How to Put the Experience Back Into B2B Customer Experience

A critical look at how B2B brands can take their customer experience up a notch.

Rotana Hotels, one of the leading hotel groups in MENA, revamped their guest survey and designed a more personalised survey experience, customised to each guest’s stay, using Clarabridge’s customer experience management software. The result? The guest satisfaction rose steadily, growing from 81.7 to 89.2. Not to mention, this helped boost sales.

Be it B2B, or B2C customers, their expectations from brands have changed. Customers are no longer staying loyal to a product or service. Instead, you’ll see them coming back based on the experience they’ve had with your brand so far.

According to the Digital Trends report, published by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, most brands have admitted that optimising the customer experience (22%) would be the most critical opportunity for their organisation, ahead of creating compelling content for digital experiences (16%), and data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual (12%).

Vibe Martech Fest, Jakarta

What is Customer Experience and Why Does it Matter?

Customer experience (CX) can be only defined as what your customer perceives how you treat them. Your customer’s experience affects not only his behaviour but also drives his loyalty.

In other words, customer experience is the means to get a customer to not only like you, but continue to like you, thereby compelling him to spend more. Customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18%) for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience.

Also Read: The Customer Genome and the Future State of Personalisation

CX Also Matters for B2B

You’d think all the talk about meaningful experiences would matter to B2C brands. That’s where you are wrong.

B2B customers are humans as well. Their journey with your brand is as important as a B2C customer journey. Therefore their opinion and perception of your brand should matter to a brand.

Here are some statistics you can chew on:

  1. 96% of B2B buyers say the customer experience directly affects whether they’ll buy again.
  2. Customers who enjoy a great experience spend 140% more than those who receive a bad experience.

What do B2B brands Need to Achieve Better CX?

Forrester forecasts that US B2B eCommerce will reach $1.8 trillion and account for 17% of all B2B sales in the US by 2023. To achieve those numbers, B2B brands need to value the experience they provide the customer throughout his journey.

Here’s a Five-step Guide to Achieving B2B CX Success

Step 1: Predict Customer Behaviour

Understanding how your customer interacts with your brand through various channels will help you anticipate his behaviour.

Predictive analytics can show you the history of your customer, his needs and expectations. It can also predict possible outcomes from his previous interactions with you.

Use this data to create a buyer persona that can help you scale up the conversion rates.

Also Read: CDP Delivers Personalised Customer Experiences at Scale

Step 2: Create Excellent Customer Service

Your sales reps need to be trained to help the customer across all channels, throughout their journey across the funnel. You need to make sure that your customer service is good enough for the customer to be satisfied.

Captivate Connect CEO Mark Horwood, in his LinkedIn article, say, comments about the difference between customer service and experience.

“You may be thinking that CX is simply delivering better customer service to your customer. However, this isn’t the case; customer service is merely a block that builds the foundation for delivering exceptional CX! The overarching aim of improving Customer Experience entails a business evoking emotion within customers at every touch point with the company.”

Step 3: Earn Customer Loyalty

While customer service is a big part of customer experience, customer satisfaction is equally important in gaining loyalty.

Earn loyalty by anticipating your customer’s needs, improving your products and services to match those needs thereby eliminating pain points.

Earning customer loyalty will lead you to increase your retention rate. According to Fred Reichheld and Phil Schefter, as little as a 5 percent increase in retention rate will raise profits by 25-95 percent.

Step 4: Ask for Customer Feedback

While you track your customer retention, it is imperative that you also understand why your customers are happy or unhappy with your product or service.

A quick customer survey form with not more than two to five questions will help you gauge your customer’s experience with your brand. These surveys should be conducted at the right time, through the right channels, and with the right personas within the account.

Also Read: How CMOs Can Lead Customer Experience

Step 5: Close the Loop

Your customer’s journey with you does not end with him purchasing your product or service. That’s just the beginning. You must always close the loop on the interaction after you have received comments or responses to your surveys. This shows your customers that you value their feedback. It makes them want to return for a better experience in the future.

B2B companies have more than one respondent per account. To enhance your customer’s experience, you must ensure that you close the loop at every level of the organisation.

Customer experience is an ongoing process. As a B2B brand, you must consistently try to improve CX through surveys and by closing the loop. You can optimise CX based on your survey findings, analytics of the customer behaviour, and the feedback you’ve received.

Treat your customers well, and their experience will lead you to better sales numbers in 2019.