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The Holy Grail of Customer Engagement

Imagine having a single view of every customer interaction with your company at your fingertips. From the time they walk into your stores, visit your website, tweet about your products, or reach out to your call center for help.  Now imagine how you can leverage that data to create a differentiated and seamless user experience. 

The new buzz on the street is all about the need for an omni-channel approach to engaging customers. Companies want to deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels and touch points to customers, whether it is an in-person interaction at a store, a mobile device, a phone call, a tweet, or an email. To find the Holy Grail of customer engagement, one must first integrate traditionally siloed customer engagement functions—marketing, sales, and service—into a single platform.


The Channel-less Experience

As customers interact with your company, they want a single view of your products and services, and a consistent experience with your brand as they learn about your offerings, make a decision to purchase, and seek support after the sale.  They don’t see these touch points as channels; for them it is a channel-less experience that is a series of interactions.

As a company, whether you have a B2C or B2B model, you want to enable that channel-less experience by creating a seamless integration through all touch points in your customer’s journey, from marketing to sales toservice.   But if your company is like many, your marketing, sales, and service functions are largely separate, with isolated systems and processes. While marketing is busy targeting customers with offers, sales is trying to build relationships or generate revenue, and service is working to minimize costs while maximizing satisfaction.  Few or none of their efforts are integrated, so the company never achieves a 360-degree view of the customer.

Without the full view of your customer’s activities, you don’t have the data and visibility to anticipate customer needs and behavior to respond with the right strategies and offers that drive sales and build long-term relationships. Just as bad, customers experience a fragmented view of your brand.

Customer engagement platform

The solution to customer engagement is a single platform that integrates all customer data and unifies all customer-facing processes, giving the customer a single view of your company, and your company a single view of the customer.

SAP HANA is the power behind our customer-engagement platform.  SAP HANA has the capacity to capture huge volumes of structured and unstructured customer data and dynamically analyze it in real time. It enables you to not only understand your customers, but to analyze their past behaviors to anticipate future desires. So, regardless of where they are in the buying journey, you can respond with the offers and actions that engage them and give them the experience of their choice.

Of course, while technology can help drive the integration of marketing, sales, and service, it’s not a panacea. Integrating siloed functions also typically requires change management to evolve mindsets from function-focused to customer-focused. Fundamentally, it requires a shift from an inside-out to an outside-in view of your operations and your value proposition. You need to view your company from the perspective of “a day in the life of your customers”—their needs, their wants, their frustrations, and the drivers for why they choose to interact with your brand.

Industry-specific, customer-centric

Whether you’re in retail, telecom, or professional services, each industry needs to approach customer engagement differently.  Your customer-engagement platform needs to be customizable to meet your industry-specific needs.   SAP’s Customer Engagement and Commerce strategy does exactly that.

In the consumer products space, coffee machine-maker Nespresso is using SAP’s Cloud for Customer Engagement solutions to deliver a seamless experience in stores, on its e-commerce Web site, through its mobile app, and in its call center.  According to CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin, Nespresso can deliver “the ultimate coffee experience” in part by maintaining “a direct dialogue with our consumers and Club Members.

In telecommunications, T-Mobile is capturing mindshare and translating it directly to revenue with our cloud solutions. Like Nespresso, it’s emphasizing consistency across channels, with a particular focus on social media. For example, the company responds rapidly to customers or prospects who ask questions or express dissatisfaction in social channels. T-Mobile can point to a growing number of social media engagements that have resulted in new and retained customers.

Professional services companies are also leveraging our SAP Cloud for Customer Engagement solutions to transform how they engage with their clients. For example, Ernst & Young is bringing all client interactions into a central platform to more easily serve as a trusted advisor to their clients.

Companies that understand how their customers interact with them and act upon that information, will find the Holy Grail of customer engagement and can capture the market.

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