What is unique to B2B Customer Experience? Here are my top findings.
B2B customer loyalty is driven by relationship – not transactions and purchase. Due to this nature, B2B customers typically evaluate their experience through journey moments such as onboarding, early engagement or handling of unexpected events, than single transactional experience such as a website visit.
There is no “one customer” in B2B. Contrary to the consumer experience where there is typically only one customer who evaluates, decides, purchases and utilises a product or service, it is very rare that the same customer walks the end to end journey in B2B. Understanding the different customer roles and their goals in the journey is critical. Customer journey looks very different to the customer CEO vs project manager, not to forget the influencers, often impacting if the journey even begins.
B2B customer experience is very people-dependent and personal. Customers place a huge value to the relationship they have with their KAM, sales person, account manager or contact person. A typical challenge however is, that the individual level experience varies a lot if there are no shared practices or targets on what kind of customer experience is expected to be delivered. Thus a customer may see that the experience varies by individual, or department delivering the experience. It is not rare to hear a B2B customer telling that it feels like they are dealing with two or three different companies from marketing and sales to delivery and maintenance.
Considering the above, B2B customer experience is best approached from:
An end-to-end customer journey view. The full customer journey view tells us what are the common needs, requirements and value drivers from start to finish, such as proactivity or personal experience. This end-to-end view is then broken down into journey moments (or “mini-journeys”) such as customer onboarding to understand in a deeper level, how to deliver the value in selected journey moments.
Customer value perspective. Focus should be on the customer type – what it is that this type of a customer, e.g. project manger, is expecting, needing and experiencing? What brings value to this type of a customer and how do we deliver the value with our services and processes?
Co-creation with the frontline. Individuals impacting the experience on a daily basis need support in delivering superior customer experience. Change programs work best when they are built with the frontline, so involving the frontline in designing new customer-centric ways of working is a great way to ensure commitment. Having shared standards and practices leads to better predictability in the customer experience, and often times a better NPS.