The CX essential: 5 ways to drive the customer experience at your company
Great customer experience is on every B2B marketer's wish list, but getting there may mean starting with the basics. Mary-Anne Baldwin outlines 5 essential aspects of CX you should be focusing on.
Improving the customer experience is someone else’s problem, right? Most B2B organisations suffer from diffused responsibility when it comes to CX. While everyone agrees it must be addressed, most are unsure who should do what, or how it all ties up.
Whether no one in your organisation owns CX or everyone does, it’s time you recognised and celebrated the pivotal role marketers can play in its delivery. In conjunction with the release of our industry survey and leadership guide on how to deliver CX, we’re sharing the five focus areas you need to hone, plus a practical test to find out how well you’re already doing.
- 79% say CX is a significant, or their highest, priority.
- 66% are increasing their emphasis on it over the year ahead.
All five elements shown in this model are integrally linked – for example, you can’t deliver a seamless customer experience without it being driven by aligned and collaborative employees. But central to all of this is the most desirable element of all – differentiation.
B2B companies aren’t using their CX to differentiate, in fact only 13% of B2B marketers believe their customers are won and retained because of CX. It may seem daunting to beat the odds and become one of those 13%, yet it’s a struggle that offers marketing leaders a great opportunity. No one is better placed, or more fully armed with customer insight, to take on this job. If not you, then who?
The 5 essential elements of customer experience
1. Internally aligned
The biggest hindrance to CX is a lack of strategy followed by a lack of accountability, yet it’s a struggle that offers marketing leaders a great opportunity. No one is better placed, or more fully armed with customer insight, to lead this. If not you, then who? Whether no one in your organisation owns CX, or everyone does, it’s time that marketers recognised and celebrated the pivotal role they can play in its delivery. Yet customer engagement can't be improved in isolation – it’s the result of great leadership, product, staff engagement and culture, so get ready for some serious collaboration.
Your internal processes should not put your customers at a disadvantage. They don’t care about your company’s inner workings and nor should they be expected to. In the pursuit of seamless CX put internal politics, siloed targets and ‘because that’s just the way we do it’ processes to one side. Far to one side. Seamless CX is the product of an aligned company, which you can only achieve if all stakeholders are pulling in the same direction. Align the business around shared goals, but be aware of the limitations of established CX metrics and consider forming some of your own.
In CX, any strategy should be preceded by a whole lot of listening. ‘Voice of the customer’ (VoC) data allows you to understand your customers’ needs, desires and experiences, delivering that all-important single customer view. Marketers have access to more VoC data than ever before and it’s increasing exponentially. The best place to start is with the data you already have. Reactive data, such as warranty claims and customer complaints will show you areas that need addressing with urgency. Yet you should be working towards ‘always on’ intelligence gathering, not through excessive customer surveys but by analysing all customer interactions and through regular pulse checks.
Responsiveness isn’t just about complaint handling times or having a live chat facility (although those are important). A truly responsive business is about acting on to customer interests, challenges and needs at every level – from your marketing messages, to your products and business model. It’s all of the little things and big things added together, which is why no one can manage it alone. Both customer and employee feedback loops will be crucial, as will a culture fixed on human connection and empathy.
How much money is your business wasting on the hard slog of momentarily winning a disloyal customer? Is that even something you measure? Growing the wallet share of your existing customers has lower operational costs versus winning new business, but also has the benefit of improving advocacy, brand awareness, employee engagement and a lot besides. With so few marketers paying attention to aftercare, switching your attentions here could both differentiate your CX and improve retention. If this isn’t achievable across all customers, focus on the ones with a high projected long-term yield, which are likely to be your happiest customers.
Most B2B organisations suffer from diffused responsibility when it comes to CX. This guide will tell you why – and how – you can lead the charge.