A practical guide to delivering exceptional CX
Every business leader will tell you that they value their customers. Of course they will. They know that their businesses cannot exist without them. However, this is a questionable truth. B2B International polled over 200 business leaders in the US and Europe to find out how successful B2B companies are at delivering customer experience. The survey showed that over half the leaders sampled believe that their companies are failing on six important tests of customer experience.
Commitment: leaders may say that they value their customers but how committed are they to this belief? When a choice has to be made between a new warehouse, a new machine tool or an investment in customer service, where will the dollars go? The survey showed that 52% of leaders admitted that their companies are not fully committed to satisfying their customers and making them feel valued.
Fulfilment: promises are made to customers every day but they are frequently broken. In fact, 62% of B2B companies admit that they fail to deliver against customers’ needs.
Seamlessness: customers want their B2B suppliers to be easy to deal with. Large B2B companies have departments that are silos. Departments don't talk to each other and many have forgotten that they are there to serve customers. 73% of respondents in the B2B survey said that they fail to make life easy for their customers.
Responsiveness: when enquiries are received and orders are placed, B2B customers expect a fast response. However, phones aren’t answered, out of office alerts to emails regularly pop up and long delays are normal for many B2B customers. 60% of B2B leaders accept that they fail to give timely responses and they have unacceptably slow or late deliveries.
Proactivity: B2B customers are looking for partnerships with their suppliers. They want their suppliers to anticipate their needs and help them gain a competitive edge. 75% of B2B companies confess to being poor on proactivity.
Evolution: B2B customers are like you and me. They buy products in the Main Street where they see constant improvements to customer experience. B2B companies want the same level of customer experience from their suppliers. 61% of B2B leaders admit that their companies fail to continuously improve customer experience. This is a shocking indictment on B2B companies and it makes you wonder how they continue to stay in business. It appears that they manage to do so because once a B2B supplier becomes listed, it is easier to carry on dealing with the devil that is known than risk switching to the devil that is unknown. Inertia encourages customer experience mediocrity from B2B suppliers.
The world is changing and B2B companies are at risk. Buyers of B2B products are tasting customer experience from Apple, Amazon, Zappos and the Chick-fil-A. Not unreasonably they want the same commitment, fulfilment, seamlessness, responsiveness, proactivity and evolution from their B2B suppliers.
Building excellent customer experience is not unlike building a house. It needs solid foundations and these are the six pillars we have discussed. Then there are the rooms of the house. Each must be attractive and play its role in delivering excellent customer experience. Products have to meet or beat expectations. Prices must deliver value. Access to the product must be through convenient channels. The reputation and brand of the company must build trust. With solid foundations and the rooms in place, the roof can now be completed. These are the little things that matter such as remembering customers’ birthdays, providing unexpected treats, and saying a genuine "thank you" when orders are received.
You will note in our metaphor that two people are looking at the house. One is labelled B2B and the other B2C. The emotions of these two people may well be different but that is fine and to be expected. These emotions should not be underrated. They are what make the house of customer experience a success.