It can’t have escaped your notice that these days there’s a lot of talk about how pivotal the customer experience is.
In fact, it’s becoming a deciding factor in determining where customers go for products or services – and the longevity of their commercial relationships with those providers they engage with.
Clearly, adopting a customer-centric mindset is now just as important in B2B dealings as it is in the consumer and retail worlds.
Yet, all too often B2B customer-experience index ratings lag way behind those of B2C companies.
Indeed, according to McKinsey Consulting, while B2C companies typically score in the 65-85% range, B2B companies generally average less than 50%.
Little wonder that many companies are now in a race to transform their customer-experience processes to boost client-satisfaction scores.
Those that achieve broad transformations in client-satisfaction scores are reaping impressive rewards. Again, according to McKinsey, they’re enjoying revenue growth of 10-15%, reductions of 10-20% in cost to serve, and an increase in employee satisfaction.
That’s an impressive return, especially for businesses in maturing industry markets who are battling emerging low-cost rivals. Because with higher customer satisfaction comes ‘stickier’ customer loyalty.
So, let’s explore how a CRM system could help you improve the B2B customer experience:
- Actively listen to customer needs – use your CRM to poll customers for their opinions and how they think you could make their experience better. You may want to evaluate the different experiences of different customer segments – is there a disconnect?
- Redesign the customer journey – use your CRM system to map out and review each end-to-end customer journey, redesigning these to address every dimension of the customer experience and build in feed-back mechanisms to check customer satisfaction or nudge them to an upsell/cross sell option – because the more services they commit to, the less inclined they will be to look elsewhere.
- Spot the signs – your CRM system contains a rich source of data you can analyse to spot if a customer relationship is about to ‘churn’ or is at risk – such as product cancellations or at key renewal dates. If you’re able to profile potential ‘at risk’ customers, you can initiate targeted proactive actions to boost retention and demonstrate you’re actively listening – and are prepared to respond to their needs.
- Predict future needs – your CRM system holds a record of every customer interaction, so you can apply clever thinking to predict what their next needs might be – or anticipate future challenges they may face and suggest how you might be able to resolve these. In other words, offer customers what they really want – not what you think they’ll want.
- Deliver attentive customer support – create automatic emails that are triggered at key events. So, when they place an order you can provide a tracking number, information about a received enquiry with useful FAQs and signposting to other self-help resources.
- Change your ROI measurements – initiate new customer metrics like a Net Promoter Score so that marketing and support teams can focus on the customer experience journey.
- Get proactive – identify opportunities where sales and marketing can intervene with customers to make a difference or demonstrate you’ve spotted that a customer may need special attention. For example, if a customer’s billing jumps, dispatch an email offering an opportunity to call in and discuss a preferential rate for volume orders. Or if you see a jump in support calls – ask if it’s time to explore what’s happening and how you can help.
- Target resource allocation – keep track of your best customers and ensure you’re allocating resources to ensure your best customers get the most investment in terms of time and energy. Utilise CRM to strengthen your bond with all customer segments, with regular updates, news on innovations they may be interested, and topical insights.
Delivering a great customer experience is critical to the success of a B2B organisation. Providing consistent and compelling interactions will enable you to win the business – and loyalty – of buyers.
We all know that the B2B buyer journey is often long and complicated and may well involve multiple touchpoints – digital, face-to-face, telephone. To add to the difficulty, tools and data points are often managed by siloed teams.
Your CRM system can provide the unifying piece of the puzzle. Providing B2B marketers with the data they need to spearhead the company’s CEM (customer experience management) activities.
The top three barriers to successfully delivering a consistent customer experience are:
- Inefficient internal processes
- Tracking and reporting the right metrics
- Lack of alignment across internal teams
But that’s where today’s intelligent CRM technologies can help. Enabling marketing organisations to rethink how they work and collaborate across teams and departments to craft a truly world-class end-to-end customer experience.