MAKING THE LEAP FROM GOOD TO GREAT
In the highly competitive business-to-business (B2B) space, good customer experience just isn’t good enough. Customer interactions have to be exceptional if you want to grow long term affinity for your products and services, create strong differentiation and keep customers coming back for more. However, delivering exceptional experiences consistently, at global scale, is no easy task for any organization. The challenge is even greater when you have complex product and service offerings, long sales cycles, non-linear sales processes and multiple customer interactions across the buyer journey.
So how do you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your company leaves nothing to chance when it comes to creating those exceptional experiences? Here are three great places to start…
1. Build a customer feedback-action-governance loop
Voice of the customer (VOC) surveys are an excellent way to collect feedback directly from your customers and learn about the current experiences they’re having with your brand. It’s not only critical to find out what they value most, it’s equally important to identify areas where they would like to see improvements and receive more value from your company. Yet, collecting the feedback is actually the easy part. Establishing a systematic way to take action on the feedback is where the rubber hits the road; that’s what sets you up to deliver exceptional experiences. Here’s the challenge: while a strong CX program helps to identify areas of change, it’s up to other parts of your business to own and implement those changes. Strong governance and collaboration is needed to drive continuous change from insight through to action.
2. Know which experiences matter most
Analyze the various interactions your customers have with your company through their eyes (known as journey mapping) and identify which ones are the truly relationship-defining moments. By homing in on those, you can focus your time and resources on delivering exceptional experiences precisely where and how your customers value them most. Remember… “experience” is the sum of many interactions and they are not all equally valuable – if you get really good at identifying the most important ones and making them exceptional, you’ll be in a good place.
Accenture’s research report, Living Business: Achieving Sustainable Growth Through Hyper-Relevance states companies that are succeeding and achieving continuous growth have developed five interdependent sets of capabilities, three* of which relate directly to delivering exceptional experiences:
- Target New Opportunities – Target core and disruptive growth initiatives to fuel responsive innovation.
- Design for Customers – Design products and services as hyper-relevant platforms.
- Build Engagement – Build intelligent marketing and sale experiences.
- Scale with Partners – Scale with a broad and new set of ecosystem alliances,
- Rewire Culture – Rewire your workforce with a customer-first mindset.
3. Deliver boldly and with relevance
Take those insights and don’t just deliver what customers expect. Aim higher – create bold programs and experiences that delight and inspire them in unexpected ways. Deliver experiences that go beyond the norm, ones that differentiate you in their minds from all others.
This will likely require some customer segmentation to identify unique customer types and their related hot buttons – what’s important to customer type A maybe be entirely different than what customer type B cares about. In the B2B world especially, customer experience is not a one-size-fits-all proposition (for more on this topic, see my blog, For B2B, the status quo of customer segmentation just doesn’t cut it).
As stand-alones, these three principals are quite basic. Combined, though, they become a powerful formula for delivering an eXceptional customer experience.
To learn about the full CX equation, see my colleague’s recent blog, The “C” in CX really stands for change.