Customer experience for B2B (CX), one of the key recipes to a company’s success is often overlooked by B2B businesses.
Customer experience for B2B is the ability of businesses to understand their customers and its ability to enhance positive experiences over the duration of their relationship in both direct (purchase or use of the product or service) and indirect (advertising, news report, unplanned encounter) interaction.
With the rapid changes in technology, offering faster service, more transparent data, real time responsiveness and wider accessibility, has pushed customer experience to become one of the critical element for B2B businesses to stay competitive in the market. It allows company to stand out from its peers and create customer satisfaction. Other benefits of good customer experience for B2B businesses are:
- Increase customer loyalty, happy customers will more likely to continue to do more business
- Lower down acquisition costs by reducing customer churn
- Ability to attract new customers as the company’s reputation strengthen, this would then result in higher sales.
- McKinsey research suggests that the revenue growth that can be attributed to good customer experience is between 10 to 15 percent .
Photo credit: Delight at work
Customer experience for B2B Business
Implementing a strategy for customer experience for B2B business is usually a lot more complex than B2C business. This is because B2B customer experience has many more touch points. A customer-centric B2B relationship involves a long chain of processes such as pre-sales, sales, legal, delivering, accounts and on-going customer support. Different departments have their own processes and KPIs. This means that the customer experience programme has to be designed, implemented and monitored across the entire chain to have a synchronised and positive customer experience outcome.
Some of the steps in getting started with monitoring and improving Customer Experience for B2B businesses are as follows:
1. Establish the baseline
Understanding where the company stands in terms of customer experience perspective is the starting point. Some of the tools are:
- Conduct a brainstorming workshop with the various departments to identify and understand the pain point that the customer has
- Conduct a survey of your product/services with your current customer to determine what is the company doing well and what can be improve from Customer Experience perspective
2. Define the customer experience goal.
Map out the entire customer experience/journey (for different personas) from the start to the end against all touch points. It is critical that there is a buy-in from all areas that has a customer touch point.
One of the customer experience goal is ability to meet customer’s demand i.e. ability to deliver good within a period of time once the order is placed. This usually requires businesses to have stocks or have sufficient working capital to obtain inventory as and when the business needs to. Invoice financing allows business to tap into working capital as and when business needs to. At InvoiceInterchange, business can access to their cash within 24 hours by auctioning off their outstanding invoices.
3. Define projects
Define projects/tasks that need to be carried out to improve customer experience for B2B businesses from the baseline (step 1) to the define goal (step 2)
4. Prioritise projects
Prioritise the project, schedule and implement the plan. This needs to be aligned with the overall business goals.
5. Monitor and measure progress of customer experience
Measure the implementation regularly to ensure that the customer experience is moving towards the right direction. If not, revise the strategy and replan accordingly.
Example of B2B companies implementing customer experience.
- Adobe: Customer Experience Undercover Boss
- tw telecom, Citrix, Applied Materials: 6 Customer Experience Success Factors for World Class Performance
- Maersk: Focusing on People in B2B Customer Experience Strategy
- Boeing: Customer Survey Actions & Feedback to Customers/
- LexisNexis: Increasing Customer Focus in Voice of the Customer for Business Results
- SunGard: Chief Customer Officer as Change Agent
- SunTrust: Client First Drives Business Performance
- Symantec: Energize Your Customer Experience Strategy
- Is Customer Experience Management Important in B2B, ClearAction, search on 05/09/2016
- Nicolas Maechler, Sanjeev Sahni, and Martine van Oostrum, Improving the business-to-business customer experience, McKinsey, searched on 05/09/2016