Enhancing the Customer Experience Drives Business

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
customer experience drives business

Customer experience management is among the most challenging aspects of operating a business, but it's the best way to build stronger relationships.

Using Customer Data Effectively

One company taking aim at the problem is Wehkamp.nl, the largest online retailer in the Netherlands, tallying nearly $800 million in revenues annually. The company handles close to 125 million online sessions a year, and 100 percent of its sales take place over the Internet. In the past, half of all sales involved the company's contact center.

"We had a lot of verbal interaction with customers," notes Ewald Hoppen, Web analytics team leader. "When we moved primarily to the Internet, the personal touch wasn't there."

Wehkamp.nl depends heavily on loyal customers and repeat sales, but attempting to route more calls through the contact center and have reps spend more time with customers wasn't the answer. "It's too expensive," Hoppen says. "We had to find a way to use all the customer data we have and put it to use more effectively."

The company turned to Coremetrics in 2006, and Unica and Tealeaf in 2007 (all now owned by IBM). The Coremetrics and Unica software tools provide sophisticated analytics and campaign management capabilities. Analysts are able to combine historical data and clickstream data in order to examine behavioral patterns associated with browsing, buying and other activities. They also are able to pinpoint key factors and then personalize and target communications more effectively, which leads to higher clickthrough rates and improved ROI, according to Hoppen.

Meanwhile, the TeaLeaf solution allows managers to review sessions from all angles. For example, a Web analyst might review a session in a different way than an e-commerce manager or customer relations specialist.

Managers can examine random interactions, but they're also able to identify problem sessions by matching audio and Web recordings with Twitter tweets, e-mails and complaint calls. In addition, a Web analytics feature identifies unusual patterns that might indicate a problem.

In some cases, executives assemble different people from different teams to better understand what's going on within a session. "We have different people viewing the same problem from different perspectives," Hoppen explains. "So we are better able to identify a solution."

In fact, Wehkamp.nl has trimmed the time required for problem resolution by 40 to 60 percent, while improving customer responses. This comprehensive approach to CEM also helped the firm better identify problems and structure training in a more targeted manner.

Finally, the company is able to use the data to better optimize its Website. It has captured three customer usability awards in the Netherlands during the last five years. "CEM has made us a much better company," Hoppen concludes.

Full Sale Ahead

Capgemini's Girouard says that when organizations use CEM effectively they typically witness an increase in sales, higher customer satisfaction rates, better results from promotions, fewer abandoned online shopping carts, better customer advocacy on social media channels and increased employee satisfaction. "CEM can tie all the pieces together" and create "an all-channel experience," he notes.

For IT, the challenge is to build out a more flexible IT platform that supports a single view of customer data. This means tying systems together in a more integrated and comprehensive way, along with tapping clouds, mobility and big data in new and innovative ways. "Tight collaboration of functional and IT leadership is critical to CEM," Girouard says.

"Organizations must achieve a single view of the customer," adds Strativity Group's Arussy. "Technology is critical to CEM, but it also requires a strategic framework based on identifying and understanding key issues and metrics.

"When a company maps out the entire customer experience and puts tools and systems in place to assess all the different touch points across channels, it is in a much better position to succeed."

This article was originally published on 2013-05-14
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.