Simple Steps to Start or Reinvigorate your B2B CX Program!
Whether you need to start or reinvigorate your B2B CX program, there are simple steps to take your business to the next level. In this blog, I want to focus on two groups of readers. The first group of readers is those who still need a formal CX improvement program in their organization. Second are those readers whose companies have a program but may be thinking about ways to bring new life to the effort.
Providing customers with excellent customer experiences is increasingly becoming a “must-have.” Why? There are several reasons why. In the B2B world we serve, product innovation is now one of several arrows in a company’s competitive quiver. In the past, product innovation was a way to stay competitively strong. While it still is essential, now you must back that up with good value and excellent customer experience, among other things, to remain in the competitive game. Even if you offer the most innovative product but do not provide the needed support, the value of the innovation is partially or completely negated. I have some innovative products in my garage that are now gathering dust.
Second, B2B customer expectations are changing, driven by personal consumer experiences. Most everyone knows how easy it is to order from Amazon. When your industrial customer wants to order a part, they expect it to be readily available online. Since many of the B2B decision makers are Gen-Xers or Millennials, this need is becoming more important. Integrating digital capabilities as part of your experience makes the transaction easier, quicker, and usually less costly for the provider. A.T. Kearney’s research showed that when firms provide that personalized, easy experience, sales grow at 8.1%, or about twice the rate of firms that did not provide these experiences.
The above comments apply to any company, no matter the point on your CX journey. So let’s turn back to two groups of companies in the first paragraph; those with no formal program and those with a program in need of an energy jolt.
You Have No B2B CX Program
There needs to be a formal CX program in place to ensure success. However, the one crucial thing that an effective customer feedback program provides is a measure of performance. You will know where your strong and weak performance areas are from your customers’ perspectives. Without this measurement, you are relying on hope, which while important, is not often a good business strategy.
In the coming months, I will share interviews with some of our clients who have recently started CX improvement programs. Please visit our Success Stories page to watch these interviews and see the ones already there.
Several have mentioned things they have learned in my conversations with some of these clients. For example, one client found out that several of his company’s locations that were viewed internally as star performers could have been better from customer perspectives. Another client noted that some steps they had implemented in their order processes years ago were frustrating customers and were no longer needed.
For companies with significant operations with numerous locations, managing customer experience is impossible by using the “walking around” approach. It is essential to have a formal feedback process in place so that you know where great CX is being delivered and where it is not.
As you consider the pros and cons of a formal CX improvement program, think about the following:
- Do you “feel” your service levels are improving, stagnant, or declining?
- Are competitors improving their service levels?
- Have you recently lost deals to a competitor that you did lose in the past?
One of the things I learned early in my business career is that if you can’t measure, you can’t manage it. So it is time to measure CX at your company!
Need to Reinvigorate Your CX Program
You have had a formal CX program in place for several years. You have been collecting customer feedback, watching the scores, and responding to issues when they arise. However, you sense that that are more opportunities for improving the program and CX at your company. Here are a few suggestions.
- Focus on Understanding the Why Behind the Scores. Too often, CX programs become only a numbers game. While scores are critical, they aren’t the only thing. I often ask clients to think about exams they took in school. If there were few/no comments when you got the exam back, but you got a lower score than expected, you still need to figure out how to improve. The same is true in CX. The feedback provides insights to help you know what and how to change. If you want to see what I mean by insights, send me an email, and I will send you a new Insights White Paper.
- Have a Strong and Effective CX Leader. In too many cases, the person in charge of the CX program has too many other things, and CX becomes an administrative task. Instead, ensure the CX leader focuses on problem-solving with front-line folks to help them understand what they need to change.
- Engage the Executive Team. Engage all employees up and down the ladder in an effective CX program. Senior executives must participate. An effective CX program causes a cultural change in the organization. It should! The executive team needs to make sure that people are talking about CX, acting on CX issues, and leading the entire organization on the CX journey.
I have two simple messages. 1.) First, if you don’t have a formal CX improvement program in place, start one. It will make you money. 2.) If you have one that needs new energy, let me know, and I will send you my Five Suggestions to reinvigorate your CX program.
All the best,