Business-to-business customer experience management has certain complexities and advantages that need to be well understood by practitioners and vendors alike. All too often, it is assumed that B2B needs to be doing the same thing that B2C companies are doing, or that B2B companies are way behind B2C. That all depends, in each sector, upon what’s best for customers.
Over the past year and a half I’ve written a monthly column on Optimizing the B-to-B Customer Experience for CustomerThink.com. Highlights from the past year are shared in the table below, including case studies from EMC, VMware, SunTrust, tw telecom, Applied Materials, and John Deere.
Business-to-Business Customer Experience
|Advice This Past Year||Highlights|
|State of Business-to-Business Customer Experience Management||“What’s missing is the middle: what is the supplier company doing with the customers’ precious investments in voice-of-the-customer to make things so nice that customers want to be engaged? It’s unlikely that loyalty (i.e. share of budget) or retention (i.e. duration of relationship) can be achieved with lasting financial impact without the middle component to the CXM puzzle.”|
|B2B Customer Experience: Do This, Not That||“Here are 3 keys to getting B2B customer experience management right: capture the whole buying decision equation, integrate influencers’ inputs to paint an accurate picture, and ensure post-purchase customer experience consistency.”|
|Customer Experience ROI Opportunities in B2B Touchpoints||“What’s unique in business-to-business customer experience is the extensive interactions between the customer and supplier companies for a long time after the initial purchase. The greatest financial upside lies in capturing in-passing comments during post-purchase touch-points and using them to proactively drive expanded purchases.”|
|Account Teams in B2B Customer Experience: Help Me Help You||“A strong partnership between the dedicated sales force and centrally facilitated CX management is needed so that the rest of the company can be attuned to customers and help the account teams be successful. It’s the phenomenon made famous in the Jerry Maguire movie where Tom Cruise exclaims to Cuba Gooding Jr: ‘Help me help you!'”|
|How to Increase Synergy in B2B Voice-of-the-Customer||“For medical professionals, knowing what parts of the body influence other parts is not only enlightening, but also a matter of life and death. Here’s a flow diagram is intended to maximize insights while minimizing burden on customers, and reducing your VoC costs.”|
|Strategic Action on B2B Voice of the Customer||“Applied Materials and John Deere case study: Strategic customer experience results require a strategic approach in the way we collect data and in the way we take action on it. Of all the strategies within a company, what has the potential to be more far-reaching and impactful than how we understand our funders (customers) and how we cater to their propensity to continue funding us?”|
|Is Operations Involved in B2B Customer Experience?||“At tw telecom, the key to these achievements — reduced customer churn by 27%, increased Net Promoter ScoreTM by 65%, and outperforming competitors by 20% in several processes — was the Operations SVP’s passionate executive sponsorship.”|
|Do Customers Experience Your Internal Collaboration — or Lack of It?||“SunTrust case study: Transparency is very important to customers, and they sense when we are, and when we are not, collaborative with their best interests at heart. Collaboration is the only way to get to the core of recurring issues that cost a lot for your company, employees, and customers alike.”|
|Solving Complex Challenges through B2B Customer Experience||“VMware case study: ‘We really want to make systemic and strategic changes that span the company, so we only tackle situations that our normal business-as-usual processes are not normally suited to tackle. Those tend to be situations that span multiple parts of the company, span multiple processes, and where there is no one that is holistically looking at a problem, that’s where our team steps in.'”|
|Making Transformational Changes through B2B Customer Experience Management||“EMC case study: ‘We’re shifting from reactive to proactive mode. By looking at things from an end-to-end perspective, we have more context and insight that gives us credibility to drive cultural transformation. We’ve had double digit increases in our net promoter score since we’ve transformed our program in 2013.'”|
|B-to-B Customer Journey Maps: New Wisdom||“Business-to-business customer experience managers have some advantages: mountains of customer comments on-hand, account managers who practically live with their customer contacts, and executives who want to see substantive improvements in customer experience. Here’s a 3-step approach that bucks mainstream practice and makes more sense for B-to-B customer experience.”|
|Business-to-Business Customer Experience Strategy for 2016 & Beyond||“What do we need to do daily to support a customer at each phase of customer journey processes? What capabilities enable us to provide that daily support of customers’ processes to select, get and use the solutions they buy from us? When you keep the questions simple like this, a profound truth emerges: No one is exempt from playing a critical role in customer experience excellence.”|
Here’s to making business-to-business customer experience management a thriving success!