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The ROI of investing in B2B Customer Experience

In this article, our Head of UX, Sophia Duffy, and our Strategy Director, Nicky Lloyd, talk about the benefits of investing in customer experience and provide practical steps to help you improve your CX maturity

We've all heard it said: the line between B2B and B2C customer experience (CX) is blurring, and the pandemic has only accelerated matters. B2B customers are no longer satisfied with only a good product or service. They want to buy into your company – your brand purpose and the people behind it. They expect consistent, personalised and human experiences wherever and whenever they interact with your business.

It's not enough to optimise individual touchpoints. You need to consider your entire customer experience. And that requires a deep understanding of your customers' needs throughout their entire lifecycle.

Armed with this insight, you can give them what they want at every turn and, ultimately, build value propositions that will exceed their expectations.

How consistent is your customer experience?

B2B customer journeys are often complex and non-linear, with a multitude of stakeholders on both the business and customer side. For that reason, the customer experience can vary wildly, and the resulting inconsistencies can lead to a disappointing experience overall.

As humans, we all suffer from negativity bias – a propensity to focus on negative information far more than positive information. Imagine a customer that has a positive and engaging onboarding process where they are supported by a dedicated Account Manager. But, later in their journey, they’re frustrated by systems that are not personalised and don’t provide the support they need. How would they feel?

You've guessed it. The customer dwells on the negative stimuli, which shape their psychological state and negatively influence their perception of the business and brand. This poor perception will be reinforced by future interactions that also fall short of the mark, however hard the Account Manager tries to placate and support them. This ultimately influences their decision making, potentially resulting in them looking for a new partner.

Getting your CX right is about building insight across the customer lifecycle and creating the right business ecosystem to deliver against your customers’ evolving needs.

How ‘CX mature’ is your organisation?

CX maturity ranges from the bottom of the spectrum, where CX isn't a strategic priority and isn't measured, to the top, where CX is embedded in everything your organisation does. Businesses with great CX empower all employees to produce great experiences, and they also continuously adapt and evolve their propositions to meet changing customer needs.

If your organisation wants to improve its CX maturity, there are a few things you can do:

  • Make customer-centricity a strategic business objective
    Without exec and leadership buy-in, most CX initiatives are doomed to failure. Successful strategies require clear and measurable goals, accountability, and a programme of continuous improvement. Most importantly, your CX strategy needs to align with your business and brand strategy – and you should be prepared to make investments in technology and operating systems to deliver against your goals.
  • Define your ‘CX North Star’
    Your North Star is the guiding principle that moves you towards your ultimate goals. To get there, you’ll need a clear set of CX principles so you can implement iterative changes that will be the stepping stones to great customer experience.

We’ve seen organisations drive to improve customer experience by focusing on communication and interaction, without making the appropriate investments needed throughout the journey to mitigate against operational failings that become real barriers to good customer experience.

  • Communicate your strategy
    Everyone across your business needs to understand your North Star, be empowered to deliver on the strategy in their functions and roles and see the value of the continuous improvement process. Giving people context, in their own language helps them align with your North Star. It also gives employees a shared confidence and belief in your vision.
  • Iteratively improve with customer experience maps
    All successful customer experience strategies start with clarity on how you’re performing right now. CX mapping is the act of creating a visual map of the end-to-end experience of your customers both on and offline. It goes from awareness and consideration to decision, onboarding and in-life.

CX maps help you step back and get a comprehensive view of the full experience through your customers’ eyes. They’re informed by customer research like stakeholder workshops, customer interviews, quantitative and qualitative data, and behavioural insights. They help you understand customer pain points, spot inconsistencies across different areas of your journey, and ultimately identify quick wins and longer-term opportunities. All of which creates a roadmap to continually improve your customers' experience.

Front line employees really are your eyes and ears and are the ones that have the clearest picture of your customer needs beyond the customers themselves. So including them as part of the process of building customer experience maps can be useful.

Customer experience map
  • Measure and become obsessed with improvement
    Excellent customer experience comes from test and learn cycles – continuous experiments and improvements across the journey. Once you start to see the benefits, you’ll be hooked.

So what are the benefits of investing in CX?

When we make customer-centricity a strategic objective, we see better outcomes for both customers and businesses. If implemented correctly, the upside is huge.

Over time you can expect to see:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction: You will create lasting relationships with your customers, with the NPS score to prove it. "It costs businesses 5 to 25 times more to attract a new customer than to retain one," says the Harvard Business Review. Investing in CX reduces churn and increases customer lifetime value – Fred Reichheld, writing for Bain & Company, estimates that a 5x increase in customer retention increases company profits from 25 to 95%.
  2. Increased customer acquisition and loyalty: Which means increased sales revenue. Understanding and empathising with your customers can lead to insights and opportunities that you may never have expected – perhaps new routes to market, up-sell opportunities or new feature or product developments.
  3. Breakdown of organisational silos: Foster cross-functional collaboration within your organisation, united around the customer experience. The shift in mindset and culture encourages process streamlining and promotes efficiencies.
  4. Increased customer advocacy: You'll see more leads via word-of-mouth as your customers share positive experiences with their peers. Advocacy is the ultimate goal of your CX investment and will generate sustained business growth well into the future.

Ready to invest in CX, but not sure where to begin?

We offer a CX mapping programme to help you kick-start your customer experience transformation. Talk to us today to find out how it could help your business.

In our next article, we’ll be talking about the intrinsic link between customer and employee experience. After all, you can’t expect to deliver great customer experience without fostering a great employee experience first.


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