Marketing

Customer centricity – what about the customer experience?

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There is hardly an industry that does not use the word customer centricity. Especially in e-commerce, the customer experience plays a central role in offering online shoppers an unforgettable shopping experience. A study explains why personalization is becoming increasingly important.

The past two years, shaped by the pandemic, have shown that external influences have accelerated the digital transformation. Online retail, as well as companies from other sectors, have recognized that customer centricity makes the decisive difference as digitization increases. Siemens subsidiary Mendix, a specialist in enterprise application development, has researched the challenges they face when trying to create a better digital customer experience. To do this, the company hired the market research company at the end of last year reputation leaders commissioned a survey of 522 senior IT professionals in Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. A third of them are responsible for positions at C-level.

Challenge customer centricity

But the perfect customer experience doesn’t just happen that way. This requires in-depth knowledge of how customers behave, what they want and how they can be inspired again and again. Digitization is the magic word here. But even that alone is not enough. 88 percent of those surveyed agree that an excellent customer experience is an essential corporate goal. A goal that is associated with great challenges, as 90 percent of the study participants confirm. Almost half list cybersecurity (49%) and data integration (42%) as the top challenges. Due to the current Ukraine crisis, it is conceivable that the result in terms of IT security has made another leap upwards.

Customers are demanding

Online retailers know that customers expect quick help when they need service. So it’s certainly not surprising that customers (28 percent) are annoyed when there are long waiting and response times. 27 percent are frustrated when problems cannot be solved.

Companies try to counteract this. 63 percent therefore improve communication and make digital selection easier. They hope that this will increase customer loyalty. Ultimately also the turnover, as confirmed by 38 percent of the study participants.

Chatbots and AI

Digitally intelligent solutions such as chatbots and AI are not only used in e-commerce as tools to increase customer satisfaction. This enables online retailers in particular to react quickly to customer inquiries. According to the study, 29 percent are already using chatbots and virtual assistants. An overwhelming majority of 91 percent plan to do so in the future.

Customer centricity in omnichannel

However, a consistent positive customer experience is important across all channels. That’s why almost half of the companies surveyed are determined to also improve the mobile experience this year. This works best with personalized offers. Perhaps it is therefore not surprising that the study participants assume that the demand for individual online offers will increase in the next five years. In order to implement this, however, in addition to huge amounts of data, fast editing times of the applications are required. Hyper-automation that uses AI for customer analysis is needed. According to Deloitte, this is the most advanced method for online retailers and brands to tailor their online offerings to customer needs.

Immersive customer experience

Thanks to technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, but also the metaverse, customers are increasingly confronted with virtual realities. A third of the companies interviewed stated that they were already using AR and VR. Almost half intend to use them in the future. This means that holistic experiences and omnichannel approaches are getting closer and closer.

Implement customer centricity

In theory, e-commerce, but also companies from other segments, realize that customer loyalty is the key to success. In practice, however, many companies struggle with outdated technologies. They can decisively slow down business development. The solution to this could be low-code to redesign customer centricity. Since fewer resources are required for implementation, software development could be accelerated and costs could even be reduced.

80 percent of the companies surveyed see low code as a good alternative for implementing customer loyalty. For example, new functions could be added to outdated applications. According to the survey, more than half of companies (52 percent) spend the majority of their budget on maintenance. It could be used differently in the future.

Low code could also counteract the shortage of skilled workers. A third of those surveyed stated that it was difficult to find developers or UX designers. That’s why market researchers from Gartner assume that by 2024 around 80 percent of technology products and services will be developed by people who are not IT experts.

Lead photo: Robert Kneschke/Adobe Stock

Christiane Manow-Le Ruyet

Read more about Customer Centricity in the upcoming print edition of e-commerce Magazin. It will be released on April 11, 2022.

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