With digitalization, the customer journey is being transformed, from analog to digital. Customers in B2B and B2C are already well-informed before making purchases today and they can compare many offers in a very short time. In short, they interact digitally. What effects will this have on the customer relationships of tomorrow?
“The customer is king” – this motto still applies. Classic sales, the kind that were made 20 years ago, took the customer’s significance into account and sellers did their best to assist customers well and make them loyal. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) places customers at the center of the equation, with the goal of obtaining complete information about them – a 360° view. However, CRM is just the means to an end. The focus is not really on the customer. In the classic case, CRM starts with sales; there is no connection between sales, marketing, and service.
In the era of digitalization, customers want a seamless experience. They use various channels and points of contact, so-called touchpoints, to inform themselves about products and purchase them. Today, it’s not just advertisements, trade shows, in-store sales, and flyers that count; digital contact points such as search engines, the website, and social media are playing an ever larger role. What’s often missing in CRM is the consideration of the individual customer journey – “from the mouse to the house” – with all steps, regardless of whether these originate with the company itself or suppliers and partners.
This consideration confronts companies with new challenges. All contact points have to be managed professionally so that there is a consistent brand impression. The customer experience arises from all of the customers’ experiences and experiences with a brand, a product or a company. It’s no longer sales that controls the relationship to the customer; instead, it’s the experiences that the customer has that are critical. The customer acting digitally expects a coordinated overall performance from a company. Customers use different channels and should have a uniform, consistent customer experience across all channels so that the customer experience is successful. The consideration changes from a 360° view of the customer to a perspective that begins with customers and their journey. Customer Relationship Management, with a focus on the customer, becomes Customer Experience management, with the customer as manager of the relationship.
The most important aspect of Customer Experience management is that all processes relating to the customer are integrated. This way, in the future, it won’t just be Sales, Marketing, Service, and After-Sales that ensure control of the relationship, but rather customers themselves.
Our whitepaper: Customers yesterday, today, and tomorrow – From Customer Relationship Management to Customer Experience Management
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