Today’s interview is with Robert Johnson, the co-founder and CEO of TeamSupport.com, a cloud-based, B2B software application built to help customer-facing support teams serve clients better through stronger collaboration, superior teamwork, and faster issue resolution. Robert joins me today to talk about the difference between B2B and B2C customer experience, the Customer Distress Index (CDI) and what B2B companies should be doing differently to improve their customer experience.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – The Commonwealth of Self Interest and customer engagement – Interview with Paul Greenberg – and is number 314 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here’s the highlights of my chat with Robert:
- A lot of providers are doing basic B2B customer support but there are very few that are focusing exclusively on the B2B marketplace.
- B2B is a fundamentally different marketplace.
- Interactions in the B2C world tend to be high volume, low complexity and low material value.
- B2B tends to have relatively low volume support inquiries, but they are generally complex and tend to be more material in value.
- Expectations in the B2B space are being affected by developments in the world of B2C customer experience.
- Everybody wants instant gratification. They want excellent consumer experiences. And they want to be able to talk to their brands in whatever channel that they are comfortable with.
- Rather than focusing on closing tickets, support teams have the ability to evaluate customer data and emotions, allowing them to focus on keeping customers happy rather than simply closing tickets.
- Good customer support should not be transactional. It should not simply be about closing the ticket and moving on to the next issue, especially in the B2B world, and particularly where it involves high material value customers.
- To help with that, TeamSupport developed a tool called Customer Distress Index (CDI), which measures a number of different things including like ticket volume, ticket complexity, severity etc.
- It also integrates with IBM Watson so that they can conduct user sentiment analysis to really understand the level of frustration at both a particular ticket and at a company level. However, rather than just looking at individuals they look at the relationship with that company as a whole.
- The key to managing B2B support is not about the tickets, it’s about the relationship.
- The CDI can be customized depending on people’s situation, the contacts, nature of the work that they do and what they know about what’s important for their customers etc.
- They’ve also had many customers that have come up with their own metrics and have plugged them in to the CDI with their weights to give their own version of what the CDI is.
- The way the CDI is computed is that it pulls the standard deviation of one customer and compares it to all of your other customers.
- In practice, imagine you have 20 or 30 support reps talking to 50 people at a client company, understanding that relationship is very, very difficult. The CDI allows the firm to better understand that nature, quality and state of the relationship that they have with their client.
- The model has 10 different elements and each client can adjust the importance of each of these to fit their business and situation.
- Customer support is critical. It’s likely it will always be needed. But, if you’re just doing that and not trying to understand what the customer needs and wants and what that relationship should look like, you’re really missing a huge area.
- Robert’s Punk CX words: Doing something different and not being constrained with the way things have been done before.
- And, the brand that epitomises a punk approach to CX: Virgin
Robert C. Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of TeamSupport.com, a cloud-based, B2B software application built to help customer-facing support teams serve clients better through stronger collaboration, superior teamwork, and faster issue resolution. A seasoned executive and entrepreneur who has founded and invested in numerous software and high-tech companies, Robert’s industry experience as a business leader and a customer inspired him to create TeamSupport to give Support Desk teams the tools and best practices to enhance customer loyalty and positively impact product sales.
Prior to founding TeamSupport, Robert was President and CEO of Sundance Digital, one of the world’s leading providers of automation software to television and cable broadcasters. The company was sold in 2006 to Avid Technology (Nasdaq: AVID).
Thanks to Pixabay for the image.