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SAP Thought Leaders Urge Executives to Think Differently About Customer Engagements [Video Interview, Part 1]
Volker Hildebrand and Sameer Patel comment on the changing nature of customer relationships and how businesses should view systems of record and engagement.
Posted Aug 5, 2016
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One of the many insights shared at the 2016 CRM Evolution conference, held in May, is that the nature of customer relationships is changing and that businesses must respond. After a presentation on this topic by Volker Hildebrand, global vice president at SAP Hybris, and Sameer Patel, senior vice president of product management at SAP Hybris, I asked them what’s changing and why businesses must respond.

“Innovation in technology, internet, mobility, social media, etcetera…is changing the game for everyone,” Hildebrand said. “It changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we buy, the way we sell. And, at the same time, we’re also seeing that customers are actually changing the rules of engagements in part by leveraging some of these technologies. And now the big question is, ‘Okay, the game is changing, the rules are changing, if you are an organization what do you need to do to not only keep up with it but maybe leverage this as an opportunity to better engage with your customers?”

The CRM world, which often focuses on the system of record, or the customer record, is being challenged to integrate with systems of engagement, or any system customers touch. So, how does this change the way organizations must think about systems of record versus systems of engagement?

“Systems of engagement are actually purchasing systems, in a way, if you think about it, because most of the vetting is happening on those systems that prevent the customer from dropping off, or from not converting,” Patel said. “So we have to stop thinking of just a place where I see a cash register and a catalogue as the system of record where I buy. I’m sorry, the system of record where you buy is from the time that a customer begins engaging, wherever that is, all the way through, in the case of a seller—a repurchase. Where is that? Sometimes it’s a search engine. Sometimes, it’s Facebook. Sometimes it’s another social media site. Sometimes it’s your distributor because you sell indirectly. How are you bringing the experience and the knowledge required to make that sale to them on their own terms, based on the sophistication of the products that you’re selling? You can’t do that no matter how much you spend just integrating these monolithic systems of engagement or record that were never designed with the view of the customer, ever. You have to understand how you stitch together just the right amount of service, just right amount of customer engagement and commerce that kind of maps the preferred way in which the customer wants to traverse that journey.”

For the full interview click on the video below: 

[Video produced by Stephen Nathans-Kelly.]

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