More and more B2B organizations are following their B2C peers onto the customer experience (CX) bandwagon—and that’s a good thing. Temkin Group’s research shows that CX strongly correlates with loyalty, and loyalty is critically important to B2B companies because the loss of a few customers can have a more noticeable effect on a B2B organization’s bottom line. However, B2B customer experience is often complicated by the fact that some B2B organizations reach their end customers indirectly through channel partners. For these firms, CX management becomes more about influencing than controlling the end customer experience. Temkin Group calls these companies’ CX efforts B2B2C customer experience management, which we define as:
Enhancing the end customer experience in a way that satisfies the needs of channel partners.
So what does it take to create a good B2B2C customer experience? Temkin Group recently researched how organizations are operating in this environment, and we identified five capabilities required for B2B2C CX success: voice of the partner, customer insights cooperation, CX capabilities development, partner engagement, and channel management collaboration.
Too often, companies and their channel partners only have a limited understanding of their end customers, which results in sub-optimal improvements and hampers the B2B2C customer experience. Therefore, a good place for companies to start improving the B2B2C CX is through the customer insights cooperation capability. This capability helps companies and channel partners learn more about their end customers by helping them share their information and analyses, thereby generating more powerful insights. One of the companies we interviewed for this research, John Deere, does particularly good work supporting its dealers in this area.
John Deere recognized that rather than relying on its dealers to develop their own feedback processes, it should actively facilitate this effort. The company started by creating a Voice of the Customer (VoC) web portal that’s available to its dealers, making it easy for them to opt-in and to use to manage their own closed-loop process around the company’s customer survey. The survey regularly measures the end customer’s customer experience, including a set of drivers known to impact dealers’ primary financial metric—market share. These CX drivers include having knowledgeable personnel, helping the customer maximize equipment performance, and following up with the customer along with other drivers specific to the sales, service, and parts departments.
When it comes to reviewing the customer insights collected through the survey, each John Deere dealer controls who within their operation has access to the portal, which includes overall survey results, specific CX driver feedback linked to dealership processes, and a breakdown of customers by loyalty level. Many dealers have even identified an internal champion who brings together a cross-functional team from the sales, service, and parts departments to discuss survey results and determine what actions should be taken based on customer feedback.
Good partnerships don’t happen by accident. They require a company and its partners to work together to understand each other, to understand end customers, and to create the conditions for a mutually valuable relationship. While customer insights collaboration can be a good place to start, companies should put all five B2B2C CX capabilities to work to propel their efforts forward.