The concept of the customer journeys failing is a challenge: most companies can not yet take advantage of a consistent approach across all touchpoints. Which aspects are essential for a consistent customer journey, Harald Esch reveals in an interview.
An end-to-end customer journey should now be an elementary part of customer relationship management and lead management. Nevertheless, many companies fail. We wanted to hear from Harald Esch, General Manager and Vice President Sales DACH Pegasystems, why this is so. He also explains how companies can create trust and how the use of new technologies can support the customer journey.
Why are companies still far from offering their customers a consistent and personalized customer journey?
Harald Esch: The Customer Journey model captures customer interactions at all touchpoints. The goal is to provide customers with a consistent experience across all channels, thereby binding them to the company and the brand in the long term. However, implementing a smooth customer journey is not trivial, as it involves fast and smooth service, personalized content, and consistent experience across all channels. Regardless of whether the customer contacts the company via the mobile app, the online shop, the call center or in the store – the offers must be coordinated in real time and offer a consistent experience.
Why are so many customer journeys failing?
There are several reasons for this: Above all, there is often no consistency between different sales channels and touchpoints; For example, customers receive different prices and offers online than on-site. In addition, companies often only cover certain touchpoints – they neglect possible touchpoints that customers are active on, such as Facebook or Instagram. It is often forgotten that a consistent customer journey requires well-organized processes and internal transparency. If, for example, a call center agent agrees to deliver a replacement part within two days, then this delivery must be made during that time. If this can not be guaranteed, it is usually because the employee concerned was not properly informed about the storage situation or the problems of the fulfillment partners.
Another point is that companies can not sufficiently identify their customers. You can only accompany customers on the customer journey if you recognize them at the touchpoints. Since many customers do not want to be identified, they either have to be motivated to do so, for example through bonus programs, or methods that combine identification and data protection, such as anonymous placeholders. Last but not least, companies still neglect the customer’s point of view. The concept of Customer Journey does not mean to realize a Company Journey, which focuses primarily on aspects such as sales figures, sales growth or cost reduction. Instead, customer satisfaction or customer experience must be in the foreground.
Where do companies have to go in order to increase their confidence when it comes to privacy?
With personalized services, providers can significantly improve the customer journey and customer experience. The prerequisite for this is the collection of data. The run on customer data has earned many companies the reputation of “data octopi”. Here, companies must actively counteract this by collecting not only unreflected data on a large scale, but only selectively and on an ad hoc basis.
This has also resulted in a survey commissioned by Pegasystems in late 2018. As a result, customers are not fundamentally unwilling to share personal information with companies if they receive a more personalized service. However, it depends heavily on what data it is. Of the respondents in Germany, 57 percent would share the e-mail address, the full name 41 percent and the address 35 percent, marital status and date of birth only 6 percent and the search history on the Web only 3 percent. These expectations of customers must be taken into account by companies when “collecting data”.
Do new technologies and forms of communication in customer service represent more cost-saving measures than an improvement in customer relations?
Not necessarily: The use of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the contrary designed to enable an optimized customer experience – across channels and in real time. Such technologies are an important tool for bringing different touchpoints together quickly and easily in an integrative approach. Examples include digital, proactive, and customer-centric customer engagement platforms with an AI engine that proposes next-best action in real-time across every interaction with a customer. The foundation for this is machine learning, which uses customer and channel data to predict each client’s needs, enabling them to provide the right services for each interaction.
Is there a concrete B2B example for a good customer journey? If not, is there an example of a “hypothetical” B2B customer journey?
For example, a telecommunications company has implemented our Pega marketing solution as a core platform to deliver next-best-action recommendations in real time across all communication channels. The introduction of the solution immediately resulted in a 12 percent increase in sales, a 20 percent increase in contract renewals, and a 15 percent reduction in customer churn.