NEW YORK, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The converging forces of cloud, social media, mobile and big data have fundamentally altered the enterprise software sales process, finds PwC US in a new report titled Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the U.S. Software Industry. The study, which is one in a series of customer-centric reports, measures the experiences of about 6,000 U.S. consumers across multiple industries.
The PwC study finds that in today's empowered customer world, enterprise software vendors must rethink their value propositions and the experience they deliver. Looking at five core enterprise software customer experience attributes--quality, support, convenience, presentation and community--the Experience Radar study reveals the hidden sources of value to help software companies drive exceptional, differentiated customer experience.
"Responses to our survey suggest that the days of large-scale sales and implementations are behind us and as a result, software vendors in this demand-driven environment are no longer able to mandate terms," said Patrick Pugh, PwC's U.S. software and Internet leader. "Today's software customers have options and expect next-generation sales to be uniquely tailored to their needs and able to move at the pace with which they do business. To stay in the game, leading software vendors need to deepen relationships with customers and offer what they value most."
The growth of non-traditional players offering cloud services, new online business models and lower margins due to vertical integration has shifted the balance of power to the customer. According to the survey conducted by PwC, the advent of new user interfaces such as tablets and mobile devices are driving the focus toward interaction with the end user. Customization, adaptability and multichannel access are top of mind considerations for today's software end-user.
Experience Radar defines the five behaviors that enterprise software vendors can adopt to potentially enhance customer experience and create value:
Deliver what matters most: Look across the product lifecycle to ensure customers receive a consistently strong experience. Typically, only half of software features are widely used, which means most enterprise software is much more complex than the user needs. Prioritize performance over bells and whistles to deliver the most customer value. Keep the end goal in mind by educating customers and focusing resources on improving the main functions. Consider partnering with system integrators to achieve a smooth installation.
Infuse the human touch: While new technologies give customers a multitude of channels, human communication is still critical to delivering top-notch experiences. Focus on building long-term relationships by providing personalized support when issues arise. Use training and live demonstrations as opportunities to strengthen relationships. Ensure employee incentives are aligned to deliver an experience that meets customer needs.
Promote agility: With 78 percent of companies now embracing a 'bring your own device' (BYOD) policy, companies are creating agile, streamlined environments which require software to support the flexible workplace. Furthermore, businesses are moving away from traditional IT infrastructures to a flexible hybrid model that supports cloud computing. Software vendors will need to selectively expand to new devices, offer options to support mobility and build the right cloud capabilities.
Own the issues: While issues will inevitably arise, twenty four hours is the window in which most customers want issue resolution. Take ownership with swift action to resolve issues quickly. Conducting root-cause analysis on service issues and investing in processes and technology may help minimize errors. Create long-term partnerships with customers by building credibility through reliable products and support.
Turn advocacy into action: Customers are more likely to purchase from highly regarded companies and 84 percent will recommend a vendor after a great experience according to the survey findings. Software vendors should identify key influencers to serve as brand advocates and build communities among customers.
Experience Radar provides an analysis of behavioral profiles for the enterprise software segments; up & coming corporations, emerging empires and big business behemoths. In addition, the report outlines the Small & Medium Business (SMB) category across three behavioral segments: mid-sized movers, elemental establishments and vivacious ventures.
"Some of the top drivers of great customer experience for the software industry - smooth installation, prompt support and personalized attention - serve as powerful guides for other industries to follow in determining how to create meaningful experiences to drive long-term customer loyalty," said Paul D'Alessandro, PwC's U.S. customer impact leader.
PwC's Experience Radar
PwC's Experience Radar helps businesses across industries find sources of value that are often hidden, yet that drive truly exceptional, differentiating customer experiences. Experience Radar identifies opportunities to create value for customers while pointing the way toward top-line growth and bottom-line business results. Unlike traditional customer segmentations based predominately on demographics, Experience Radar identifies critical customer segment groups by the types of experiences they value most. Respondents are divided into clusters based upon the shopping features they value, and behavioral dimensions (like usage rate, loyalty, channel, and technology adoption).
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