5 Trends In B2B Customer Experience Management
Customer experience is fast becoming the core of many business strategies. The trend is reassuringly settling in, whether you’re working in a business-to-consumer (B2C) or a business-to-business (B2B) company.
Research shows that at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as B2C customers. After all, the buyers you’re dealing with at work are the same who are ordering goods from Amazon or booking a cab using Uber. B2C customer experiences have set the tone of CX transformation. All the people, who receive advanced personalized customer communications as individual consumers, come to work and very often experience the same old traditional system that has always been there. Instead of an online catalogue, they have to download a pdf or even order a paper brochure. Instead of an option to order in three clicks, they must call the helpdesk for support. Does this sound familiar?
What does that mean to you?
Customers expect digital services and self- service options to be available and be not just good, but precise, fast and consistent. They want options that will help them to manage their own business. That leaves you no option but to transform your business to address today’s upgraded customer expectations.
So, what is happening to B2B Customer Experiences?
Previously, many B2B companies simply ignored customer experience management completely. In 2015, only 3% of B2B companies prioritised customer experience as an integral part of company culture.
Things have changed, for good.
B2B companies have since moved away from just selling and instead focus on creating consistent customer experience management (CXM). For a growing number of B2B companies, the pathway to growth will be through CXM.
Many B2C CX practices have become universal. “Digital” has become a standard not only for B2C customer interactions but also for B2B customer experiences. As have omnichannel communications and personalization.
Now, at least 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% in 2012.
Customer Experience is the new black box to unravel the mystery of acquisitions, and loyalty!
So, what are the mega- trends within B2B customer experience management look like?
1. Voice of the Customer (VoC)
Voice of the customer refers to customers’ feedback about their experiences with and expectations for the products or services. Right now, businesses have more VoC data than ever – it comes in the form of user behaviour data, recorded phone conversations, direct customer feedback, discussions on social media and even more, largely depending on your business.
To use VoC to improve your business it is important to not only gather the customers’ feedback, but also to analyze it and most importantly, act on the insights generated.
2. Make “customer-centricity” your new business strategy
Who in your organization owns the customer experience? It could be your customer experience team, it could be the top management?
In fact, all the departments should work together to influence the customer experience.
Customer experience race is not a sprint, but a marathon. It requires thoroughly planned preparation, a long-term view and needs everyone in the organization to be on board.
Every function has a role to play. When each of them strikes the right note, the symphony emerges.
3. Plan your communication
Good communication will attract new customers and improve the brand image and reputation of your company, whereas bad communication could be the reason your customer moves away from you.
The difference with regards to B2B organizations is that you are communicating both “company-to-company” and “individual-to-individual” all at once.
Successful communications focus on:
Conveying interest and a friendly and personal attitude
Understanding and listening to customer problems and needs
The right amount of correspondence and status updates
Thorough and clear explanations
Omnichannel communication is fast turning a hygiene in the context of amplifying customer experience. Simply put, it’s about being available to your customer across every channel. Omnichannel offers a consistent, personalized experience for consumers across all channels and devices, to make the customer journey as easy as possible. That means consistent engagement no matter where or how they interact with you.
In most cases, B2B buyers research online even if buying offline later. At the same time online channels are beginning to overtake more traditional buying channels.
Currently, B2C experiences set the tone for B2B experiences. B2B customers want to have the ease and functionality of online B2C purchases. Wherever they find it, they buy more
In a recent study by Forrester, “Building The B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform Of The Future” it was discovered that almost three-quarters of B2B buyers consider the ability to look up product information across any channel to be important or very important when making work-related purchases online.
Talking about omnichannel communication, we don’t simply mean to exist in all possible online channels. It’s much more than that. Digital is just another channel to the customer. A truly customer-centric approach embraces the customer at all touchpoints in their journey.
When creating the B2B customer experience, you need to target a personalized experience. In the competitive B2B market, where the sales cycle is much longer and usually involves direct communication, the customer experience should be personalized as much as possible.
Personalization is a necessity to survive and thrive in the era of the empowered customer.
In fact, understanding that each customer and each experience is going to be different, we are entering the era of hyper-personalization.
The era of doing B2B business, be it product or services, in the old-fashioned way is gone. Now customers expect a high level of involvement and high-quality digital services when making a B2B purchase. The differences between B2C and B2B are blurring, as customers are eager to have the same smooth modern experience in all areas of their lives, including their work lives. To stay on top of the competition, companies need to deliver personalized omnichannel experiences that are tailored to unique buyers.