B2B customer experience critical as B2C
Customer experience has become a common topic for companies that sell to consumers (B2C), but Temkin Group has found that it is also critical for business-to-business (B2B) firms.
In its new report ‘Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience’, Temkin Group identifies leading practices that companies can use to build a client-oriented mindset across their organization and to establish client-centric relationships.
"Consumer companies may get most of the press when it comes to customer experience but there's enormous opportunity in the B2B sector. We found that customer experience can be the foundation to building stronger B2B enterprise relationships," states Aimee Lucas, CX analyst of Temkin Group and lead author of the research.
Temkin Group found that B2B lags behind B2C in all four of what it calls the customer experience core competencies – Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement and Customer Connectedness. The gap is largest in the area of Compelling Brand Values where 37% of large B2C firms are rated as good or better, compared with only 24% of large B2B firms.
The research identifies B2B best practices in seven broad areas:
Develop Closed-Loop Voice of the Client (VoC) Programmes. Having a reliable flow of customer insights across the organization is critical to driving customer-centric actions.
Use Journey Maps to Better Understand Clients' Needs. To better understand how clients see their experiences, B2B organizations can use a tool known as customer journey mapping.
Tap Into Virtual Client Advisory Boards. Client advisory boards (CAB) and councils provide the opportunity to acquire more insight into customer needs and expectations.
Account-Level Experience Reporting. To acquire, retain, and grow B2B relationships, account managers need to understand what's working and not working for each of their clients.
Insightful Business Development. B2B organizations that gather and use the right customer insights during this early stage will create a differentiated experience from the start of the relationship
Collaborative Account Planning. By taking a structured and collaborative approach to developing in-depth account plans, companies can tap into their enterprise knowledge.
Proactive Intervention and Support. B2B organizations need to use customer insights and feedback from account managers to intervene in service experiences gone wrong as quickly as possible with well-defined, robust recovery procedures.
The report provides a many specific practices from companies such as Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SanDisk, Stream Global, and VMware.
The research report Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience can be downloaded from the Temkin Group website, www.TemkinGroup.com.