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The Key to Managing Customer Experience Success

David Dodd | Dec 5, 2016 200 views No Comments

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Over the past few years, it’s become abundantly clear that delivering outstanding experiences to existing and potential customers is critical for competitive success. There’s a widespread recognition among marketers and other company leaders that customer experience has become a new basis of competition for B2B companies.

Numerous research studies have shown that company leaders now view customer experience as an important driver of revenue growth and competitive advantage. For example, in the B2B Digital Trends 2016-2017 report by Econsultancy (in association with Adobe), which was based on a survey of 1,141 B2B marketing, digital, and e-commerce professionals, respondents identified optimizing the customer experience as their most exciting opportunity in 2016 and for the next five years.

Several research studies have also clearly demonstrated that delivering great customer experiences drives superior financial performance. For example, annual research by Forrester has found a strong correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth across more than a dozen industry groups.

But despite the undeniable importance of customer experience, and all of the recent attention it’s received, there is compelling evidence that most B2B companies are still struggling to provide the kinds of experiences that their customers increasingly expect.

  • A recent report by Gallup stated that only 29% of B2B customers are strongly committed to the companies they do business with, which means that B2B companies are at some risk of losing 71% of their customers.
  • A 2015 survey of 1,350 B2B executives by Accenture found that only 23% of B2B companies excel at delivering great customer experiences, while the majority of B2B companies are “idling in customer experience mediocrity.”
Part of the problem is that managing customer relationships is still a fragmented process in most B2B companies. In a recent survey of marketing professionals in 750 mid-size B2B companies, Gleanster Research divided the customer experience lifecycle into five stages and asked survey participants who “owned” each stage. Survey respondents said that marketing owned two stages (awareness and acquisition), sales owned two (conversion and expansion), and service owned one (retention).
The reality is, consistently providing great customer experiences is a complex, multi-faceted undertaking that involves several business functions in a company. But it’s also true that if a company wants to achieve customer experience success, it must have a person (or function) who is responsible for coordinating the work involved in customer experience delivery.
In many ways, marketing is best suited to orchestrate the overall customer experience, but this will be a new type of role for most marketing leaders. To succeed, he or she must coordinate the work of several business functions that have operated more or less independently in the past.
In an earlier post, I discussed how marketing leaders can eliminate silos within the marketing function by building a team of teams. That strategy becomes essential when you need to tear down the walls that usually exist between marketing and other business functions that must work together effectively to achieve customer experience success.

Illustration courtesy of The United States Army Band via Flickr CC.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.


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