Part of the “CIO’s Intelligent Enterprise series”
Whether we like it or not, the use of technology and automation is here to stay. Industry lines have been blurring for a while, forcing companies to question, for example, whether they are retail companies or technology companies. And functional areas such as sales, manufacturing, operations, and marketing need to collaborate transparently and seamlessly now more than ever
So how do we embrace digital change instead of fighting it? How do we retool and reskill our business to innovate and stay ahead of the competition? How do we ultimately become an intelligent enterprise?
The true hallmark of an intelligent business is its ability to unify existing digital investments in a way that improves workforce engagement and productivity, optimizes business outcomes, and more importantly, increases the value delivered to customers in their interactions with the company. Most companies are not using technology for technology’s sake; there are always one or more processes that need to be enhanced, modified, or completely adjusted to improve business outcomes.
Earning customer trust through intelligent connections
I recently met with an executive whose business was experiencing what many would consider a good problem: rapid growth. Throughout the conversation, I was reminded that growth happens when customers are completely satisfied with the brand. In this example, as customer demand increased and order numbers soared, the business had to ensure that the customer experience continued to be amazing for both existing and new customers alike.
Delivering an amazing customer experience involves every area of your company. Customer-facing staff need access to the right information and expertise to increase engagement, secure point-of-sale wins, and provide quality support. Functions such as marketing, sales, manufacturing, and procurement must all understand the behaviors, likes, and dislikes of their consumers to varying degrees to ensure that the brand is delivering on its promises while maintaining product quality and value. And if you want long-term customer loyalty, you need to build trust and deliver value over time with consistent product and service as well as timely delivery and quality.
The only way to give every area of the business the capabilities needed to earn and keep customer trust is to create an intelligent system that integrates data and processes between every customer interaction point. Whether the interaction is online, in a store, or through a mobile device, the purchase process must be easy and consistent end to end. For example, automating repetitive processes such as matching invoices to payments and having access to relevant information on a customer’s purchase patterns enables businesses to proactively suggest a repeat purchase because it is about to run out, or suggest the purchase of a related product because of its relevance. This type of “clairvoyant,” thoughtful customer interaction can set the stage for an overall buying experience that is flawless enough to guarantee repeat business.
And intelligence doesn’t stop with the customer’s purchasing experience. In an economy where consumers are well aware of social issues, it is equally important to know precisely where component parts, food, or other materials are sourced. Consider supermarket chains that are gaining intelligent insight into their supply chains. Consumers can now find out which cow provided the milk for their cereal and that the coffee they are drinking came from beans that were sourced through fair trade practices. By guaranteeing the integrity of products and services, companies can increase the likelihood of loyalty and repeat purchases because customers feel good about the purchases they are making and the impact this has on the world.
Actively listening and responding
In our socially active and transparent world, no company can avoid feedback – nor should they ignore it. Instead, they should proactively respond to show that they are listening and are willing to do something about the issue in question. Only companies that use the intelligence they get from consumer feedback can increase their ability to earn customer trust. In a recent Webcast, Mike Flannagan, senior vice president of SAP Leonardo and SAP Analytics, shared how a sports team is ensuring real-time quality control of the fan experience by installing satisfaction machines that are similar those found in an airport. If managers spot a concession area that is underperforming the rest of the stadium, they can investigate the situation immediately and make changes immediately instead of waiting until the next game – when it’s probably too late and the fans have decided not to return.
Embracing the next frontier of digital transformation
Businesses that embrace the concept of running intelligent operations are not just making smarter decisions and transforming workforce engagement. They are also reinventing the customer experience, responding proactively to customer expectations, and opening new revenue streams.
These intelligent enterprises are evolving in a smart and automated way to build brand trust and loyalty based on product and service quality – ensuring that their customers will keep coming back for more, which is a win-win for both sides of the purchase transaction.
SAP is committed to enabling every customer to become an intelligent business that continuously achieves desired outcomes and helps the world run better. Discover how you can start on your path by watching a replay of the Webcast, “Join the Customer Experience Revolution.