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DRIVING GROWTH THROUGH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

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WHY A MULTI-ACQUIRER STRATEGY IS KEY TO GLOBAL GROWTH

By James Frampton, Senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA, SugarCRM

 

“We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers” was Jeff Bezos’ promise in his original letter to shareholders in 1997. This is a pledge that has withstood the test of time, echoed in Amazon’s current mission statement that opens with “We aim to be Earth’s most customer-centric company”.

If the world’s largest online retailer has cemented the importance of the customer in its philosophy for the past 24 years, it only makes sense that businesses should be revisiting their strategic models and making mirroring adjustments in order to drive growth.

As we navigate a post-Covid-19 world riddled with shortages, delays, disruptions, and closures, customer-centricity will serve as a lead value driver. More than ever, customer loyalty will prove to be fundamental in the pursuit of profit.

With research (Qualtrics XM) showing that investing in CX initiatives has the potential to increase revenue by 70% within 36 months, it is crucial that businesses start to see customer service as a profit centre. Here are five key steps that will set organisations on the right path towards greater customer experience that makes a positive impact on the bottom line.

 

1. Tailor your approach

Customers want to feel remembered, recognised, and receive recommendations that are accurate and relevant to their previous purchases and searches. Personalisation is important in both securing new sales and upselling. Studies have shown that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences, and when enjoying a highly personalised shopping experience, customers indicated that they were 110% more likely to add additional items to their baskets and 40% more likely to spend more than they had planned.

These findings show that customers still desire the personal relationships of the offline, face-to-face world, harking back to the days when shop assistants knew their name, likes and dislikes. Businesses need to respond and re-create these experiences in the online world.

2. Tap into the desire for convenience

Maximising the convenience offered to consumers is a powerful driver of customer experience. In fact, PwC research found that 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience; and 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience, which are both by-products of creating a customised customer journey.

Delivering the right information, at the right time, on the right platform may just make the difference between a flourishing and stagnating business. Convenience-optimising technology that was once cutting-edge and hardly affordable has now become mainstream and enables businesses to capitalise on this expectation of easy interactions at scale.

3. Improve the accuracy of predictions

Companies must evaluate all the intersection points of a customer’s journey to truly build a rich history that enables them to predict future buying trends, make relevant suggestions, and create a uniquely personal experience. This involves studying a potential customer’s first experience on the company website, analysing browsing history and tendencies, and reviewing the shopping experience such as the placing and receiving of orders.

By combining full correspondence history including any emails, texts, live chats, and reviews the customer may have left (simply anything and everything that they have experienced when interacting with any part of the business) a thorough understanding of the customer’s needs, preferences, and most plausible future behaviour can be surfaced.

4. Let technology do the work

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers organisations an abundance of opportunities to harness vast amounts of data, making it more accessible and actionable to all business users. Gone are the days of silos and scattered data, too big or difficult to make sense of.

With AI, the manual work of sorting, categorising, observing, and deciding is taken care of and customer-facing teams can focus on strategic goals rather than tactical, time-consuming tasks like pulling customer lists. In Gartner’s September 2020 survey of business and IT professionals, 24% said their organisation invested more into AI since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – showing huge progress within just 6 months. As the AI and automation uptake accelerate the race is on to keep up with competitors and not fall behind.

5. Change with customer feedback

Customer experience is an ongoing relationship and a key part of ensuring success is to listen and implement customer feedback into action plans to improve service. Gartner found that although 95% of companies have collected feedback from their customers for years, only about 10% use these suggestions to change their processes and improve customer experience. But as Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.

Instead of wasting this opportunity, companies need to merge the desires of their customers with the overall business strategy. This can be achieved by consolidating direct, indirect, and inferred customer feedback received through numerous intersection channels, so customer concerns are resolved in real-time. If various teams and areas of the business interact with customers, knowledge-sharing programs can be an effective way to remove departmental barriers and improve customer-facing processes.

 

Invest in your customer

While the correlation between customer loyalty and profit continues to increase as the world further digitalises, companies that invest in tactics and technologies that bring them closer to their customers can unlock steady revenue growth. Although the inclusion of personalisation and investment in technology is vital, companies must be willing to listen to customer feedback, or risk losing business.

It is more important than ever to retain customers to ensure they play a part in a company’s growth, instead of its competitors. Understanding that intelligent technology is a key enabler in creating an impactful customer experience will allow businesses to reap the benefits of having satisfied, long-term customers.

 

Business

Using OKRs to transfrom business in a new working environment

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Managing the challenges of rapid business growth while also adapting to a hybrid world of working forced by the global pandemic will be among the topics raised at this year’s international OKR Forum 2022.

National business coach Peter Kerr will highlight how the business management framework tool of OKRs can help overcome the challenges faced by hypergrowth companies, while also helping create a strong team culture to establish resilience to adapt to new ways of working.

Peter Kerr, MD of the rapidly expanding UK-based specialist coaching consultancy AuxinOKR, will be a key contributor to the OKR Forum event, being held virtually on February 3. He will be talking to Lavanya Gopinath, director of operations at Chargebee, about the challenges of rolling out OKRs across a global tech business with a geographically dispersed workforce.

The OKR Forum is the fourth event of its kind featuring a mixture of keynote speakers, expert workshops, and case studies of OKR implementation. Delegates can learn from international brands such as LinkedIn, Colgate-Palmolive, and Renault on how to engage teams for better outcomes with the agile goal and performance management framework, known as OKRs.

AuxinOKR, which has clients around the UK and overseas – including SAP, ASOS, Which?, Bitstamp, Chargebee and South African bank absa – has a proven record of helping ambitious companies and organisations establish an OKR strategy that enables them to achieve their goals.

Chargebee is a leading international subscription billing platform on a fast-track trajectory powering some of the fastest-growing SaaS and subscription-based businesses in the world. The company, valued at $1.4b in April 2021 has more than 3,000 customers across the US, Europe and rest of the world. Digital transformation has accelerated the opportunities for Chargebee, and the company saw OKRs as a tool to drive cultural change across the business.

Peter Kerr says: “Chargebee is a fabulous company with a great product. Digital transformation across more companies has created huge opportunities for Chargebee but they recognised they needed to change themselves to become a stronger, more agile, and resilient business.

“Chargebee saw OKRs as a way to create a focus and clarity across the entire business, spread across several countries. OKRs have helped establish a new culture, one where everyone is clear about the company vision and key goals and their roles in helping achieve growth and success.

“And, of course, this was made even more challenging by being implemented during a pandemic. OKRs helped Chargebee accelerate the push for collaboration, transparency and understanding during this difficult period.”

This year’s OKR Forum online event will feature world-class OKR experts such as Ben Lamorte, Felipe Castro, Francesca Nardocci, Melanie Wessels and many more, along with leading international companies.

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The evolution of the CFO: 91% still carry out repetitive and manual tasks despite the new demands of their role

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‘The future CFO’ research conducted by Xledger, the cloud finance software provider, finds that there is a lack of support in helping CFOs to evolve with the new demands of their role. Some of the top frustrations that CFOs cited in their current roles include having to carry out repetitive and manual tasks (33%) the reliance on hard copies of documents or legacy spreadsheets (27%) and bottlenecks in the flow of information (26%).

Other key frustrations were being unable to spend time on strategic tasks (23%), being able to work efficiently when away from the office (23%), the number of silos making it difficult to work collaboratively with colleagues (20%) and a struggle to demonstrate compliance to regulators (19%).

Repetitive and manual tasks seem to be indicative of the finance role, with an enormous 91% stating that they need to carry out at least one of the above repetitive tasks as part of their job and this could be impacting their ability to carry out other aspects of their role. The research found that the more senior you are, the more likely you are to be carrying out repetitive tasks, with senior figures averaging 25 hours per week, compared to 15 hours for other finance decision makers.

Mark Pullen, CEO at Xledger comments, “The fact that the UK’s top strategic decision makers are spending up to 25 hours a week on low value-added tasks is astounding. The results of this research may highlight not only the stresses of the CFO themselves, but of their whole team. The frustrations and seniority differences are vital in informing the current dynamics, behaviours and commitments of the CFO role. If they are to evolve effectively, it’s evident that more support is needed to harness their strategic value. Business growth rarely comes as a by-product of doing more with the same level of resource – unless you factor in technology.”

When digging further into the study, there are some notable trends in terms of seniority and sector. For example, 38% of larger companies (5000+ employees) vs 28% of smaller companies (less than 50 employees) are frustrated by repetitive, manual tasks. This is likely a result of larger organisation’s needing more rigid processes in place than smaller, potentially more agile organisations.

Notably, the inability to work efficiently when away from the office was felt more by senior finance directors and CFOs (33%) than other finance decision makers (16%). This could be put down to a need to collaborate effectively with colleagues in more senior roles. 30% of senior financial directors and CFOs also stated that they’re frustrated about the number of silos and inability to work collaboratively compared to just 14% of other finance decision makers.

Xledger is a leading  true-cloud finance technology for mid-market organisations. With a suite of automation features including OCR, automated purchase invoice and expense handing, reoccurring and professional services billing and in-system payment processes our value, is giving back time to CFO’s and their finance departments, allowing them to spend more time of higher value-added activities.

The Future of the CFO study was conducted among 529 CFOs and financial decision makers in the UK during August and September 2021 by Sapio research.

 

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