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HomeInterviewsCXBuzz Interview with Marcelo Souhami, VP Sales, Customer Experience at SAP

CXBuzz Interview with Marcelo Souhami, VP Sales, Customer Experience at SAP

Hi Marcelo, tell us about yourself and your background.

An engineer by trade, I quickly evolved into an enterprise software salesman. I have jumped from Big IT to start-ups, so I’ve experienced the key issues and drivers of CX from different perspectives. Over the past five years, I have been on the SAP Customer Experience team, where I’m helping companies improve their CX initiatives and build impactful solutions.

Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?

Consumer reviews are a highly valuable source of information that brands can better leverage. The key to optimizing the data from customer reviews is separating fact from fiction. Using a mature, AI-driven, Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, brands can isolate the noise from attention-seeker reviewers to focus on the real quality content and get an accurate understanding of public sentiment. Matched with operational data, the experience feedback data will generate better-quality insights, allowing brands to make more informed decisions.

Another benefit to leveraging consumer review is that this information is usually collected as first-party data, which can be fed directly into a customer data management solution. With aggregated first-party data, a brand can get to know each consumer on a more intimate level. This significantly helps improve personalization, conversion and, eventually, the life-time value.

What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?

Privacy and consent are particularly relevant right now. There are two main concerns involved: the first being widespread customer mistrust; the second, evolving global data protection and privacy regulations. This increase in demand for transparency and control over personal data is causing brands to re-evaluate their CXM strategy. Many are not aware themselves of how their customers’ data is being collected and used, which makes it very difficult to deliver a secure consumer experience. To gain back trust, brands need to learn to respect their customers’ need for data privacy. This means they shouldn’t be afraid to present consent requests to customers at various data touchpoints. Taking a transparent approach will demonstrate a brand’s commitment to privacy and consent and allow customers to build a stronger trust rapport with that brand.

Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?

Personalization and customer-centricity are key to building strong relationships between brands and consumers. This is a trend that will only continue to grow in importance. A major challenge these days is unifying all customer data silos, which directly affects the success of personalization. The sheer number and volume of these silos makes this a difficult task to accomplish for many brands. Yet, it’s been established that hyper-personalization is crucial for maximizing customer engagement and, consequently, sales. As such, brands will need to improve customer data management to avoid losing customer interest. At SAP, we anticipate important investments in this area.

What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?

Most importantly, acknowledge your brand’s CX gap and its likely source. The most likely issue is gaps in your Customer Data Management infrastructure, most likely the result of siloed data. Recognizing that the infrastructure may not be working as well as expected is the first step to identifying a solution to this prevalent problem.

The next step is to create a strong Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. Customer reviews not only serve as insights into how brands are perceived, but also shed light on potential opportunities and areas for improvements. Do you need to make your software more accessible for the visually impaired? Is your messaging bot amazing or annoying? Are your customers really unhappy with the new product design, or is it just Cindy posting multiple reviews for attention? VoC can help answer these and many other key CX questions.

Finally, when analyzing your CX data, make sure to distinguish between first-party data and second- or third-party data. You should be assigning premium importance to first-party data because it is unique to your brand and therefore paints the most accurate picture of your customers’ experience. As such, relying on this data will give you the upper hand when it comes to personalizing CX and developing a customer-centric strategy.

What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?

Financial Intelligence from Karen Berman and Joe Knight. This is an excellent guide to interpreting financial data targeted towards business managers. The real-world examples discussed throughout the book are the perfect blend of useful and entertaining.

What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?

Growth in commerce, especially in the B2B space, will continue to trend in the coming year. Some sources suggest B2B Ecommerce sales increased up to ninefold in 2019, compared to total B2B Sales. This is huge! With many offices still supporting flexible workforces, teams will continue to operate remotely. So, we anticipate the demand for online workflows and home equipment to continue to increase along with the demand for B2B Commerce development.

To take advantage of this eruption in ecommerce, new marketplaces are likely to launch in the coming months. These marketplaces will make CX a top priority from the get-go, setting themselves apart from competition with a customer-centric environment.

As consumer mistrust grows, governments are likely to introduce new legislation centered around privacy, which brands need to be prepared for.

Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?

Without a doubt, the conversion rate. It’s the most accurate predictor of goal achievement and, therefore, the best indicator of whether your CXM strategy is actually working. Of course, other metrics can help you better understand the drivers behind this number, but a high conversion rate is the clearest sign that you have succeeded in creating the CXM strategy that is right for you.


About the author

Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons is the CEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano and the editor of CXBuzz parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.


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