Your customer experience is costing more than you think

What’s the price of good customer experience? When you start to dig deeper it might be much more than you estimate, as Paul Snell recently found out

How to put a price on good customer experience?

It’s a question that I’m sure a lot of B2B marketers run up against. We all know it’s something we should be improving – but how to raise it as a priority 

You might find the following of interest. At the recent Confirmit B2B Summit in London, Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha, principal analyst for CX at Forrester Research, shared the tale of a B2B business who were struggling with this very quandary.

It decided to take a deep dive into pricing the cost of its approach to invoicing customers. Having looked at things such as the time spent reviewing and approving bills, and hidden costs such as fees waived due to processing delays, they found it cost the company $9000 to process a single invoice. And that amounted to $28 million a year in siloed behaviour.

$28 million. Not to mention the pain for customers.

“So when you start to get more scientific and focusing on the cost of this siloed behaviour, we start to be able to turn journey mapping into actual business cases. It’s hard to argue against taking £28 million out of a process that should be very, very simple,” Joana told the audience.

This business isn’t the only one. Cisco saved $750 million – three quarters of a billion dollars – by changing their processes based on listening to customers. The shipping firm Maersk improved NPS by 40 points, and determined that every time the score went up by four points was the equivalent of a 1% increase in volume shipped by customers.

Empower your people

So far, so exciting. But how to actually do something about it? The message from most speakers at the summit was through employee empowerment. It’s easier said than done to relax control – but necessary if you want to deliver, according to many of the day’s speakers.

“I don’t believe you can build strong relationships with customers unless you’ve got strong relationships with the internal departments,” said Rachel Buckley, VP, customer experience at Envigo. “How can you make commitments and promises to customers, if you haven’t got the internal commitments and promises between people?”

She advocates sharing the customer journey map with employees once it’s been created to let them take ownership, explain how they add value, and for them to highlight the barriers. “It's hugely insightful because it makes them feel like they have a place on the journey,” she added.

Joana gave another example of a B2B firm who had set up an empowerment guarantee for employees. If staff felt they weren’t empowered to make decisions, there was a phone number they could ring. “They made that an absolute priority to make sure employees felt empowered, and had a place to go if they felt that was compromised,” she said.

Claire Sporton, SVP, customer experience innovation at Confirmit, said if firms want to be truthful about empowerment, they had to treat organisations as organisms, rather than machines.

“The best way to change behaviour is to let somebody do something,” she said. “Get those stabilisers off the bike, and let them have a go. The only way you learn to ride a bike is you need to feel what it’s like to go out of control. That’s what we need to do with the frontline. We need to enable them to try stuff differently – but have that immediate feedback loop to ensure they understand the impact of their actions."

How to ensure consistent brand experience

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How to ensure consistent brand experience