With relevance, convenience and trust to an exciting customer experience (CX)
At the 1st C-level roundtable on the topic of “the battle for the customers of tomorrow - customer centricity, experience & simplicity”, Markus Brunold, BSI CEO discussed the issue with Dr. Andreas Schönenberger from Salt, Martin Grieder from Sonova and Patrick Warnking from Google Switzerland. The panel of experts exchanged experiences and inspiring insights into how companies can react to changing customer requirements to win the battle for loyal customers. The key customer experience (CX) management findings that we took away from the discussion are summarized in the following.
The battle for the end-customer has flared up. Digitalization and new technological possibilities are leading to fundamentally altered customer expectations and customer behavior. Customers appreciate relevance, simplicity and convenience – which often count more company loyalty. Those currently profiting from this change are primarily agile startups, which are penetrating all sectors by means of innovative business models. This places enormous pressure on established players and demands radical rethinking. To compete and win over customers assuming the perspective of the end-customer is indispensable, as well as the ability to critically evaluate business models, offers and processes through his eyes.
From poaching into the digital era
New technological possibilities and accelerating digitalization are lowering entry thresholds for new players in the market: start-ups are meanwhile pushing themselves in between companies and end-customers, poaching in foreign territory. The established providers face the major challenge of holding their own against these young competitors. They manage this, on the one hand, by asking themselves what is relevant for the customer while, on the other, earning their trust. A tailored, personalized dialogue with the customer provides relevance. Trust takes time. The key to success is customer centricity: enter into a dialogue with customers, get feedback and learn from it. Along with this grows the significance of cooperations with the right partners and investments in staff training to make them aware of these issues. That is how companies can make themselves fit for the future.
B2B is becoming B2C is becoming C2B?
The differences between B2B and B2C are increasingly dissolving. The contact to (end-) customers is growing ever more important in all sectors. Customer feedback provides insight into trends and preferences. Only if you are aware of these can you choose the right dialogue and offer relevant services. Customers today often embrace those companies which offer them the greatest added value and highest level of convenience, regardless of existing relationships to other providers. Professional, central customer journey management together with customer touchpoint management are therefore indispensable. It is not merely a matter of classic marketing automation or individual customer acquisition processes, but rather taking the entire customer lifecycle into account.
Most companies have recognized the significance of this change and are looking to design attractive, cross-functional customer experiences. However, what frequently happens is that that the focus on the primary task – clarification of individual customer expectations – gets lost in internal struggles over responsibilities and the creation of new resources for a better customer orientation.
“The key to success is customer centricity: enter into a dialogue with customers, get feedback and learn from it.”
Markus Brunold, CEO at BSI
Keep it simple
Simplicity is the magic word for customers: simple processes, clearly named products, intuitive operation. Simplicity supports the optimization of various important dimensions: the user experience is enhanced, costs fall and the company becomes more agile. Easier said than done, this requires a fundamental renovation of the corporate structure, which impacts all functional areas. Other crucial issues include data quality and evaluation strategies: Which (customer) data is available to the company and what can be drawn from it? This requires smart tools that intelligently compile data across all touchpoints and organizational borders, and make it accessible for use.
More trial and error in Switzerland please!
To find the right strategy for customer acquisition, companies must be agile, willing to experiment and quickly get rid of what does not function. Swiss perfectionism and a marked fear of failure often stand in the way of this process of trial and error. Greater courage is required. This is compounded by the fact that many companies are simply too slow. Projects that do not deliver the desired effect must be quickly shut down; what has been learned from them must be identified and discussed openly.
If industry leaders wish to avoid losing their customers to start-ups, new paths must be taken and investments made in knowhow, skills and intelligent tools in the area of customer experience management. But who is now responsible for this transformation? The answer is: everyone in the company, from top managers to marketers, IT experts and sales staff. Ideally, each and every employee drives innovation, initiates projects and suggests improvements in the customer experience. Only when everyone in the company pulls together can the company manage to reorient itself and win over the customer of tomorrow.