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Author's profile photo Claus Andresen

The role customer experience plays in high performing SMEs

In my second post of this series around the Oxford Economics and SAP study, I will touch on the importance of customer experience for SMEs. With big e-commerce days such at Singles Day and dare I say Christmas shopping, coming up – there’s no better time to touch on the importance on engaging customers digitally and making that experience count!

Consumers are now able to acquire products and services from all over the world with ease, and they expect memorable experiences when interacting with brands they love. This is more pronounced with the unprecedented move to digital channels because of COVID-19. Consumers are now accustomed to the seamless, one-click and end-to-end experiences offered by e-commerce players. The question is, how can fast growing mid-sized businesses match these heightened expectations in this new digital experience economy?

Getting behind the customer psyche

According to the study, the top ingredient in providing high-quality customer experience lies in offering high-quality products and/or services. While this may be an obvious factor, many mid-sized businesses may not be fully aware of the important role emotions play when it comes to customers’ purchase decisions.

It is critical for SMEs to go beyond just paying attention to customer feedback but also understand the feelings and emotions behind their actions. Think of it as “experience” data. SMEs that have access to such data will be able to better pinpoint the disconnect between what customers think and what is really happening, especially insights into what they need to better understand the emotions and motivations of their customers. Armed with these insights, SMEs can then go about building the optimal environment for customers to feel positively enough about their products and services to make the purchase.

Fast and convenient delivery

We have all felt frustrated when a parcel we order reaches us late or there are unexpected delays, which in turn tarnishes the view of that company. We have been spoilt by next-day delivery, something which has become considered the norm. It comes as no surprise that fast and convenient delivery of products or services ranked highly when it comes to enabling high-quality customer experience.

The issue of slow delivery time or unexpected delays can be traced to multiple causes – including production delays, inventory challenges or sudden surge in demands that the business is unable to match. One way to overcome this is to increase visibility into your supply chain via a digital supply chain. This will not only provide a complete end-to-end view of suppliers all the way to customers, it is also intelligent. Relying on predictive analytics, a digital supply chain is able to predict spikes or disruptions to any part of the chain – empowering fast-growing businesses to take the necessary actions to ensure disruption is mitigated or even prevented.

Offering good value

Contrary to popular belief, competitive pricing is not exactly the key determining factor for customers, but instead as the Oxford Economics Study showed, perceived value plays a more important role in customer experience. In fact, customers today are willing to pay more if they are getting more bang for their buck.

Simple strategies to offer more value could include free gifts, discounts on next purchase, extended warranty period or enhanced after-sales support. An intelligent digital platform, with data analytics capabilities built in can not only deliver insights so SMEs can make such decisions with greater precision, it will also be able to help keep businesses apprised of what their competitors are doing, so they can react accordingly.

Act decisively to win in the experience economy


The delivery of experiences might sound overwhelming, however for fast-growing mid-sized companies, agility is on your side. Lean into that ability to be able to pivot and adapt quickly to meet the changing expectations of their customers.

The strength of the region’s SME ecosystem is of vital importance to its overall growth and SAP remains fully committed to enabling our SME partners during such extraordinary times.

Keep a look out for the final post of this three-part series on helping unlock employees’ full potential. You can read my first post on overcoming internal challenges here.


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