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The digital transformation in customer relationship management

The digital transformation in customer relationship management

Virtually every business is threatened by new competitors in the age of digitization. In many cases, it is necessary to transform your own company so as not to be edged out. This also involves the digitization of customer relationship management. What opportunities are arising from this, and what challenges do businesses encounter in the process? A new whitepaper by Techconsult and Deutsche Telekom has the answers.

It is not only new competitors with digital innovations that are putting businesses under pressure – their customers also expect holistic, individual support as shown by the authors of the whitepaper “Die digitale Transformation hebt den Kunden auf den Thron” [The Digital Transformation Puts the Customer on the Throne]. This is how the purchasing process, for instance, develops into an journey of experiences with the wishes and needs of the customer at the center. This is where a first approach to using new technologies comes into play: The client can visualize the product and all relevant information directly on site through the use of augmented reality and virtual reality. If additional questions still come up, a chatbot is available to the customer 24/7.

But new tools also open up new marketing and sales avenues: Synchronizing databases, communication, web control, and workflows through a CRM system makes it possible to automate marketing processes. This makes it easier to plan, manage, and evaluate extensive marketing campaigns. One important question is, where should the new tools and systems run? On site, in the public cloud or in a hybrid cloud model? One advantage of cloud solutions is that they can be quickly and easily scaled, as well as offering many pre-configured interfaces and applications. In addition, they eliminate the cost of purchasing and operating IT in house.

Lots of proof, not much innovation

The whitepaper also uses the results of the study “Digitalisierung im Mittelstand” [Digitization in SMEs]. Among other things, the study examined the relevance of different processes in businesses and the extent to which they have already been digitally implemented. The results show that many innovative approaches have not yet been properly incorporated into the companies.

To inform their customers about themselves and their products or services, the surveyed businesses still rely heavily on the classic company website: 61 percent rated its relevance as “high” or “very high.” However, optimizing the website for mobile devices was not even considered important by half of the respondents. And a business’ social network presence or the use of social media for communication and marketing were only rated as relevant by around 40 percent. However, the implementation lags behind in all of these matters. For example, only 53 percent were satisfied with how the company’s website was implemented.

The business’s website also plays a key role for the respondents in terms of contact opportunities: For 58 percent, customer enquiries on the website via email or contact form have a “high” or “very high” relevance. By contrast, only around 30 percent rated a seamless, coordinated shopping and service experience across all channels and a web-based self service portal as important. There is a backlog in implementing the relevant items in this area too.

It is therefore important that businesses make all relevant information available to their service and sales employees. This is only manageable with the right digital solutions, because large amounts of data must be collected from various touchpoints and systems, analyzed, and processed. Around half of the company representatives surveyed considered it relevant to systematically collect and process all customer information available in the business in a professional database in order to be able to centrally access information pertaining to customers and contracts. But only 24 percent placed value on the integration of external information, from social networks for instance.

The customer’s point of view

These figures are even more telling when compared to the customer perspective. There are numerous further studies on this subject. For example, Genesys recently asked consumers in Germany what they thought about corporate customer service. One finding was that participants do not yet see social media as an important channel for support, but more than ten percent have taken to social media to complain about a bad experience with customer service. The 76 percent of companies that ignore these platforms therefore lose important information, and the 70 percent that consider self service options to be unimportant will disappoint their customers in this respect. The findings of a cross-sector study by Convergys include the fact that 56 percent of customers initially turn to self service for simple requests. They are used to quickly and conveniently accessing the desired information in this way. Additionally, Criteo’s analysis of surfing‑ and shopping‑data collected from over 5,000 retailers in 80 countries shows the importance of an omnichannel strategy; although only seven percent of customers said that they shop both on- and offline, they nevertheless accounted for 27 percent of sales. Therefore, this customer group is small but valuable.


Many businesses have already completed the basic tasks or are currently working on doing so. However, they must carry out their digital transformation even more thoroughly. This also means engaging with numerous issues that are not yet even in the picture for many companies, but are expected by their customers. The discussed self-service options are just one example of this.

The full whitepaper “Die digitale Transformation hebt den Kunden auf den Thron” [The Digital Transformation Puts the Customer on the Throne] by Techconsult is available here.

Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
Image: EdNurg – AdobeStock

Tags for this article CRM (108) Customer Management (34) Digitization (167)


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