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By Peter Gergen, Solution Architect CX

Seriously, what is the main reason your customers leave the store without buying anything? That they were ignored? Or even worse, that they weren’t recognized as a customer at all?

One of the first and most important experiences as a customer is to be recognized as such, or even better – to be addressed by name.

Once I was flying with a German airline to a customer meeting. On the plane, the flight attendants announced it was my birthday and gave me a small bottle of sparkling wine. I was so impressed by the service that I booked my next five flights exclusively with this airline.

So, if a company knows the customer by name, if it knows immediately what their exact needs are, what interests them the most, and where they need help, it makes them feel valued and they will gladly come back.

Here are a few examples of what a shopkeeper should not do:

  • Data reliability: Wouldn't it be fatal if the customer Mrs. Miller was addressed in store as Mr. Meier?

  • Data availability: Does it make sense to know the customer’s name or their needs only after they have left the store?

  • Compliance and consent: How would you feel if the shop owner put an advertising brochure in your briefcase without your permission?

  • Correct segmentation: What would customers think of our service if they were interested in roof terrace laminate and were offered dog food instead?

What applies to shopping at the local store applies even more so online. There, it is much easier to recognize who enters the store and what interests they have. However, the business needs to have the relevant customer information available during the conversation.

So where should a company start? After all, customer data is located in all sorts of systems. The answer is a central repository because so many systems (for example marketing, CRM, service and support, ERP and whatever else there might be) have customer data. Only when all this information is put together and evaluated and made available is it possible to have a full picture of the customer.

How, then, can companies delight their customers?

Basically, there are two questions they need to answer:

  • How can I address the customer?

  • What should and may I talk about with the customer?

The first question is about identifying the customer and checking whether we already know them. If not, we should ask them for this information. However, if we already know them, we should know their name, whether they have allowed us to approach them, and what their interests are.

To answer the second question, we should check what activities and events related to this customer we already have in our data set and how we can use this information to provide the best possible experience for them.

What sounds so simple in these few sentences is associated with a certain challenge in real life. Even smaller companies have a large number of customers and prospects. They also have many systems storing the relevant customer information. To meet this challenge, a corresponding system must provide all relevant data in real time for this one profile – the very second the customer enters the store or starts browsing the Web site. That system must be able to provide a 360° view of the customer exactly then when it is needed. It must be able to segment customers into interest groups and respond to customer interactions to provide the service needed right now.

How CDP helps you to convert masses of Customer Data into valuable insights

OK, 360° view of the customer, customer journey, customer segmentation... you’ve probably heard these terms a million times before. And also, that the SAP Marketing Cloud can already do it all.

That’s not really true: Marketing systems have limitations. SAP Customer Data Platform eliminates those limitations. How? With seamless integration with the system infrastructure, with real-time processing of customer data, by processing data in compliance with customer consent and data protection regulations.

SAP Customer Data Platform is certain of each customer’s identity because this data comes from a Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution: SAP Customer Data Cloud. It not only provides the name and profile of each customer, but also information about each customer's consent. This information is required to correctly deal with each customer as an individual. This “foundation” is a prerequisite for using SAP Customer Data Platform (CDP). Only when we know the customer’s identity and how we are allowed to engage with them can we collect, normalize, process, and deliver their data to engagement systems such as marketing and customer service.

The Customer Experience Feedback Loop

Using SAP CDP, we can complete this circle: Customers provide information about themselves and the data is processed and evaluated in the CDP to improve each customer’s journey. The final step is to forward that data from the CDP to output channels such as marketing, service, commerce, Web site, chatbot, and so on. These systems use the data to guide the customer in the most relevant way, which in turn leads to the customer engaging with us long term and hopefully remaining loyal. SAP CDP does not differentiate between SAP systems and non-SAP systems. It is open to all data silos in which customer data and customer activity is located and can be processed.

In the past, SAP used the image of the 360° view on the customer: Years ago, we had a CRM system graced with this metaphor, then we had the SAP Marketing Cloud. But it is only today, with SAP Customer Data Cloud, that we are delivering on all the promises associated with such a vision: The sum of all customer data, brought together in a unified profile, provided with the customer's permission to mine these data diamonds. And all this is possible in real time, incorporating all – really all – data sources. SAP Customer Data Platform finally supports SAP’s customers in the best possible way so that they can do business with their enterprises in the best possible way. 

More about SAP CDP:

Customer Data Platform: The Core Element for Customer Information

The Real 360° Customer View – SAP Customer Data Platform in Action

Data Governance and Compliance in CDP

Unlocking Value in CX Development: The Way to the Perfect Set of Use Cases

An Architectural Look at Integrations with SAP CDP