The majority of customers expect you to go the extra mile to keep their business. Yet 71% of customers don’t think companies are doing anything to keep their business.*

The rules of customer engagement have changed. Acquiring customers is not enough for today’s

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businesses. The goal today is to deliver an amazing customer experience at every interaction so that not only do you acquire and retain customers, but your customers also become your loyal fans, your outspoken promoters.  You must engage customers like never before, along the entire journey from awareness to lead, from opportunity to cash, and from request to resolution. Here are some of the tools that can help make that journey a success.

  1. In-context customer intelligence. Relevant insight enables employees to anticipate and solve customer needs. Make sure you are pulling in and tracking social and online information to understand opinions, attitudes, and sentiment.
  2. Beautiful, flexible applications. Happy, empowered employees deliver better customer experiences.
  3. More than CRM. Social has changed the buyer cycle forever. Your CRM strategy must expand and be able to embrace social listening, social engagement, e-commerce, and cross-organization customer analytics.
  4. One unified team. Collaboration tools should extend beyond marketing, sales, and customer service. This cross-organization orchestration is also the secret to your delivering on your promises faster than the competition.
  5. Seamless workflow. Bring the back office to the front office and vice versa with business processes that span organizations and systems. Your customer shouldn’t feel a transition when they go from marketing, to sales, to delivery, to billing, to customer service, and back again.
  6. Best practices. Save employees’ time for the activities that will make a difference to your customers. A strategic business and technology partner can help you stay on top of the ever-evolving best practices for your specific industry.
  7. Cloud-based agility. You can’t allow internal issues, or questions about whether systems and processes will scale or adapt, keep you from being in tune with your customers’ needs. Let your customer’s changing needs drive your pace of change. Cloud solutions deliver instant value while extending the capabilities of your existing business systems.
  8. Global confidence. Enlist a technology partner with localized solutions, local country representatives, and follow-the-sun customer care.

With these tools, you will not only garner loyal customers, but also people who are passionate and willing to promote your company and products.  People who will influence their peers—and even strangers reading their comments—to become customers, leading to a virtuous cycle of sustainable growth.

Jeff Lautenbach is President of CRM at SAP Cloud. Follow @jrlaute on Twitter or LinkedIn.

* American Express Global Customer Barometer @ http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2012x/axp_2012gcsb_us.pdf

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  1. Hilary Zerbst

    I’d like to add to your first point on in-context customer intelligence.  SAP has put more emphasis on this over the past two years with its SAP-Listens program run out of the Office of the Co-CEOs.  The program drives the customer and partner relationship surveys using a Net Promoter Score methodology.  While the surveys always provide valuable insight, SAP-Listens has conducted additional focus groups to drill down deeper and ultimately provided our Co-CEOs with the key pain point areas for our customers and partners.  As a result, global projects were identified to respond to these areas.  SAP has finally taken a corporate level response to customer insight from surveys!  The complete set of these projects is posted in the SAP Service Market Place.

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