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Author's profile photo Werner Baumbach

Experience Management in Wholesale Distribution

Ever since SAP announced its intent to acquire Qualtrics there has been a lot of talk about experience management and how the combination of operational and experience data will give you a competitive edge. Three quarters of the Fortune 100 companies are already relying on Qualtrics for insights that drive growth and profitability. So, what can Qualtrics offer to Wholesale companies? Let’s take a look at some examples:

Wholesale is about operational excellence. We strive to optimize operations to deliver exceptional customer services and drive customer loyalty. To achieve this goal, we define KPIs, measure and track performance and try to find the right levers to always get better at what we do. But what if our view of what customers think is actually different to how they really feel. We have a range of KPIs about process run-times, service levels and performance figures but very little insight into how well our products and services are received. By combining experience data with operational insights, we can add a new dimension of understanding to our quest to deliver premium customer services. For example, we know that we meet our service levels on returns, but what does the customer really think? Is there potential beyond pure run times to do things better and ultimately drive customer loyalty?

Following a similar logic, we can use this new dimension to optimize the product offering. We know what sells well and what stays behind expectations, we have return rates and we try to measure sales and promotion effectiveness. With experience data we can add a new level of understanding. Why are certain products underperforming? Is the quality bad? Are the descriptions potentially misleading? Are there better alternatives on the market? We can use this experience data to improve our positioning, optimize our catalog, design new (potentially own) products or even create new service offerings.

Understanding how our customers view our products and services is key to building and keeping long term relationships. A central element in building and managing such relationships in Wholesale is of course long-term agreements or incentive and rebate programs. As we know, such agreements can be quite complex and seem to be only limited by the creativity of the negotiators – which does not seem to be a true limitation. With this complexity comes the challenge of tracking success, calculating achievements and overall understanding the performance of such agreements. Often this can also lead to disputes between business partners on what the actual entitlement is. A lot of effort for a sometimes uncertain outcome. With experience management we can now use our insight on what elements work well for our customers, which they don’t like and where they potentially don’t really understand the agreement. It can help to stream-line our negotiation strategy, modify elements and overall make sure that our intended sales goals are in line with what drives customer satisfaction.

Just a few examples how experience management can change the way we do things with products, customers and operational excellence. If you are interested to learn more about Experience Management, check out

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