Customer experience could be proudly named one of the buzz-words of 2018. With high certainty, it is going to stay here. Whether you’re working in business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) company, you should start paying attention to the way you create customer experience immediately, if you haven’t done so yet.
At least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as B2C customers. After all, the business people you’re dealing with at work are the same who are ordering goods from Amazon in their free time. B2C customer experiences have set the tone of CX transformation. All the people, who receive advanced personalized customer treatment, come to work and... very often experience the same old "traditional" system. Instead of an online catalog, they have to download a pdf or even order a paper brochure. Instead of usual "order in three clicks", they have to call. Does it sound familiar?
What does that mean to you?
Customers expect digital services and self- service options to be at the highest level. They want options that will help to manage their own business. That leaves you no option but to transform your business to answer the upgraded customer expectations.
SO, WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING TO B2B CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES?
Earlier, a large part of B2B companies simply ignored customer experience management as a whole. In 2015, only 3% of B2B companies valued customer experience as an integral part of company culture.
LUCKILY, THINGS HAVE CHANGED.
This year, Forrester predicts that B2B firms will move from “just selling” to customer success management. For a growing number of B2B companies, the pathway to growth will be through CEM.
Many B2C CX practices have become universal. "Digital" has become a standard not only for B2C customer interactions but also for B2B customer experiences. So did 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.
So, what are the trends of B2B customer experience management in 2019?
1. Voice of Customer (VoC)
Voice of customer refers to customers’ feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services. Right now, you have more VoC data than ever – it comes in the form of user behavior data, recorded phone conversations between your frontline staff and your customers, direct customer feedback, discussions in social media and even more, largely depending on your business.
Voice of customer is not only about how to gather the customers’ feedback, but how to analyze and most importantly, act on the feedback.
2. Make "customer-centric” your new business strategy
According to the customer experience statistics, 79% of employees in CX leading companies are engaged, compared with 49% in the companies with CX below average. 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 be able to influence the customer experience.
Many businesses are participating in customer experience race: “whose cx is the latest and the greatest”. Not many of them understand that customer experience race is not a sprint, but a marathon. It requires long-term thoroughly planned preparation and requires everyone on board. If you want to bring customer voice into your organization, recruit a cross-functional team and consistently work on understanding the customer needs.
Above, you can find organizational roles in customer experience management. As you can see, everyone is responsible for customer experience.
3. Plan your communication
Let’s put it simply: good communication will attract new customers and improve the brand image of your company whereas bad communication could be the reason your customer turns away from you.
The difference in B2B processes is that you are communicating both “company-to-company” and “individual-to-individual” all at once. Many B2B relationships are stronger because of its long-term nature with recurring sales.
The impact factors to which you should be paying attention are:
Interest and friendly 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 definitely a megatrend of the customer experience in the next years. Simply put, it’s about being available to your customer on every channel. In more words, omnichannel offers a consistent, personalized experience for consumers across all channels and devices with the main goal to make the customer journey as easy as possible, and that means consistent engagement no matter where or how they interact with you.
Currently, B2C experiences set the tone for B2B experiences. B2B customers want to have the ease and functionality of online B2C purchases and that’s where the businesses are going. In the 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 important or very important when making work-related purchases online.
Talking about omnichannel communication, we don’t 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 touch points 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 already much longer and usually involve direct communication, the customer experience should be personalized as much as possible. Gartner has predicted that already by 2018, B2B companies with e-commerce personalization will outsell by 30% competitors that are not providing a personalized experience.
Understand that each customer and each experience is going to be different and embrace it. We are entering the era of hyper-personalization.
Times when we were doing B2B business “the old-fashioned” way are gone. Now customers expect the high level of involvement and high-quality digital services when making a B2B purchase. The differences of B2C and B2B are blurring, as customers are eager to have the same smooth modern experience in all the spheres of their life, including work life.
In order to stay on top of the competition, companies need to deliver personalized omnichannel experiences that are tailored to unique buyers.
Are you ready?