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IMPROVING B2B USER EXPERIENCE

Updated on June 18, 2019
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I am a marketing specialist with articles published regarding trends in digital marketing. A writer by day and a reader by night.

Best practices for a successful business relation

Defining ideal B2B customer experience:

People involved in B2B sale often describe the process as complicated and frustrating. CEB conducted a survey where they asked their senior executives to describe the purchase process in one word, The results were brimming with distasteful replies like “awful”, “painful”, “hard”, and “minefield”. This is happening because the pressure of sales is lagging the service aspect of the job which affects the customer experience.

An ideal B2B customer experience is a perplexity. You will find several articles dancing around the topic defining what it really takes to be effective. One thing remains the same, the end goal of the process is to reach humans and tug them towards your product and retain them as customers for long period of times. When we begin a conversation with new customer, our aim is to talk about their needs and wants and convert the lead into a sale. An ideal customer experience would urge the said customers to come back to us. Our consideration of the B2B buyer’s journey, from market observation to vendor selection, becomes important in developing a successful online marketing program.

An ideal customer journey is a pillar of B2B world. It was often overlooked but now B2B industry has conducted a survey where 90% of prominent B2B entities said that customer experience is pivotal to their company’s strategy. B2B customer experience includes an Omni-channel atmosphere where marketing strategies are designed to attract new and retain old customers. B2B companies strategize their CX towards a broader range of activities. These activities include Account management, quote management, order management, solution shaping, preventive maintenance, and commercial intelligence and analytics. These areas can help B2B companies to exploit the customer engagement and satisfaction to their desire.

B2B customer experience is about creating a personalized, transparent experience and building lasting business relation while providing appropriate, digital solutions. B2B CX focuses on employee experience as a happy employee will put more into a superior customer experience. Companies invest in employee experience to get 4.0x more profit. Newbies in B2B industry are using CX and UX as a tool to create a name for themselves. This is a big reminder to existing B2B brands who have forgotten the importance of customer experience. There is a lot of room for improvement in B2B customer experience where system is broken and lacks the personalization factor.

In B2b Industry, customer experience lasts for long period of time. For example an IT company will continue to work closely with the same group of executives at a business for weeks and month. This duration will determine the future of such relations, either the bond will be strengthened or weakened in this exchange. A positive interpersonal experience will save your relationship with customer and might earn you referrals. It is important to understand that a solid customer experience can help your business to gain new customers. It aligns company values, personal relationships, and use of latest technology to guarantee continuous improvement.

TIPS ON BUILDING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE:

Multiple decision makers and long sales cycles pose as challenges to companies who focus on B2B sales with customer experiences. Some best practices can be copied from B2C models however B2B is having an amazing set of tools for Business to business model shared by leading practitioner in B2B research.

ORGANIZATION-WIDE EFFORTS

To manage customer experience, the effort must be carried out throughout the organization. From sales, product, quality, customer support and so on. It is important to have constant support system otherwise lack of engagement with customer will result in bad user experience. In an ideal system, customer data is collected and organization allies behind an overall goal of mending customer experience. Company works on designing a balanced set of agreed-upon metrics which work together to reflect and alleviate business hurdles.

Best practices for B2B CX organizational outcomes:

  • You can start with buy-in at C-level
  • Think of the customer experience research program as an in-depth feedback program
  • Redesign the internal courses to come up with improving customer experiences

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE METRICS

There are various B2B portals who are working tirelessly to provide the best customer experience for example Alibaba and Tradewheel. They operate by designating benchmarks for tracking the effectiveness. Benchmarks are used for providing organizations with a relative metric of performance.

Benchmarks can be divided into two types, internal and external. Internal benchmarks can be assessed by tracking performance over time, while external benchmarks are competitive. For external benchmarks, you need to collect information from within the organization as well as competitors or peers to get an outlook on your performance relative to others.

Best practices for benchmarking in B2B CX:

  • Comparisons within country are more valid as compared to the cross-national comparisons, even if they are within the same business unit.
  • Use of relative metrics is encouraged rather than absolute metrics.

CONTACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

In B2B industry, working on finding the right respondent is a very complex endeavor especially when it is mandatory to have a number of people respond to a survey to capture the details from organization for record keeping. In B2B context, ideal survey respondent would be an individual who is responsible of making decisions on behalf of the company. This individual is very difficult to engage in a survey because of the job requirements therefore it is now necessary that the research is designed in a way that these individuals give their input infrequently such as 1-2 times per year.

Best practices for B2B contact management system:

  • Design survey demands very carefully to ensure that the right individuals pertaining to the survey are being asked to participate.
  • Survey feedback should be personalized for each individual as possible. The survey request should be sent through professional emails to pull in personal info like, name, products and length of tenure.
  • Smaller yet targeted surveys prove to be more profitable rather than surveys that are spread out across organization.

NPS IS FAR FROM A CORRECT METRIC

In B2C research, the Net Promoter Score is used as it is a well-established metric for performance indication of customer experience. In NPS system, direct link of score to business is difficult to demonstrate even if B2B researchers tend to see higher response rates across a large variety of customers. The critical issue which come with NPS is that it makes it less suitable for B2B CX research as the centricity is shifted to score instead of the customer. Hence alternative measures like overall satisfaction (OSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) for transactional surveys

Best practices for using NPS in B2B surveys:

  • It is recommended that you use the likelihood to recommend question primarily as a guide for when to follow-up.
  • It is recommended that you consider using an average for Net Promoter Score rather than dividing the outcome by ‘Promoters, Passives, and Detractors’
  • At least 1000 responses should be collected to achieve stability when calculating the score for NPS.


LINKING SURVEY DATA WITH BUSINESS DATA

Companies find it hard to link the experience (X-data) and operational information (O-data). Experience metrics measuring is common however they are not linked to data received from decision drivers and financial performance. Once we are able to understand the factors that are driving the purchase can help us understand the metrics like CSAT or NPS. Moreover, for B2B, data analysis tactics may need to be adapted from the B2C applications in order to accommodate B2B financial models and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Best practices for linking survey data with business data:

  • Potential external sources of data must be recognized to link with the survey data as much as possible.
  • It is recommended to use business data to measure survey data for bias

End note:

Customer lifetime values are higher in B2B sales as compared to the B2C sales. Focusing on retention, surveys and referrals can bring a quick return on investment. To make these implementations, you must first get to know the customer experiences and their buying journey to be able to delight them.

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