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8 steps for excellent B2B CX (customer experience)


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Customer Experience is an increasingly hot topic right now (but like most things) it is far more complex in B2B than it is in B2C, given the length and complexity of the buying process. So what does great CX look like? And how do you set about achieving it? These were questions that we sought to answer as part of our CXcellence report, the findings of which we then unveiled at our November conference.

Published in: Marketing
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8 steps for excellent B2B CX (customer experience)

  1. 1. Cxcellence: What CX success looks like for B2B brands
  2. 2. ›  CX is a hot topic right now for marketers. ›  It’s being driven by the parallel advances in tech and buyer behaviour, particularly in the digital transactional realm. ›  But as ever, the hype is driven from B2C, and that doesn’t necessarily translate. INTRODUCTION Customer Experience: What’s all the fuss about?
  3. 3. ›  Understand how this hype an advances in thinking translate to B2B ›  Understand what B2B marketers and buyers of business products and services really think about CX. ›  Most importantly: we wanted to help define what great B2B CX looked like, and how marketers could achieve it. INTRODUCTION What were we trying to achieve? Our objectives
  4. 4. “CX is the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.” Harvard Business Review INTRODUCTION How do you define customer experience?
  5. 5. B2C CX ›  Omnichannel ›  Generally exclusively digital ›  Transactional – focused on issues in and around the short sales cycle ›  Geared around high volume, low value engagements INTRODUCTION B2C versus B2B CX comparison B2B CX ›  Multichannel ›  Emphasis on real-world (or at least offline) ›  Conversional – focused on issues surrounding the long sales cycle ›  Geared around low volume, high value engagements
  6. 6. ›  Online survey with buyers of business products and services, worth at least £20k, focusing on their experiences as customers throughout the cycle. ›  Online survey of B2B marketers focusing on their approach to CX. ›  Pulled together in one report. INTRODUCTION About this report
  7. 7. Part 1. What we learned about marketers and CX
  8. 8. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS 1.1 CX is high on the marketing priority list and getting higher
  10. 10. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS 1.2 Responsibility for CX is all over the place 37% Yes 63% No Does responsibility for the customer experience sit within a specific job function or team in your company?
  12. 12. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS 1.3 Lack of clarity of ownership is holding CX development back
  13. 13. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS 1.4 Only half of B2B brands measure the quality of CX 51% Yes 49% No Does your company regularly measure the quality of the customer experience?
  14. 14. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS Measuring the quality of CX
  15. 15. PART 1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MARKETERS 1.5 Only half of marketers have mapped CX Mapping of the CX 30% We’ve mapped it, but not what makes a positive experience at each stage 48% No, we haven’t mapped it 22% Yes, we’ve mapped it thoroughly
  16. 16. Part 2. What we learned about buyers and CX
  17. 17. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 2.1 The impact of CX is felt long before buyers even start the process Before making any detailed evaluation of potential suppliers, did you have an initial preference for any one of them? 41% A strong preference 13% No preference 46% A slight preference
  18. 18. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS Previous experience of the supplier 82% Yes 18% No Had you or your company bought from your preferred supplier previously?
  19. 19. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 94% Yes 6% No Did you ultimately buy from this known supplier?
  20. 20. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 2.2 Great CX means offering information, but keep a respectful distance Imagine a potential supplier to your company wanted to promote themselves to you. If they wanted to do so effectively, what advice would you give them about using each of the following approaches? Search engine promotion Direct mail Social media advertising Engaging with you on social media Telemarketing A presence at trade conferences and exhibitions Seminars and events Publishing supplier magazine with news and features Holding webinars and podcasts Email newsletters and promotions 68 30 3 % 53 35 13 % 47 41 13 % 46 33 12 % 41 42 17 % 20 28 52 % 22 43 35 % 28 40 32 % 37 38 25 % 40 36 24 % Advise for [Ranked accordingly] Wouldn’t mind Advise against
  21. 21. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 2.3 Face-to-face is fundamental
  22. 22. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 2.4 Brands must bridge the CX chasm
  23. 23. PART 2. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BUYERS 2.5 Vendors need to work doubly hard to prove they are listening
  24. 24. Part 3. What CXcellence looks like
  25. 25. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 1.  Audit and define CXcellence at each touchpoint ›  Map and quantify customers needs and expectations at each touchpoint. ›  Conduct competitive evaluations to identify best practice or stimulate new thinking. ›  Conduct an audit of current practice and determine a capability gap. ›  Create feedback loops to ensure CX is adapting to changing expectations.
  26. 26. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 2. Create a joined-up and consistent plan ›  Set clear objectives, which are ambitious but achievable. ›  Demonstrate real commercial value. ›  All relevant departments must be onboard and committed. ›  Departmental collaboration and linkages must be (re) defined.
  27. 27. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 3. Centralise ownership of CX ›  Create processes for interdepartmental collaboration and ongoing learning. ›  Marketing must take responsibility for driving business value from CX. ›  Sales cannot ‘own’ the customer for the duration of the entire process.
  28. 28. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 4. Establish a clear and balanced set of metrics ›  These must be agreed by all relevant parties and reported to the board. ›  They must encompass the full customer journey. ›  By definition, this may be a disparate data suite – some difficult to access. ›  The board must show demonstrable commitment by feeding back on progress.
  29. 29. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 5. Make sure everyone gets CX ›  Good CX is delivered at every touchpoint, therefore every employee plays a role. ›  A company-wise ethos of CX must be established, and implications communicated. ›  The board must live and breathe CX, and be its best advocates.
  30. 30. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 6. Identify and engage influencers ›  Who are they and where are they? What are their profiles? ›  Tier them in levels of priority or accessibility. ›  Audit or quantify their current relationship with your brand. ›  Establish personal or brand relationships on mutually beneficial terms (ie. ‘stop selling, start helping’).
  31. 31. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 7. Build a ‘customer alumni’ ›  Both formal and informal advocacy is essential to manage your reputation. ›  Document and capture great CX via testimonials and case studies. ›  Use storytelling techniques to bring these alive and propagate them. ›  Continue to engage with customers beyond the commercial lifespan of your relationship.
  32. 32. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE 8. Embrace and respond to feedback ›  CXcellence is never a given – hard won success can be quick to unravel. ›  Ensure customer feedback is enshrined in corporate culture. ›  Go out of your way to demonstrate you’re listening – and responding. ›  Where you can’t change things, explain why not.
  33. 33. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE A CX checklist How can you tell if you’re getting it right? ›  Have you mapped excellence in CX across all touchpoints? ›  Do you have a coherent and consistent CX plan? ›  Are all relevant departments aligned and onboard? ›  Do staff at every level understand CX’s relevance to them? ›  Do you have clear, coherent metrics which are reported to and discussed by the board? ›  Are you actively engaging influencers? ›  Are you building your customer alumni? ›  Do you cultivate feedback and demonstrably act on it?
  34. 34. PART 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE Download the report It’s free to Premium Members.
  35. 35. SECTION 3. WHAT CXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE In summary ›  The battle for B2B CX is not exclusively fought let alone won in the digital realm. ›  However, acceleration of change means the impact of digital will increase. ›  Is CX Just Good Marketing (JGM)? ›  The emergence of CX refocuses us on the customer, and therefore is good news. ›  Those brands that can embrace CX, and tackle the challenges it presents, will have a critical advantage.
  36. 36. Thanks for listening! Any questions?