6 Success Factors Identified for Business-to-Business Customer Experience Excellence


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The 2nd Annual ClearAction Business-to-Business Customer Experience Management (CEM) Benchmarking Study has identified six best practices for strong market performance and customer experience excellence:
• Coordination among managers of CEM methods.
• CEM as a determinant of corporate strategy.
• Presentation of survey results to all employees.
• Calculation of customer lifetime value (CLV).
• Action on survey results by owners of customer experience key drivers.
• Funding of cross-organizational collaboration.

These findings may be instrumental to the future of customer experience as the majority of companies have not yet implemented the above practices. Among the firms that are implementing most or all of these best practices, CEM-related business performance is much stronger and other CEM best practices are also more abundant.

Examples of business results attributed to customer experience management efforts include:

  • 200% growth in profit over the past 4 years. (Chemicals)
  • 200% increase in market share over the past 4 years. (Semiconductors)
  • 20% improvement in revenue over the past year. (Telecommunications)
  • Over $100M in new and existing opportunities influenced in 2011. (Software)
  • New sales year over near have nearly tripled over the past 2 years. (Software)
  • Increase in revenue 10% year over year. (Medical Devices/Pharmaceuticals)
  • Double digit growth over the past 4 years. (Machinery)
  • 15% reduction in churn over the past year. (Transportation/Logistics)

The most common methods in use to reach customer experience management goals are, respectively, customer touch-point improvements, customer surveys, first contact resolution of customer concerns, customer intelligence, and improvements to existing products.

Two-thirds of business-to-business (B2B) companies have realized a strong or moderate impact on the success of CEM efforts through employee engagement and employee empowerment to act in the best interest of customers. Employee engagement funding has increased over the past year for CEM efforts among at least a quarter of B2B firms in the areas of internal staffing, cross-organizational collaboration, training and conferences, process improvement, customer touch-points (including customer journey maps and customer life cycle management), and internal communications.

Similarly, a strong or moderate impact on the success of CEM is reported by two-thirds of study participants through the use of quality tools (such as six sigma, Pareto, etc.), executive sponsorship, and systems thinking (such as explicit recognition of connections and consequences across actions, processes, organizations, etc.). Customer engagement funding has increased over the past year for CEM efforts among at least a third of B2B firms in the areas of branding and campaigns, customer relationship management (CRM), customer data analysis, and customer surveys.

This annual study is the only global analysis of customer experience among business-to-business companies across all industries. It monitors the journey to world-class performance in how business-to-business firms (1) listen to customers, (2) view customers, (3) center employees on customers, and (4) center business on customers. It explores the motivations behind CEM and its linkages to corporate goals, strategy, culture, processes, and business success. Recommendations for stronger customer experience strategy, cross-organizational cooperation, and business results are provided in the study.

This study was sponsored by ClearAction and The Insight Advantage. The third annual B2B CEM study is scheduled for publication in mid-2012.

The Insight Advantage is a full-service research firm, providing a wide range of services (web surveys, focus groups, telephone interviews) to help companies implement customer research for ongoing insight into their customers’ evolving needs and expectations. Jennifer Berkley Jackson, head of The Insight Advantage, is an extension faculty member of University of California – Santa Cruz.

ClearAction: is a customer experience consulting firm that helps organizations build enterprise-wide customer-focus and customer experience innovation. ClearAction’s skills and pragmatic experience in customer satisfaction, quality, marketing, and organizational development catalyze value from customer feedback by applying it to daily decisions and processes company-wide. Lynn Hunsaker, head of ClearAction, is author of three ebooks: Innovating Superior Customer Experience, Metrics You Can Manage for Success, and Customer Experience Improvement Momentum.

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