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Customer experience has been a priority for brands across all industries for several years now. So why does customer experience seem to be getting worse instead of better? And how can intelligent CX help drive better results?
According to Forrester’s annual CX Benchmark Study, CX scores dropped between 2021 and 2022 for the first time in seven years.
There could be a lot of reasons for this. With relentless inflation, shrinking budgets, stressed supply chains, and global unrest, companies have struggled. And after the pandemic, customer preferences and priorities continue to change, making it even harder to keep up.
But the crux of the problem is the simple fact that customer experience has been a disjointed effort. Companies have dedicated a lot of people and resources to it, but they’re not working together. Siloed efforts only go so far.
Brands can’t afford to lose sight of customers and making things better for them. After all, a business can’t succeed today without satisfied, loyal customers. The key is getting smarter about CX with intelligent customer experience.
A seamless customer experience is a priority for brands today, with 84% of companies that improve their CX seeing increased revenue.
What is intelligent customer experience?
Intelligent customer experience brings teams and data together so that companies can put customers at the center of their business. By breaking down silos and connecting people, processes, and systems, brands can deliver strong customer experiences to drive loyalty.
With connected customer data and AI-fueled insights, companies can personalize experiences, improve operational efficiency, and drive more profitable outcomes.
Intelligent CX puts all teams across the enterprise — service, marketing, sales, logistics and operations — on the same page. Data is the vital link, connecting insights from fulfillment business processes with customer touchpoints such as service and commerce.
This connectivity infuses the customer journey with intelligence to produce the best CX. At the same time, brands get insight to identify their top customers in order to boost efficiency and revenue.
Everything you need to know about customer experience, including: CX meaning, tools, strategies, measurements, and real life examples.
The enterprise, smarter: The roles of the CIO and CFO in intelligent CX
Technology leaders are uniquely positioned to influence customer experience for better outcomes.
The CIO oversees the systems, tools, and processes involved in CX, from customer data platforms and CRMs to ERP, inventory, and finance systems. With their deep expertise and perspective, CIOs can ask critical questions, identify solutions, lead integrations, and drive change across an organization. Meanwhile, the CFO is creating additional revenue and savings for the business by connecting data silos to create a holistic, intelligent CX that runs cohesively.
There are four key characteristics of intelligent CX:
- Industry tailored
Let’s look at each of these characteristics and the business benefits they provide.
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Connecting the dots for better experiences, higher profits
Traditional CRM systems, which have served as a core CX technology, are built on fragmented and siloed data. Without a complete view of the customer, meeting their fast-changing needs is impossible.
Intelligent customer experience overcomes this challenge by coupling operational data such as supply chain information, pricing, inventory allocations, and demand planning with data about customers like buying behavior and service calls.
This brings an organization together around a single source of truth, empowering employees to provide personalized, exceptional experiences.
Internal teams have the visibility they need to be truly effective, and customers have the transparency they want, which builds trust.
With connected data and people, a company can boost efficiency and profitability. For example, sales and service people don’t have to waste time looking for data. They have the right information at their fingertips in order to meet – and even anticipate – customer needs.
Connectivity enables companies to route sales reps to the most profitable accounts, speed service requests for high-value customers, and spot inventory with the highest margin.
in service agent efficiency.
See the (ungated) results HERE.
AI insights take customer experience to the next level
Advances in artificial intelligence offer tantalizing opportunities to improve customer experience. Simply put, AI helps a business dig deeper and analyze faster to truly understand their customers and optimize decision making.
For example, deep data analysis can help brands identify which customers contribute the most to bottom-line revenue. Combining returns data with CX data could reveal customers who have a habit of buying lots of items and returning most, which cuts into profits.
By understanding which customers are the most valuable, a company can prioritize them to boost efficiency and the bottom line.
With insight into customer behavior and preferences, brands can provide relevant, personalized experiences such as tailored product recommendations and offers at exactly the right time and channel.
AI helps companies infuse every interaction along the customer journey with intelligence – without hours of manual work and number crunching.
Generative AI promises to help businesses improve customer service, boost engagement and conversions – but must be governed responsibly.
Intelligent CX: Adapt to change, at your own pace
Composability is a growing IT trend, but it’s not for everyone. Essentially, it’s a modular approach to operating a business so that it can quickly adapt to change by moving components adding and subtracting pieces. But managing a composable business – and all the modifications – can be complicated and expensive.
At the same time, companies can’t keep up with shifting customer demands and evolving market conditions by sticking with monolithic software systems that aren’t easily changed.
SAP supports hybrid composability, which starts with enterprise customer experience platforms that brands can build on, based on their individual needs. Companies use only what they need, compose on their own schedule, and can tap a large network of vetted partners for guidance.
This approach gives companies the ability to build to their unique requirements, move fast, and plan for the future.
Industry-tailored: SAP intelligent customer experience
When it comes to CX, it’s not a one-size fits all. What works for a manufacturing company may not be the best fit for a retailer. Each industry has unique needs, market dynamics, and specific customer requirements.
SAP understands this. We fuel our solutions with 50 years of industry experience. Combined with a wide range of business process solutions, our deep knowledge helps companies meet the pressing needs of their industry and their customers.
With built-in industry capabilities, our CX solutions enable brands to drive efficiency and reach their goals faster.
In addition to our extensible solutions, we partner with industry experts that help our customers further tailor CX for their individual needs and goals. Customers can have confidence in certified partner extensions, which accelerate time to value.
Customer experience in utilities can be improved by taking a holistic approach that combines processes, people, and technology.
Improving retail CX: Examples and benefits
To understand the benefits of intelligent customer experience for industries, it helps to look at specific use cases.
Retailers are challenged on so many fronts: Soaring inflation, supply chain issues, and demanding, sometimes fickle, customers who are increasingly looking for ways to cut costs in a down economy. They have no margin for error when it comes to CX.
Here are some of the ways intelligent CX helps retailers deliver on their promises to customers and stay ahead of evolving shopper preferences:
- Customers want seamless shopping and fast delivery. Integration with ERP systems provides transparency into item availability when they browse online. This avoids the frustration of ordering a product only to find out a few days later that it’s not in stock. It also gives sales and service reps the information they need to help customers when they call about delivery status or an issue with their order.
- Personalization is a priority across all industries, but especially so in retail. With AI-driven analytics, retailers can service the “segment of one” to personalize shopping experiences and meet customers’ unique preferences, at scale. They also can distinguish their high-value customers from those that are repeat returners in order to create customized customer journeys to maximize profitability and boost sustainability.
- With all the changes in retail, including growing demand for omnichannel options, retailers need to reimagine stores by connecting physical shops with digital channels, and develop new business models. Composability and expert partners help brands innovate to stand out in a packed market.
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Driving change in CPG, automotive, and utility
Beyond retail, other industries getting results with intelligent CX solutions include consumer packaged goods, automotive and utilities.
CPG: Under pressure from cost-conscious consumers, growing competition, and sensitive supply chains, CPG brands must win customer loyalty while increasing efficiency and profitability. Connected systems break down the silos of revenue management, supply chain, and demand generation to improve CX and optimize operations. The adaptive nature of intelligent CX helps them build new direct-to-consumer relationships while AI boosts in-store execution.
Automotive: From carmakers and suppliers to dealerships, the automotive industry has varied business models, all are focused on building long-term customer relationships. AI-driven insights helps them boost customer service and provide buyers with personalized experiences that drive loyalty. Composability helps them build direct consumer relationships through new subscription models and deliver after-sales value.
Utilities: In this hyper-competitive and highly regulated industry, companies are exploring new revenue streams while looking to increase efficiency and customer lifetime value. Connected processes and teams enable utilities to get closer to the customer through personalized services and lower operational complexity. Analytics and composable systems help them adapt to a changing regulatory landscape and boost resilience.
Keeping promises, profitably
Technology leaders have a lot on their plates. Managing digital transformation in a volatile economy is daunting. But by remaining focused on the customer, they can build a strong future for their companies.
With intelligent customer experience, brands across all industries deliver on their promise to customers, every time. They’re agile, profitable, and ready for whatever’s next.