Are Your Customers Happy With Their Digital Experience?

Umut Cikla

Imagine that you are in an airplane just about to make an international flight, when the flight crew announces the availability of a free Wi-Fi network for the passengers during the entire flight. Great! If you were to conduct a satisfaction survey at that moment, the airline probably would achieve marvelous results. Then people start to connect, and a couple of minutes later the first flight attendant call-button blinks, then the question comes: “Sorry, but why is it so slow?”

Similarly, delivering a digital experience to consumers is a double-edged sword for retailers. If Retailer A chooses not to walk the digital transformation path, it’ll probably soon be in danger of becoming irrelevant when its major competitor, Retailer B, starts reaching out to customers on their mobiles or their favorite social media channels proposing personalized, tailor-made products and services. At the same time, Retailer A will still be waiting for customers to come into its stores.

On the other hand, if Retailer B fails to deliver a satisfying digital experience, the company’s call center will soon be dealing with complaints from many unhappy customers, reducing its brand loyalty, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and overall revenues.

The Australian Digital Experience Report 2016 revealed that 41% of consumers define their digital experience with Australian retailers as unsatisfying, while only 25% call it delighting.


Many retailers endeavoring to deliver a new digital experience to their customers mostly perceive it as an IT project with technical requirements and success factors.

But the lack of consumer satisfaction focus and attention to the emotional factors mean these projects tend to fall short of expectations. The same study shows that, after the must-have attributes like security, availability, and reliability, customers’ biggest expectations are totally about emotional factors. Customers are looking for experiences that make them love the brand. They want to be excited and engaged by that digital experience. The consumers also expect customized and tailored offers; they simply want to be treated as a person.

Let’s imagine that a grocery retailer has a mobile app that allows its consumers to do their shopping from their smartphones, then pick up the merchandise at a store. A customer uses the app, selects the items she wants to purchase, and selects a store to pick up the items between 10:00 and 10:30. It sounds quite straightforward so far. But the devil is hidden in the details.

  • Is there an available parking space in the parking lot for the customer?
  • What happens if she arrives 15 minutes early?
  • When the customer comes in the store to pick up the items, who will she talk to?
  • Are her items available and ready, or are there any missing items in the basket?
  • If so, how many more minutes will she need to wait for a replacement?

This can easily turn into a disappointing shopping experience if these and many other points are not addressed properly.

Now, let’s imagine another retailer with a similar app, but better processes. Thirty minutes before her scheduled arrival, the store’s app sends a message indicating the order is ready, with two replacement options for a missing product. The app automatically adds the customer’s loyalty points to her account. Then, when she drives up to the store, she can push a button in the app and a store associate delivers the products directly to the trunk of her car, with no need to get out. This type of experience might be more pleasing, right?

Companies should not underestimate the emotional factors. In fact, they are the ones that make successful companies stand out from the crowd.

Success in digital transformation is not only about technology; it is mostly about how we leverage those technologies to deliver exciting experiences for our customers.

There is no avoiding digital disruption, but the trick is to ensure your customer base survives the transition. Learn 4 Ways to Digitally Disrupt Your Business Without Destroying It.

Umut Cikla

About Umut Cikla

Umut Cikla is focused on growing SAP solutions in the retail and consumer products industries. He is a member of the SAP ANZ Industry Value Engineering team, which works with the broader sales and services teams to showcase to customers the business value of and the road map for SAP solutions to guide them in the relentless transformation to digital in the consumer industries.