Digitization is changing much – and nothing

From September 12-13, 2018, decision-makers from the fields of digital business, marketing and innovation met at the DMEXCO in Cologne to define the digital agenda. BSI used the opportunity to conduct a trend survey. The result: Customer experience management is viewed as a top priority among marketing managers, but integration is lacking for a consistent customer experience. Moreover, even in the digital age the marketing focus remains on new customers, while loyalty and complaint management play a subordinate role.

This year’s DMEXCO again broke its own record with 41,000 visitors, 1,000 exhibitors and 550 speakers. The digital community – predominantly marketing managers and digital marketeers from diverse disciplines, came together to learn about the latest marketing trends and for networking. Visitors were also on the outlook for new software, such as solutions that make a positive customer experience (DCX) even possible in the first place.

New opportunities for marketeers

Use of touchpoints in the own company

The trend survey shows: The companies surveyed offer numerous digital touchpoints to provide the customer with a good experience – right where they happen to be, and in real time, if possible. Customers are offered social media, webshops and customer portals online. The latter, in particular, encourage the self-service part of the digitization of customer interactions. Mobile applications such as apps, WhatsApp and geo-based services offer marketeers exciting new possibilities for interacting with customers. Smart phones and wearables supply the appropriate data. Video, live Web chat and chatbots in turn enable attractive sales and service opportunities, as shown by current examples from the retail, help desk, banking and telemedicine sectors.

The trend towards the digitization of customer interactions will grow stronger in the future, as Gartner showed in its latest Customer Engagement Report: Market analysts are assuming that by the year 2022, 70% of interactions will involve technologies such as machine learning, chatbots or mobile messaging. Around 20% of the interactions shall be completed handled by AI by then. These figures underscore the results of the trend survey and clearly show that there is no way of getting around the “digital customer service” era. This, however, means offering more than just digital touchpoints.

Insufficient integration disturbs the customer experience

Connection of touchpoints

To date, only 18.8% of those surveyed have integrated their diverse touchpoints. Nearly half stated that their touchpoints are only partially integrated, while around a third are still flying blind.

“This result is indicative of the phase of digital transformation we are currently in. Decision-makers are carefully scrutinizing the digital customer experience. Nevertheless, the continuous digital customer experience still often breaks down due to processes and integration issues.”

Claude SchulerMarketing Manager at BSI 

This is also backed up by the latest “Digital Customer Experience” study published by IDG. While on the one hand, the technical equipment in the workplace lags behind what is required for digitization; on the other hand, departmental boundaries and data silos hinder comprehensive processes and flee-flowing data – both of which are basic requirements for a positive customer journey. The trend survey showed that this is considered to be a top priority.

Focus on the customer experience (CX), customer retention takes a back seat

Departments in the company sorted by priority

Customer experience management, content marketing and customer journey management were considered to be the most important among the marketeers surveyed. Interestingly, their focus apparently continues to be on new customer acquisition. Loyalty and complaint management lag far behind in terms of priorities, in last place. “This is interesting because customers who complain and who have their concerns handled well, are proven to be more satisfied customers, who remain longer and buy more. Charlotte Malz, Marketing Expert at BSI, stated in interpretation of the results: “Perhaps the old hunting instinct still asserts itself here among marketing specialists, who find the acquiring of new customers to be more exciting than looking after existing ones. A new slogan could contribute towards making existing customer marketing more attractive. This would be a worthwhile effort, particularly in saturated markets.”

In the customer’s shoes: Customer journeys

Designing Customer Journeys

Much creativity flows into the designing of customer journeys: Nearly half of the marketing specialists surveyed are currently designing customer journeys. The survey did not determine whether such customer journeys are designed to begin before the purchase, extend across all touchpoints and assume the customer’s perspective. One-fifth of those surveyed would like to pay more attention to this topic.

Need for automation

Two-thirds of the surveyed participants would like to automatically conduct customer journeys, whereas, only 5.5% of them are in a position to do so. Interesting as well is the 27.5% of marketing specialists who are not yet considering automated customer journeys. They assert that automation and individualization are irreconcilable. In fact, the opposite is true: “New digitization platforms such as BSI Studio enable real-time reactions to individual customer behavior, including evaluation of the customer experience and optimization of the customer journey,” Charlotte Malz explained. “Marketeers can thereby generate a digital, and the same time, personalized customer experience in real time – ‘having your cake and eating too’, so to speak, in the digital customer experience."

See dmexco blog article