Delivering a memorable, personalized customer experience (CX) comes down to understanding what people want and having the connected data to consistently delight them.
Leaders from two Australian-based companies recently shared their thoughts on winning CX strategies during a virtual SAPPHIRE NOW session hosted by Scott Treller, executive general manager of SAP Customer Experience in ANZ.
Connected Data Takes the Guesswork Out of Personalized CX
Laminex is an iconic Australian-based brand; its cabinetry, doors, and other quality manufactured products are ubiquitous in buildings nationwide. The company is digitally transforming its B2B commerce and digital operations to get closer to its trade customers as well as architects and designers.
“We want to use CX tools to drive insights…so we can serve up content and functionality that’s relevant to customers and what they want to achieve,” said Amanda Green, head of Digital at Laminex. “It’s really important to base personalization on the voice of customer data and not just what we think or feel someone might need, and that the information is contextual and relevant to that customer.”
Never Assume What the Customer Wants
IDP Education helps international students study in English-speaking countries. Doing business in multiple cultures and languages worldwide, the company created a CX road map that targeted where digital could add value and, equally important, where it could not.
“It may not be possible for a customer to travel hours to visit one of our offices…or the customer may not want a digital experience…We listened to what worked for the customer and allowed them the choice,” said Chris Costley, director, Customer and Operations Transformation, IDP Education. “This…was a powerful opportunity for us to scale services in a much more efficient and not just cost-effective, but customer-effective way.”
The company selected SAP Customer Experience solutions to help create a ‘digital ecosystem’ that connects customers with company offices for a seamless experience from online inquiry through contact center support and in-person visits.
“Our goal is to respond to customer inquiries in minutes, not hours,” said Costley. “With data from one connected, consistent platform…when the customer walks into the office and registers at the kiosk, counselors know what they’re interested in…We’ve had a fantastic response from our customers.”
Adjust B2C Strategies for B2B Customers
Green recommended building customer insights into all CX touch points, including Web sites, from the ground up. While every industry aims to emulate popular B2C strategies that foster consumer relationships to increase purchases and loyalty, B2B companies still need to adapt those approaches for their customers’ specific expectations.
“Get it right from the beginning and have a long-term road map. For some B2B sites, they’ve been approached from a B2C lens,” she said. “B2B customers just want to get in larger orders quickly, yet they’re given a B2C experience…Some companies set up the Web site…minus customer insights or journey mapping…You need true customer validation from the beginning.”
Root Out Internal CX Bias
Costley warned against letting uninformed opinions dominate CX decisions. Companies need to cultivate an outside-in view that reflects what customers want.
“Avoid the HIPPO effect, where the highest paid person’s opinion dominates the discussion,” he said. “This is not always in the best interests of the customer…If you can’t listen to what the customer is telling you and advocate for that, then internal bias will rule…Build your [CX] business case around the fundamental customer problem that you are solving.”
Figure Out Where Digital Can Make a Difference to Customers
Green also advised taking the time to identify and understand customer segments by capturing and analyzing data from various sources on an ongoing basis.
“Make sure you understand the customer’s problems that they’re trying to solve and…in what part of their journey you can add value,” she said. “You can’t always solve everything. After implementation, review it to see if it met your metrics and did what you expected it to do. If it didn’t, go back and iterate and get the voice of the customer to see where you went wrong and what you could have done better. It’s never done and dusted. CX is always constantly changing.”
Most importantly, winning customer experiences never substitute digital interactions for the human touch where it’s needed most.
“Digital enables us to get to a wider customer segment that could be quite difficult to reach offline,” said Green. “A sales rep can only do so much by themselves…Digital can provide baseline information, like documents or samples people initially request. When the rep visits the customer, they are the cherry on top. They provide the relationship-building and personal attention the customer needs.”
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This blog also appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.