A few weeks ago headlines blasted out that SAP says CRM is dead – long live Customer Engagement and Commerce. The bold statement was timed to match with the release of hybris 5.3, the first release of hybris Commerce Suite which natively ties into SAP ERP, SAP Cloud 4 Customer and SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence, forming a solid platform of HANA-based customer analytics married with ERP-driven process execution. (Coincidentally, Bilot has been married with all those partners for a long time!)
Behind the big death statements, I’d say this really boils down to getting the old omni-channel promise done right: Know your customer and what he needs, and give him individual, consistent, relevant service and offerings in all situations, across channels and touchpoints. In the warehouse. On the phone. In the store. On the web. On the shop floor. During contract negotiations over a fine (or greasy) dinner. It’s ambitious, but not rocket science. Still a lot of companies get it all wrong today.
Some recent, unfortunate experiences of customer engagement failure:
- A big retailer recently sent out a yellow campaign broschure. “For more info on this product line, check our site”. I checked their web site, searched for the products using any possible search terms – 0 search results. Why, oh why?
- A big provider of operating systems has their key offering available as-a-Service, attractively priced for consumers. I signed in, signed up for the service.. But for some reason, I was soon again prompted click “sign up” again. Why didn’t the site recongize I already had the service? After clicking sign up again, my account held two subscriptions for the same service, which caused the account service to crash. Why, oh why?
- A big provider of photography related software has also their offering available as-a-Service. I signed in and signed up, started enjoying the software. But despite being signed in, I still see full-page banner ads promting me to get aboard the service I already have. Why, oh why?
- A company specialized in ICT related training keeps sending me emails promoting trainings I should sign up for.. Despite the fact that I HAVE signed up already. Why, oh why?
- A retailer of house appliances and electronics allows you to buy goods online or reserve products to pick up from a brick-and-mortar store. Excellent omni-channel service, I thought! That was until I realized – the hard way – that picking up a product from the store, without first “booking” it for pickup via the web shop, ends up with a 25% higher price. Channel consistency failure.
- My bank fed me with promotions to sign up for a loyalty program. One of the benefits promoted was to get a NFC compatible payment card. I had to fill out multiple forms to sign up for the card. At the end of the customer journey, I got informed that I would not get the card, because “you already have one”. No, I don’t. Let me repeat: I did not get a card, which was promised to me by the bank, because the bank thought I had one, even though they should know I don’t. I can’t even start to explain how big of a CX and digital marketing failure that was.
And the list goes on and on. All of these failures to serve in a consistent, personalized, context-sensitive manner could have easily been solved with a few lines of code. Getting it right is not about technology – it’s about the way you think about Customer Engagement.
This is why companies need to stop thinking in silos.
This is why companies seriously should consider estabilishing positions like the CDO and CXO- cross-discplinary offices fuelling customer engagement and digital business in a data-driven manner. Put them in the driver’s seat before you start thinking about technology.