At United VARs, we run Centers of Excellence (CoE) that bring together our leading members for specific SAP solution areas such as SAP CX, SAP BTP, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business ByDesign. In these groups, our members exchange best practices, discuss how to overcome any challenges and share ideas about building on the existing SAP technologies.
We asked some of the key members of the United VARs CX (Customer Experience) CoE to tell us about CX for SMEs (Small and mid-size enterprises): what it is, how it can benefit both the customer and the organization, their advice for organizations who want to start optimizing their CX journeys, and what CX trends they’re noticing in the mid-market.
You can listen to the full, 22 min podcast with Javier Alonso García, Marketing & Commerce Senior Advisor at Seidor in Spain; Bill Dunn, President of Dunn Solutions in the USA and Lukas Kerschbaum, Managing Director at B4B Solutions in Austria. Below are a few highlights from their discussion.
United VARS: What is CX?
Javier (Seidor, Spain): Customer experience refers to the feeling a consumer has towards a brand. This feeling is built into all the touchpoints that the company makes available to these end consumers, either digital or physical ones. So that means if I'm asking for info regarding a product, or I'm placing an order either in the digital channel or in the physical store, these touchpoints and moments of truth are where my customer experiences are.
Bill (Dunn Solutions, USA): People are now looking at this as a new way of establishing a relationship with the customer. So this year we are seeing a lot of interest in digitizing that customer experience.
United VARS: Could you explain what a customer journey is?
Lukas (B4B Solutions, Austria): There are five stages along a typical customer journey. There's an attention phase where you're trying to attract attention towards a new product or service. Then the consider phase where you’re trying to get as much information on your customer as possible to really serve them the right content at the right time. Then you go into phase three, the buying part where the customer decides whether to purchase online or in person at a store. Then there’s the service part, which is critical in the B2B space, and finally the loyalty phase, which is where your customer becomes the advocate for your business, your products and services.
Bill (Dunn Solutions, USA): When we talk to customers, we see that many times the journey is handled by different parts of the company. There are silos where marketing is involved in the awareness phase then the customer journey shifts over to sales and then to services.
What we're seeing now is that there’s a bigger awareness that we have to track the customer throughout this back-and-forth process. Nothing is more frustrating as a customer when sales don’t know that you are already a customer or aren’t aware that you've already asked questions, or that you've been to the website 500 times already. The more information that can be shared, the better a company can service their customer.
United VARS: What CX trends have you noticed in the mid-market?
Bill (Dunn Solutions, USA): The mid-market is getting more sophisticated through the use of technology. They are able to extend their sales teams and their reach a lot further than they were able to without technology. We have a customer that is selling food products and each product has a lot of certificates and other information. They were talking to at least six people every day and faxing and emailing documentation to potential customers. This content is now available on their e-commerce catalogue. So the customer can go to that catalogue and find the information they need by themselves.
So we're seeing this wider trend of leveraging digital is now coming down to the mid-market and it's a win for the customer because it's easier for them to get the information they want. It's a win for the company because they're spending less on people interacting with customers on things that are fairly straightforward. And it's also a win for the company because those people could be reallocated to do more strategic things and actually create a better relationship with the customer by helping the customer out on strategic items.
Lukas (B4B Solutions, Austria): There are two technology trends I’m seeing. The move into the Cloud and also the new technologies that are becoming more commoditized, which certainly helps mid-sized organizations. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now affordable. We have a customer that manufactures hospital beds with IOT sensors. So they can know which bed is in use, whether it’s a regular bed intensive care bed and so on. That helps hospitals to know in real-time, their inventory data which is totally critical.
Over the last two years, chatbot technology has come more into play. Bill was referring to customers doing their own research in their own time. Chatbots are a great way of applying that 80/20 rule, by dealing with the 80% of requests that are easily answered.
Javier (Seidor, Spain): If I'm a mid-size corporate, I’m facing a lot of new technologies, along with wanting to overcome the different silos gathering together all that data to better know what the customer is expecting. So if we take these two things into consideration, a lot of technical features (in CX systems) and silos, you should be guided by some integrated CX partners that can pick those technologies that apply to your specific context. Not everybody can embrace all the technologies that they can see in the market. That's why using different integration partners makes sense.
Listen to the full podcast discussion
About United VARs
United VARs is a global alliance of SAP solution providers for the mid-market. With over 70 members in 100 countries, the alliance serves all types of SAP rollouts and integrations across the world.
Seidor is one of the founding members of United VARs, offering a broad portfolio of solutions and services, which include consulting and implementation and application development and maintenance. Seidor has a direct presence in 40 countries.
About Dunn Solutions
Dunn Solutions is a digital commerce and business transformation consultancy, and a United VARs implementation member for the USA.
About B4B Solutions
Based in Austria, B4B Solutions is a United VARs implementation member for the German-speaking countries, and an innovative IT service company within the All for One Group. Their mission is to support companies on their way to digital transformation using state-of-the-art Cloud software solutions.
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