By Lindsay Britz, Marketing Manager | Magic Software SA
Building a full picture of the customer journey is extremely challenging.
Considering the many different systems used to capture customer data (including websites, social media, email, phone CRM, ERP, eCommerce, point-of-sale systems, mobile order-entry apps, transportation and logistics systems, field services apps and customer support systems), providing a single view of all customer interactions is almost impossible.
With all of this complexity, it’s not surprising that very few companies can claim full integration. However, despite the strong correlation between integrated customer data and success at creating a cohesive customer journey across different touchpoints, some companies still don’t share any data across systems. In fact, according to a survey conducted by salesforce.com, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of mid-sized business have not integrated any of their customer data systems.
Don’t think “data”, think “customer experience”
So how do you truly achieve a 360-degree view of the customer journey? First of all, it’s important to clarify why you want a full customer view. It’s not really about getting a 360-degree view of data; it’s really about capturing the entire customer experience.
Many companies make the mistake of focusing on pure data integration rather than on the business processes and workflows that should be optimized to create a cohesive customer journey. Without an in-depth analysis of the various customer-related processes, the resulting solution may not provide the needed business impact. For example, the resulting system may omit manufacturing information needed for sales people to communicate important product delivery dates, or the data may be included but run in batch files, making it already out-of-date when employees use the information to respond to customer inquiries.
Analysing processes before system integration is essential because it can expose redundant and unnecessary tasks. In addition to creating extra work, inefficient processes can cause tangible business risk. Suffering through these gaps causes organizations to be susceptible to human error; experience slower response times; sustain increased process costs; and suffer deteriorating employee satisfaction. Analysing processes can also uncover when employees are missing important information for specific functions, and when data is duplicated unnecessarily.
End-to-End Process Re-engineering
Optimizing the customer journey is about streamlining every step of the journey from beginning to end, including sales administration, order processing and customer service. In order to optimize the customer journey you need to analyse data across the different systems, and most importantly to trigger processes between the systems.
This means you need a system integration solution that does more than just data integration, you need one that handles real-time business process orchestration as well. Building a real-time architecture to support customer experiences means spanning multiple systems with triggers, alerts, alarms and escalations.
The goal is to use all of the integrated data to surround customers with a quality experience that satisfies and delights them so they become raving fans.
Instead of simply integrating data between different systems, automating customer facing processes across IT systems is the best way to improve and optimize the customer experience. Knowing and optimizing every step of the customer journey is the best way to ensure customers aren’t lost along the way. A cohesive customer journey will help strengthen your brand, attract new customers and keep existing customer coming back.