Top Three Reasons To Start a Customer Experience Program
The Daniel Group’s extensive CX data effortlessly reveals the top three reasons to start a Customer Experience program at your B2B company that has nothing with online buzz. Right now, Customer Experience (CX) is one of those topics getting a lot of attention. If you do a Google search on Customer Experience, it returns 4.2 billion hits. Interestingly, this is slightly greater than searching on the word COVID (4.0 billion hits). But just because CX is getting attention is no reason, by itself, to embark on a CX improvement effort.
1st Reason: Customer Experience Makes Your Company More Competitive
The bases for competition in the B2B arena are changing. Years ago, the technical features of a product or service were the main differentiators for one B2B competitor to the next. From my early experiences, working in manufacturing firms and as a consultant, I spent time in planning sessions where we tried to identify ways to differentiate our products. Conversely, we spent little to no time discussing customer service. Perhaps we assumed the Customer Experience to be okay, or at least good enough to be acceptable to customers.
However, ignoring Customer Experience changed when engineering capabilities have increased worldwide, thus allowing for more innovation. Now, companies introduce innovative new products, and competitors soon match or leapfrog the innovation.
For example, consider the auto industry. Ford and GM were founded before 1910, and Hyundai introduced its first car to the US market in 1986. Even though GM and Ford had about a 70+ year head start, Hyundai autos now compete vigorously with GM and Ford. Hyundai offers similar innovative options as provided by other companies. Getting the buyer to choose one brand over another involves factors other than just product technology and options.
While the above example is from the B2C arena, similar situations are playing out in B2B markets. Autonomous machinery, telematics, predictive analytics, and even electric machines are now part of the offering of the primary industry players.
Managers must add arrows to their competitive quivers. CX is a powerful arrow to add!
2nd Reason: Customer Experience Increases Company Growth and Employee Engagement
Doing something because others are doing it is seldom a good reason for taking action. But deciding not to implement a CX program because “others are doing it,” consider what impacts it may have on your business:
First, your competitors will have lower sales and marketing costs. Why? With more satisfied customers, your competitors will get more referrals. We know from our research that up to 40% of our client’s customers are referring.
However, only the most satisfied generate over 90% of referrals.
One client recently shared that their customer retention increased by three percentage points over three years. This change was in lockstep with improving CX scores. In addition, this improvement freed up salespeople to do more prospecting, among other benefits.
Your competitors will grow faster. One study from the Harvard Business Review found that customers with the best past experiences spend 140% more than those with the poorest past experiences. This study is one of many similar studies that show happy customers will spend more money with your company and will you grow.
Your competitors employees will be happier. Yep, better CX and engaged employees are connected—no surprise about this. However, the degree of the connection and the impact on sales is impressive. According to a Gallup study, companies with highly engaged workforces have 20% higher sales than less engaged workforces. Qualtrics’ Bruce Tempkin found that one way to get engagement is to focus on improving CX.
Those companies with better CX have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as those who do not.
I could mention many other reasons but no need to do so. However, if you are not improving CX, you may find yourself at a competitive disadvantage.
3rd Reason: You Need to Know How Your Company Performs at Each Customer Touchpoint
Digital interaction options have been slower to penetrate the B2B markets than B2C. That is changing. According to an article in the Sloan Management Review, 15% of US B2B sales were digital in 2021. Sales from email, online, and, yes, perhaps even text are expected to continue to grow. This omnichannel approach to interaction means it is no longer about having only top-notch products and a great sales team. Since customers are touching your company at multiple points, you have to know how good those touchpoints are.
Having a formal CX program allows you to get feedback at multiple touchpoints. For example, if a customer orders online and has difficulty doing so, you need to know this.
We know how bad experiences can influence a customer’s views. For example, we have clients offering online parts ordering. After several months, management wondered why there were few takers in multiple cases. Research revealed that the site was too slow and cumbersome for customers who tried the online option. Customers said they would prefer to call in their orders.
As a sidebar, methods of gathering feedback are changing too. To read more, check out our blog, Choosing the Best Survey Mode for Your B2B Company—It Matters.
Why should you start a Customer Experience program?
Putting in place a CX Program that includes actively monitoring and acting on feedback will at a minimum 1.) improve your company’s competitiveness, 2.) increase client loyalty and employee engagement, and 3.) improve your digital customer interactions. The central point is that customers in any market demand a better experience. If you can’t deliver it, they will find someone who can!