B2B customer experience continues to be center stage with a majority of corporate executives listing this is one of their strategic initiatives for 2017. However, fewer than 15% of B2B marketers (those most often charged with customer experience initiatives) state that they feel “customer experience is ingrained in the fabric of their company, according to a study from B2B International.
As stated in our previous blog, the key to succeeding with customer experience begins with an organization’s employees and it is the enabling, equipping and empowering of the employees that will be the difference in success or failure.
As you enable your employees, the next step is equipping them to deliver customer experience.
According to Merriam-Websters dictionary, the word equip means the following:
– To furnish for service or action by appropriate provisioning
– To make ready
So how does an organization make their employees ready for customer experience? Here are a few insights:
1. Give Them The Necessary Tools
Not long ago I was in a meeting with a mid-market technology firm. The focus of the meeting was how to better communicate and engage with their customers. Before the meeting had hardly started, one of the members of the operations team stated, “We will be lucky if we can identify our customers. Our data is so bad and we have not invested in the necessary systems to help.”
Clearly this was a pin point in the organization and while this team was being asked to provide better engagement and experience for their customers, they were hamstrung by the fact that no investment had been made in the right tools to help them accomplish their tasks.
While I will be the first to say that technology is not a silver bullet that will solve strategic problems, it is important that employees are equipped with the right enabling technologies to perform their roles effectively.
2. Provide The Necessary Access To Information
A recent study by IDC and Axway showed that 69% of organizations have yet to implement a single view of the customers. While harnessing the mass of data in an organization can be a challenge, having a full view and equipping employees with customer intelligence is necessary.
Given the impact of customer experience on virtually every role in a B2B organization, it is necessary to supply customer intelligence so they are able to respond accordingly. Having a limited view of the customer equates to a limited customer experience, which more often than not is damaging to the brand.
Given that up to 70% of data that exists in an organization is unstructured data, it is imperative that organizations acquire the ability to access this data and truly get a holistic view of their customers. Without full insight into customers and their behavior, organizations will largely be guessing at how to best engage and interact with their customers.
3. Equip Them With Incentives
In an article by PFL in 2016, Collette Keith writes, “Great Customer Experience Starts With Your Culture.” Part of that culture is measuring the impact your employees are having and rewarding success.In my experience, employees gain great satisfaction from seeing the impact of their work and if they are impacting the business in a positive manner, they should be rewarded for their efforts.
By measuring the business impact of customer experience, you are equipping your team with feedback on what is working well and what can be improved. By subsequently rewarding those efforts, you are making them part of the corporate strategy and letting them reap the benefits of growth.
Equipping employees for customer experience is not a set-it and forget it approach. The continual measurement, optimization of customer experience strategy combined with the enablement needs to be a constant and part of professional development. Your employees will be thankful for it and this what your customers will experience.
This post originally ran on the VisumCx Customer Experience Blog on May 9, 2017