Three Ways Digital Will Continue to Boost CX in 2019


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The phrase “digital transformation” has been thrown around across industries, from retail to software industries – even automotive and healthcare. Every organization has something to say about their digital-transformation journey, and if they don’t, they’re behind the curve.

Rather than discussing how digital-transformation strategies are needed for your business to run smoothly in 2019, let’s drop “transformation” from the discussion and consider how digital will continue to help brands – across various industries – elevate their customer-experience strategies in 2019.

Digital, omnichannel experience

Many organizations today are investing in a digital, omnichannel experience to increase customer loyalty and retention. With the rise of ecommerce in recent years, consumers have various options when it comes to channel preference when engaging with a brand. Whether they start online, in store or over the phone, customers expect a unified experience that answers their questions and meets their needs.

According to a 2018 study conducted by Target Marketing, respondents stated that a cohesive omnichannel experience is essential for brands across all industries, both B2B and B2C. Moreover, if customers have a negative experience via a digital channel, they are likely to move onto another brand in hopes of a more positive, seamless experience. Thus, by achieving a digital, omnichannel experience, organizations will be able to support individuals through the entire customer lifecycle and ensure that they are not losing customers to competitors.

While most digital experiences are no-touch and low-touch, it’s equally important for organizations to have and understand data management so that if and when a customer decides to have a personal interaction with the brand (face-to-face or over the phone), they have the ability to greet them with a personalized experience, including a history of recent purchases.

Another aspect of boosting your customers’ experiences lies in understanding what channels and methods your consumers want and need, and bringing it all together into one application. There is no one-size-fits-all customer-experience solution, but rather brands need to offer multiple channel options that allow consumers to pick and choose how and when they want to engage with the brand.

By taking a look – as a whole – at your customers overarching expectations, your organization can design an experience that meets their expectations. For example, because 80 percent of our customers at SAP want digital access, our platform enables them to interact digitally with us for their needs.

Of course, there will always be points during a customer lifecycle where a personal, face-to-face connection is preferred, and it should be up to the customer as to when they choose to interact.

Partner ecosystems

Smart companies today realize that they can’t go it alone anymore. Therefore, they are relying on partner ecosystems to build on and improve their own products and services. Just take a look at the Amazon and Whole Foods partnership. Amazon has completely disrupted the grocery ecosystem, and now many original brick-and-mortar shoppers are choosing to buy their groceries online and have them delivered to their doorstep: a no-touch digital experience with the brand.

With the ability to offer various different products and services that one organization simply can’t offer alone, platforms that promote partner relationships will keep consumers coming back – to purchase all their needs through a singular digital platform.

All in all, it’s clear to see how – if delivered correctly – digital will heighten your customer experience in 2019 and beyond. By promoting an omnichannel experience, integration of all needs into a singular platform or experience, as well as the promotion of partner products and services, consumers will stay loyal to your organization in the long haul.

In the end, it is about the customer’s expectation and desires. The combination of an omnichannel experience, the seamless inclusion of the ecosystem (commercially and technically) is not only an enhancement of the customer experience, it also is the foundation for the creation of new business models and the introduction of new commercial models. This is what cloud computing did for the software industry – it allowed the delivery of software in instant and commercial models like consumption-based pricing and subscription.

While it might be a big undertaking to prioritize this digital customer experience at first, especially when your organization isn’t “struggling,” the return-on-investment will make it all worthwhile.

Bertram Schulte
I serve as the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at SAP, running the digital business and helping provide customers one seamless, digital experience. Since May 2017, I have been overseeing digital customer strategy for SAP across sales, customer success, support and marketing. From July 2014 until April 2017, I served as SAP’s senior vice president and chief of staff, for the Products & Innovation Executive Board Office. In this role, I was part of the Global Leadership Team and helped define the technology, product and investment strategy for SAP, supporting bid deals and customer escalations.


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