Magic Happens When Companies Close the Customer Experience Gap

Gartner researchers predict that by 2022, more than 50 percent of major new business systems will incorporate continuous intelligence that uses real-time contextual data to improve decisions.

In this video interview at the recent SAP TechEd event in Las Vegas, I saw how organizations are already closing the gap between a company’s promise and the actual customer experience.


“This is our experience management vision. It’s not about receiving a customer survey with a score; it’s about closing the customer experience gap,” said Sumita Jayaraman, director of Product Marketing for SAP C/4HANA. “You need to respond in a timely manner to all the data you collect. If someone gives you a good review, send them a discount offer quickly. If someone has negative feedback, act fast to fix it.”

Open Source Opens Doors to Agility

While it might seem like social media outrage is fueling massive corporate response to unhappy constituents, the reality is much more nuanced. Whether someone is a consumer or employee, their experience consists of millions of moments, translating to touch points on multiple devices and across enterprise systems over time. Corralling all that data into consistently meaningful responses requires significant integration. This is where SAP C/4HANA Foundation and SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory come in. According to Jayaraman, these solutions allow developers to quickly connect data across different applications such as SAP C/4HANA and Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics).

“SAP C/4HANA Foundation is based on open source microservices, so developers can quickly build extensions in consumable chunks without disrupting core business processes,” she said. “For example, a company using SAP Commerce Cloud and SAP Service Cloud can connect data from a mobile app for the customer loyalty program, along with information from sales, services, and retail stores. Developers can easily build the entire customer journey for where their business needs to go.”

She added that this kind of agility is critical when technology is rapidly changing.

Bringing Data Together Improves Customer Experience

If companies don’t get data integration right, they could lose big. Gartner researchers predicted the top 10 global retailers will use contextualized real-time pricing, through mobile, to manage and adjust in-store prices for customers by 2025. They also said that within two years, 90 percent of large enterprises will not achieve competitive advantage through mobile strategies. The culprits? Siloed investments in mobile customer engagement technologies.

“IT landscapes are heterogeneous, typically making data integration time-consuming and costly,” said Jayaraman. “However, when you can easily combine operational data from SAP C/4HANA with experience data from Qualtrics, companies can deliver a superior customer experience as one consistent brand. The more companies can integrate their data, the more seamless the customer experience can be.”

Customer Experience Matters Most

The two examples Jayaraman shared during her video demonstration typified how companies can turn everyday customer contact into new revenue generation. She said that rewarding customers who provide feedback strengthens their bond with the company. Equally important, immediately responding to negative feedback can help reduce customer dissatisfaction or head off further risks.

On a personal level, I’m always happy with a discount from submitting a survey. But that’s just part of the story. The customer experience is the new differentiator for organizations in every industry, both B2B and consumer markets. Closing the customer experience gap is the new business imperative.