Smiles in real time: Future-proofing your business through customer engagement

by Maarten Jansen
With technology becoming more integrated into our daily lives, customer expectations continue to rise. Consumers are becoming accustomed to personalized experiences and a vast amount of data at their fingertips, and their hunger for convenience is growing. Future-proofing your business means developing a new understanding of customer engagement. This means not just reshaping the customer-facing side of things, but redefining every aspect of your business.

It’s all connected

A seamlessly integrated consumer landscape means that we need to put siloes behind us. Touchpoints at physical stores, on websites, and via apps are being woven together into a single customer experience. It is essential that these update in real-time and communicate seamlessly, creating a more personalized experience for the customer. Every part of the supply chain has an impact on customer experience, which is why transparency and integration are essential.

Reimagining customer engagement protects your company against future challenges and keeps you one step ahead of change. Companies need to have a clear overview of what is happening in the manufacturing, shipping and inventory sides of the business in order to cut out inefficiencies and better target sales and marketing. Incorporating new technologies is key, but it’s not enough. We must start by shifting our way of thinking about the customer experience and understanding how to respond in a way that reduces complexity and creates more value.

Redefining customer engagement

Building a single seamless customer experience throughout various touchpoints doesn’t just make customers happier: it provides huge benefits in terms of transparency and efficiency for companies. Companies get much clearer insight into customer behavior, growth areas, and how to minimize risk. Integrating every touchpoint and transaction creates a more cohesive relationship between companies and customers.

This means that every customer interaction, through every channel, influences how a customer sees your brand. Forget thinking about branding as a matter of advertisements and logos, and see it as something that is integrated into every part of the customer experience. Brand perception is no longer a front office matter. Making sure shipping processes go smoothly for example, is just as important as that smile from a store associate.

Building an integrated customer experience

It all comes down to how you use your data, and making sure you have the right tech is only part of the puzzle. It’s not sufficient to just connect everything. The whole system has to work together in a way that optimizes efficiency and leverages data to the benefit of the customer. For example, by connecting the shipping and e-commerce systems to provide customers the shipping details they want in real-time. It’s essential to see every part of the purchasing process in human terms: for the shipping company it’s about meeting their deadline. For the customer it’s about receiving something in time for a birthday.

Creating an integrated customer ecosystem starts with integrating different systems, for example with a “single stack” of SAP components to provide a consistent user experience across applications. This makes it easier to sync every element, from marketing to supply chain management, and to tweak systems to create more customization. But it takes more than that: it demands a new mindset where the barriers between user design, supply chain management, human resources and marketing are broken down. To truly future-proof your business, nothing can be seen as separate from customer engagement.

Ready to level up your business by seamlessly integrating your systems? Get in touch with us here to map out your road to future-proof.

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