Chief Marketing Officer

SAP’s VP of South Region Offers Tips to Improve the Customer Experience

Fred Soller, Vice President of South Region at SAP, shared tips to help marketers build customer trust and loyalty during his presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2018 Marketing Leadership Forum in Atlanta on June 21. In his presentation, “Top Strategies for Improving Customer Trust and Experience,” Soller provided insights to help marketers engage with their target audiences and foster long-lasting customer partnerships.

Marketers strive to provide customers with outstanding experiences. Yet few marketers understand exactly what it takes to deliver exceptional customer experiences across all channels.

Sometimes, marketers devote significant time and resources to offer customer support across digital channels. On the other hand, marketers may miss out on opportunities to deliver amazing in-store experiences – something that could make it difficult for a business to get the most out of its marketing spend.

Personalization is a top priority for today’s businesses. If marketers can personalize the customer experience, they could give consumers the support they deserve, regardless of channel. Also, marketers can use personalized experiences to differentiate a company from its rivals.

“At least one out of five of us will leave a brand if we are not receiving a good experience,” Soller indicated. “It is even worse when you start to look at Gen Z, which [wants] instant gratification.”

Today’s always-on, always-connected consumers want personalized experiences, and in many instances, are willing to pay more for best-in-class support. As such, marketers must learn about a company’s target audience to understand exactly what consumers want from a brand. Marketers then can tailor their day-to-day efforts to provide personalized experiences to customers and keep pace with consumers’ expectations.

“We’ll pay for better experiences,” Soller pointed out. “But the reality is we’re trying to understand why we’re not [providing better experiences].”

Although marketers understand the importance of personalization, they often struggle to implement effective personalization strategies. With a data-driven approach to personalization, however, marketers can understand a business’ target audience. Marketers next can use customer feedback and insights to tailor their everyday efforts to fulfill customers’ requests.

“[Most] marketers are not satisfied with the efforts they are putting into personalization,” Soller noted. “[Most] marketers don’t have sufficient data and insights to drive personalized brand experiences.”

Having the ability to connect with consumers across social media and other digital channels is paramount, too. If marketers can provide personalized experiences in real-time, they could drive consumers to share their positive brand experiences with others. As a result, a company could stand out from the competition thanks in part to the personalized customer experiences that it provides via digital channels.

“The customer is always connected and always on, and the customer is able to get information from friends and family,” Soller said. “If your brand is not providing consistent experiences, the customer is getting a different opinion [about your brand] from somewhere else.”

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other state-of-the-art technologies are available to help marketers quickly collect and analyze customer data. If marketers incorporate these technologies into their everyday operations, they can learn about all aspects of the customer experience. Then, marketers can use in-depth customer insights to drive personalization like never before.

“We have technologies at our disposal … and if you’re not utilizing them, you’re missing out on ways to streamline your business and create better overall experiences,” Soller stated.

Failure to personalize the customer experience may have far-flung effects on a company. If companies lack real-time customer insights, they could struggle to keep pace with rivals in a rapidly evolving global marketplace. Perhaps worst of all, businesses that cannot deliver personalized customer experiences are unlikely to foster long-lasting partnerships with consumers across a wide range of channels.

“The customer experience has to be personalized,” Soller indicated. “And we’re missing opportunities to convert buyers because we’re still planning on monthly and quarterly budgets instead of planning near-term.”

Going forward, marketers must track their day-to-day customer engagement efforts. By prioritizing data collection and analysis, marketers can obtain the insights they need to provide personalized customer experiences. Plus, marketers can use these insights to find innovative ways to connect with consumers.

“We’re wasting money on [marketing] spend,” Soller said. “We need to be tracking every single attribution effectively.”

Consumer insights are valuable, and marketers who can use these insights effectively may be able to achieve “nirvana” as well, Soller noted. That way, marketers can provide personalized experiences to all customers, at all times.

“[Marketing] nirvana involves knowing the customer and understanding their likes and dislikes,” Soller pointed out. “The customer then can get the content and information that he or she wants to see … and [can enjoy] a seamless experience.”

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 Marketing Leadership Forum: The New CMO, Where Performance and Brand Intersect in New York, NY on Sep 30, 2019

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