Five questions for… Patrick Ganzmann, CEO CEC Deutschland and Alexander Fetzer, Business Developer at valantic
valantic’s Customer Experience (CX) Division has made its reputation through its participation in high-quality CX/UX strategy projects, digital business, and platforms, and CX and CRM implementation. Since January 2021, this division has received powerful support from Alexander Fetzer, who as Client Value & Innovation Manager in Mannheim will especially function as a contact person for digital target groups. We spoke to Alexander and Patrick Ganzmann, Partner at valantic, about the goals and priorities of the sector and trends in the CX environment in 2021.
Hello Alexander, welcome to valantic! After many years at agencies, you’ve joined valantic. What inspired you to take this step?
For a long while already, I’ve wanted to focus much more on topics such as technology, product, and service design, and new digital business models. These are tasks whose surface I only scratched in my previous role as an agency manager.
The reason: today, companies need more than a “colorful campaign”; they need a digital ecosystem, a better and more innovative product or an entirely new service. The digital customer experience is the crucial differentiating factor now, not the “big idea.”
After initial discussions with Patrick and his team, it quickly became clear to me that the valantic Group with its comprehensive range of services, its size, and power of innovation, has very persuasive, future-oriented ways to successfully overcome the challenges and exploit the opportunities of digital change and design a “digital growth story” for its customers.
Hello Patrick, you have taken on a lot in the new year in the customer experience sector. What can your customers expect from you?
For retail, the Corona year 2020 was a record year. But with a sharp shift to digital platforms. Suffering the most were brick-and-mortar retail, companies with a large sales force, and physical customer service. Some of our customers realized with dismay that a good, channel-spanning digital customer experience for CRM, marketing, sales, and service are critical for developing their businesses.
The added value that programs to optimize customer experience create, has become obvious to many companies. We are seeing this across sectors and regardless of the sales model. However, it’s not clear to many companies how they can create value through digitalization. That’s why we’re so happy to have Alexander. With him and with our team, we hunt for value-creation “treasure” by digitalizing customer experiences.
Alexander, do you already know what your focal points will be in your first few weeks?
Today, companies have completed only an estimated 10% of their “digital journey.” Most of the race still lies ahead of us. At some companies, we see an implementation problem; at others, an insight problem. Right now and in the next few years, what’s critical will be not just to optimize existing business, but to discover and implement new business and service models. Not just “better business,” but “new business” will have a decisive impact in the next few years.
Our concern will be to put the spotlight on valantic’s comprehensive offerings and increase the familiarity and profile of the brand as “the leading CX powerhouse.” We are pitching with McKinsey and Co., meeting the big players in the industry on a level playing field with regard to services. Our goals are to advise regular customers comprehensively and consistently, to help them implement state-of-the-art, innovative digitalization solutions, and to acquire new customers in selected industries and in the upper mid-size market.
In customers’ heads, valantic is still trapped by the image of the IT systems house. However, our strategic planning and advising starts much earlier and includes the entire value creation chain; 100% integrated, seamless, and regardless of the technology used.
What are the biggest trends in the customer experience management sector?
Patrick: A megatrend from which we are profiting greatly has its origins in the early 2000s: “The age of the customer.” Thanks to technical innovation, nearly all market have developed from supplier markets to demand markets. Since then, customers have become the only kings. And they take advantage of their position every day with regard to their shopping behavior.
This has resulted in tectonic shifts: Customers use their digital channels and inform themselves in depth about even the most complex products and services. Classic corporate communications and sales no longer have to explain things to customers in detail in the majority of cases. At the same time, demographics have determined that the demanding, well-versed, “digital natives” are taking responsibility and occupying positions as decision-makers.
That’s why the topic of CX is so present today. With seamless customer experience from a single source and with consistent customer communication across all channels, companies can significantly distinguish themselves from the competition. Here, technology is just one side of the coin. The other one is at least as important. Companies have to eliminate internal information silos and work with partners and suppliers across company boundaries in order to become more competitive and successful on the demand markets.
Alexander: as a consulting and implementation partner, I believe valantic is in a very strong position here. The valantic Group helps customers with the entire digitalization process and offers strategy and organizational consulting, technology and marketing and sales optimization, all from a single source.
How has Corona changed the business?
Patrick: In general, Corona has accelerated digitalization. With the falling away of physical interaction, the customer journey has become more digital. Only people who can “play along” fast enough will be able to enhance and expand their business models.
Alexander: To me, it seems that Corona has functioned like a fast forward button for developments in many areas of the economy, especially with regard to education, health, and sustainability.
In 2020, we experienced for the first time how important digital networking on a whole new level is. What we’re seeing now is a fundamental transformation of business models and a complete reconceptualization of most value chains. And this has to happen because the existing value chains, ways of working, and processes are frequently still inefficient and too little oriented toward customer relationships and employee benefit.
Now the concern will be to redesign business models and offer digital customers touchpoints in a focused, courageous fashion. In my opinion, this will be the big idea of the next few years. Corona has also shown that e-commerce has definitely become the heart of many companies and industries.
Thank you very much for the conversation, Patrick. Thank you very much for the conversation, Alexander.