with opt-in marketing programs that send customers targeted offers.
  • Promotions and loyalty programs:Implement customer loyalty promotions with ease and handle traditional and digital vouchers to reduce errors and potential fraud.
  • Digital signage:Use a second monitor at the store-level POS to display customer receipts and promotions.

mobile consumer assistant can further support the omnichannel approach in ways that can help increase a brand’s appeal to customers. Businesses can reach customers through a mobile channel, enabling the opportunity to provide personalized services to customers anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Such front-end activities may include mobile payment initiation, self-service scanning, and coupon and discount e-wallets.

For sales and marketing teams, technology can ease the burden of communicating with customers and partners in ways that are unique and resonate across many channels. They can collaborate to create assets and streamline approvals, repurpose and identify digital assets for campaigns, and facilitate asset distribution. Marketers can also gain better visibility into marketing asset statuses, including rights and usage, while automating and controlling brand standards.

For example, a digital asset management solution gives representatives a single source for quickly acquiring and distributing product and service information, as well as marketing assets, across all channels – in-store, mobile, Web, social, and beyond. A document presentment solution enables those communications to be personalized, augmenting the customer experience and making every interaction more productive for sales and marketing teams.

Digital Marketplaces that Build Brand Equity

Online marketplaces are offering a wealth of opportunities for growth and expansion. They capture real-time information that can help businesses better understand and fulfill customer needs. Meanwhile, customers have access to a one-stop shopping experience that is fast, convenient, and transparent.

With the assistance of a commerce marketplace management application, businesses can build, launch, and run a marketplace that strengthens their portfolio of product and service offerings. More importantly, companies can act on insights that energize customer relationships while driving revenue and long-term loyalty.

Motivational, Relevant, Profitable Promotions and Programs

The right promotions and incentivization programs can shorten the sale cycle and keep customers open to returning to the brand in the future. But making sure these strategies remain profitable is an entirely different matter.

An incentive administration application enables businesses to support, enable, and integrate promotions and programs. They can model, report, and analyze their outcome to calculate rebates, royalties, commission accruals, earnings, and settlements. Plus, profit loss from missed cost recoveries, such as rebate or royalty claim opportunities and overpayment of incentives, can be identified early on.

Process Optimization for a World of Disruption

Nothing is worse than the sale that is almost won. Somehow, there is a breakdown in the experience caused by a lagging process or lost request.

Customers do not have any patience for a transaction process that is less than optimized. They now expect businesses to deliver a seamless experience that reliably meets their expectations – done right the first time, every time.

To help businesses ensure they do not fall victim to the sale that got away, targeted technologies can be integrated into existing sales systems to support specific tasks such as:

  • Process mining: Assess business processes running within enterprise solutions – such as commerce, marketing, sales, and services – and pinpoint areas for improvement through data-based discovery, analytics, and visual representations.
  • Knowledge content for customer support: Resolve queries quickly and efficiently by providing both customers and customer-support agents timely access to relevant product information through a self-service portal.
  • Paybacks and chargebacks: Preserve profit margins with a reliable process for validating and executing claims accurately and efficiently to maintain positive supply chain relationships and avoid revenue loss.
  • E-signature management: Bring flexibility, security, and accelerated execution to the customer engagement process with an automated workflow for electronically capturing, storing, and managing legally binding e-signatures with full visibility and control.

Customer Experience that Delivers on Expectations

By leveraging the ever-expanding portfolio of SAP Solution Extensions, companies can deliver the trusted, personalized experience that their customers expect – every time. But more importantly, every interaction with a customer is never a wasted opportunity.

Now that’s a customer experience made for everyone.

Next time we’ll explore how SAP Solution Extensions can help ensure investment in intelligent ERP can unite business intelligence into one source of truth while reducing data entry and processing costs.  Learn more about SAP Solution Extensions at sap.com/solution-extensions.