Information Systems in Organizations

Supporting the Sales Process with SAP – Why the Ultimate Customer Experience still Doesn’t Exist

The Kroenke chapter I covered, “Supporting the Sales Process with SAP”, focused on the implementation of ERP programs like SAP to the sales process of a company. Since sales is arguably the most customer-focused aspect of a business, the chapter examined customer relationship management (CRM) on an integrated level, versus what a business would look like without sophisticated process integration programs in place. The objective of a sales process is simple: repeat customers. With an ERP system like SAP in place to overcome problems and achieve strategy, companies will see improved sales and service, fewer cancelled sales, faster customer response and an overall more satisfied customer.

The article I chose from SAPVoice: “A Three-Step Guide to the Ultimate Customer Experience” highlighted the fact that companies today are still behind in satisfying their customer’s wants. The three suggestions he has to help retailers address these issues are:

  1. What if everything went exactly right?
    1. Figure out what the customers actually want from their shopping experience.
    2. Connect with their customer, learn their preferences at every stage of the buying cycle – what is the most important to them? Low prices? Informed sales people?
    3. This process can be very challenging analytically. Having a sophisticated SAP system in place will help with complex customer data.
  2. What does it take to make it work out that way?
    1. Identify the specific steps, action items and work needed to happen to implement the changes the customers want.
  3. What are the road blocks?
    1. Today, many retailers have outdated policies and procedures that are not up to par with today’s hypercompetitive marketplace or technological advances – the mobile consumer can shop wherever and whenever they want.
    2. Why cant typical brick-and-mortar locations meet today’s customer’s expectations?
    3. One thing customers hate to hear most is ‘we’ve never done it that way’ – they cut out the middleman of the retailer and go directly online.
  1. Do you prefer to shop in-store or an online? Why?


  1. What is your idea of the “ultimate customer experience”? How much of that involves human interaction?


  1. How can the sales process with the support of and ERP system like SAP help bridge the gap between dissatisfied customers and thrilled, repeat ones?

10 Responses to Supporting the Sales Process with SAP – Why the Ultimate Customer Experience still Doesn’t Exist

  • Ultimate customer experience probably means a few different things to different people. In my own experience (as both a customer and on the “other side” of the counter, I think ultimate experience is when you go above and beyond- not just the norm. We used to call it “Wow”-ing the customer- each store had a poster in the back that had suggestions for how to wow the customer. For example, once an elderly customer had a long list of Christmas cards to purchase, and couldn’t see very well, so I offered to read them aloud to her. It meant the world to her, for someone to take the time and do that and she was very appreciative. We gained a long time customer that day, and she made sure she told others!
    It really doesn’t take much to give a good customer experience, in my opinion.

  • As far as the preferablility of shopping in-store or online, I personally rather shop online because it is convenient and there is a wider range of items that you can look at. For me the “ultimate customer experience” would involve human interaction in where they would help me find the item that I am looking for and then having the ability to make sure that I am satisfied with what I purchased after the sale.

  • In regards to question 1, I would say it depends what I’m shopping for. When it comes to clothes, I usually like to go to the store because I have to try things on and I hate having to send items back when I shop online. If I’m shopping for electronics, I like to shop online because I can read reviews and compare different brands easily. I think there are benefits to both because in-store you can actually see the product and talk to the sales associates, but online you can do your own research.

  • I think shopping online is better in various perspectives. For one, the product is always there. You can simply look up what you’re looking for and purchase it. However, stores don’t always have the things you need in-stock, so you would end up traveling to many different stores in order to find the product you need if it is out-of-stock elsewhere. In regards to online shopping, you can also view a product’s specific details to see if it fits your needs. In my opinion, online websites always provide more information about their products than if you were to go to a store and buy something. There is the downside to paying for shipping and waiting for it to be delivered, but websites such as Amazon offer special services to help with that problem, which makes customers happier. The ultimate customer experience would entail finding the product I want with ease, purchasing it at a reasonable price, and having no problems with it. However, if there is a problem, the company would have to provide quality customer service to enable a solution that suites my preferences. Also, when shopping in-stores, I like finding what I want on my own, so I don’t want employees constantly asking me if I need help or anything. So, not too much human interaction is required unless I need customer service to fix a problem.

  • Great article and questions, Elizabeth! I think my ultimate customer experience does not include human interaction, which may be sad… I prefer to complete my research online and then make the final decision and purchase on my own!

  • I prefer to shop in stores for the easy access to see the products. I can pick things up to see how they feel or see how they fit when tried on. The “ultimate customer experience,” I think, varies for everybody. Some people prefer to have an employee there to help them and others do not. I work in a makeup store, and we have to go through training on our products and how to service our products. We have categories for different customers because we want to provide the right kind of service for everyone of our customers. One of the categories is the unapproachable customer, whose ultimate experience would include being left alone and only talked to when she/he asks a question. There is also the pampered client, who prefers to have someone helping her through her shopping, trying on the different products, and having someone talk to her through the whole experience. My ideal experience is for me to be left alone to look with little human interaction, but if I have a question, a person is there to help.

  • I personally prefer to shop in a store as opposed to online. Unless I am purchasing an item that I consistently get the same brand, style, type, etc. then I like to be able to examine the product in person. There is nothing worse than buying something online, only to have it shipped to your house and you find out that the product was not what you were expecting. Things like clothes are very difficult to buy online since you never know how something will fit you until you try it on. Some products, however, I almost exclusively purchase online. Items like electronics are easier to compare on an online platform and there are more options available. So the type of item that I am purchasing matters when I decide if I want to buy something online or in a brick and mortar store, but ultimately I tend to buy things in person more often.

  • I am not a real big shopper to begin with and I really never do any online shopping. I am not really sure why but I always just go to the store to buy something, so for me human interaction plays apart into the purchase. I believe that if stores would focus more on this and make shopping more of an experience then they may do better compared to shopping online.

  • Whether I shop online or in a store depends what I am shopping for. If it is clothes then I will get it in the store so I can try them on. But if it is like something for the house (like a painting or a carpet or something) that I don’t necessarily need to have in front of me then I will order that stuff online if it is more convenient. I think my ultimate customer experience does involve some human interaction. I would like to be able to do research on my own but have a person to talk to should I need their help or assistance or have any questions about the product(s) I am looking at.My ultimate customer experience would not involve any automated phone numbers but ones that will connect to real people the first time without having to go through so many menu options just to try to talk to someone.

  • I prefer shopping online to shopping in-store because of the ease of making purchases and shopping more on my own time. I can research products, check reviews then make the final purchase decision at my leisure. My idea of the “ultimate customer experience” is an experience in which the buying of a product or service also includes inquiries from the company making sure that the product or service is up to your expectations, and helping to fix any problems that might arise, promptly. I think good customer service should include human interaction.

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