Part 1: 3 Stages of an effective B2B customer experience program
Modern B2B customer experience
Changing dimensions of customer experience
How relevant is customer experience in the Business to Business (B2B) scenario? When we hear the term customer experience we tend to think that it mainly implies to the business to consumer segment (B2C) only and not to the business to business segment. B2C is perceived to be a more “customer first” world where a positive customer interaction from a specific brand triggers a positive customer experience that drives a continuous customer engagement.
Client relationship management in B2B was more of a structured procedure rather than a key business focus area some decades ago, which isn’t the case anymore. Today they have taken customer experience to a whole new level and are consistently striving to improve business engagement with the clients.
Let’s look at some statistics below to understand the significance of customer experience in the B2B segment.
Survey Details: B2B International Research, B2B International
Survey Question: How customer-centric are B2B organizations? N=266, Survey conducted by B2B International.
The B2B International’s research has indicated that only 14% of large B2B companies are truly customer-centric, where customer experience is a vital part of their culture. The study also revealed that delivering an exceptional customer experience is a key differentiator for B2B firms and helps in generating high revenue in return.
Meanwhile, most of the B2B companies are considering customer experience as a core element of their business strategy. This reinforces the fact that delivering exceptional customer experience is a major consideration for every B2B business brand as customers are the lifeblood of their businesses.
Now, for businesses to maintain positive client rapport and ensure streamlined daily business operations with their clients, a well-structured customer experience program need to be in place.
Businesses need to redesign their customer experience program to enhance their business relations and foster strong emotional connections with their customers leading to increased loyalty.
Stages of the customer experience program
Formulating an effective customer experience program comprises of three stages: – Planning, developing and execution. Across these three stages, there are key building blocks that businesses need to implement for delivering productive results from their customer experience program.
You can read our next blog on Key building blocks for an effective B2B customer experience program to gain more insights on to each of the key building blocks that help in building a successful customer experience program.
By traversing through these stages businesses can identify their current levels of customer experience provided to the customers, thereby facilitating in redesigning the existing program to tailor to the customer needs better.
It also helps in understanding the perceptions and preference of their target audience, create compelling content and marketing messages that not only educate their target audience but also resonate well with them.
Let’s understand the various stages of an efficient customer experience program here.
The planning stage is where the business must focus on their current state analysis by identifying the performance of their existing business practices and customer experience levels.
This is where the businesses need to redesign their customer experience program based on their target customer’s brand perception and preferences. By leveraging the key building blocks at this stage, businesses can achieve this goal seamlessly.
In a B2B scenario, to effectively connect with the target audience and drive positive customer interactions, businesses need to also ensure that their customer experience program is in sync with the business capabilities in terms of delivering what is promised to its target audience.
A business to strengthen its client relations and engage in positive communication it needs to follow certain steps in the planning stage. It helps in drawing out meaningful insights on the business and the target audience.
Recommended Business Initiatives:
Current State analysis, customer experience Research, customer satisfaction & net promoter score surveys, customer journey mapping and customer data analysis.
Now, we move on to the next stage which is the developing. Planning stage emphasized on desk research and documentation by analyzing the existing customer experience program.
Developing stage in a B2B set-up is where businesses involve the customers in the customer experience program in real time. Businesses need to ensure a seamless customer experience by providing all the required services for the customers at the right place at the opportune moment. This effort from the business travels a notch above customer satisfaction and in turn, delights the customers thereby triggering repeat business.
Recommended Business Initiatives: Real-time customer engagement, infrastructure support like omnichannel marketing and setting up customer care centers.
The key building blocks in this stage enable businesses to formulate a robust customer experience program that would a drive positive customer interaction.
Touching down on the last stage in the B2B customer experience process which is the execution stage. This stage majorly concentrates on customer retention and continuing the customer relations for a come-back purchase and new business engagements with their existing customers.
Execution stage can be considered as a continuing stage and cannot be called as a culminating point as brands need to constantly rediscover ways of engaging the customers to keep them from switching brands.
Businesses need to ensure that they have a dedicated listening center, a reward, and recognition system and an account management system to handle customer queries, build loyalty and trust among the customers.
Incorporating these key building blocks would enable businesses to successfully connect and strike a chord with their target audience and drive them across their customer journey.
Recommended Business Initiatives: Customer support centers, account management, reward systems.
The success of every customer experience program lies in providing customers with a unique experience that pushes your brand name to the top of your customer’s minds.
By incorporating these stages along with the key building blocks involved across stages, businesses are transforming themselves into a more customer-centric brand. In the world of diminishing product differences, a unique customer experience stands to be the only differentiator for businesses from its competitors.
According to Accenture’s B2B Customer Experience Survey, Few B2B companies excel in delivering exceptional customer experience through their differentiation strategy. The key differentiator lies with the approach of redesigning an existing customer experience by considering the key focus areas such as the Customer service, traditional and digital infrastructure capabilities.
The report says B2B companies who invest in traditional systems like legacy CRM systems and contact centers. gets paid off by the exceptional customer experience delivered through these legacy systems. Many of the B2B businesses in the present scenario, consider the digital infrastructure i.e., the online customer care centers and omnichannel marketing channels as potential drivers of customer experience in the digital world.
The Accenture Survey provides few insights on the importance of customer experience according to the B2B executives surveyed. The results are indicated below
An effective customer experience is a net result of a multitude of marketing initiatives from the businesses across different stages of a customer’s journey to driving continuous positive customer interactions. Thorough understanding of the customer behavior, their pain points, and services gaps enables the business to provide a delightful customer experience and to be more customer focused. Thereby, establishing a higher customer loyalty and retention.
Tags/ Keywords: Customer experience, customer retention, customer engagement, B2B customer experience