Improving Customer Experience With SAP

May 23, 2022  |  Mark Hillary

For many years, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was seen as expensive and often not very useful. There are many reasons why CRM has historically been seen this way – the web is full of disaster stories. Budgets can overrun, if goals are not well defined then the CRM will never perform as expected, and often it is just seen as too complex – the right skills are not available in-house.

It doesn’t have to be this way. To start with, it always pays to get some expertise in the room first. Installing and configuring a major CRM implementation is not simple, so finding some expertise is your first mission.

But even more importantly, it is essential to get the management team on board with the reason for CRM in 2022. It’s not just a sales support tool. Designing a great customer experience (CX) now is very different to the past and modern CRM supports this.

Designing customer engagement used to be focused on individual interactions – like managing a call into the contact center. In general a company wants to help the customer as fast as possible and then move on to the next issue. This is where a big change has been taking place in recent years.

Modern customers now enjoy building a relationship with their favorite brand. This means that they will engage in interactions before, during, and after a purchase. Imagine a customer that is a fan of BMW cars. They might be tagging BMW in their photos and regularly engaging with the brand on several social networks even though they don’t have any problem or question that needs to be resolved.

Customers are building long-term relationships with brands and smart brands need to understand this and position their CRM strategy to focus on maintaining a relationship that may last 50+ years – not the length of a call in the contact center.

Systems like SAP can really help - if you take this more strategic approach.

Tools like SAP CPQ allow the brand to dynamically configure, price, and quote products. CPQ not only helps to automate the pricing and quoting process, but it can also advise on which strategies may increase sales – based on the existing sales data. CPQ is also available on the SAP CRM as a Service package, so it only needs to be paid for when used – this isn’t a big additional purchase that may or may not work out.

SAP C/4HANA is another interesting tool for customer experience designers. C/4HANA is a wide collection of various tools that are all focused on improving CX. SAP describes it as: “solutions to support all front-office functions, including consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service. It is an integrated portfolio of cloud solutions, designed to modernise the sales-only focus of legacy CRM products.”

These SAP tools are defining a new era for CRM. The days when CRM was almost impossible to justify are gone – every CX strategy now needs a strong CRM component. You need to be building relationships with customers that last for many years, not just making sales and then forgetting the customer.

These tools are also all cloud-based. So the old days of a CRM implementation requiring millions in upfront infrastructure cost is also gone. These modern tools just require some expertise for the initial implementation and then a little ongoing optimization – there is no reason why more companies should not be exploring these options.

If you are planning your CRM or CX strategy then these tools from SAP could be the lever you need to build great customer relationships that last for decades.

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