Last week, we welcomed 30 CX leaders from across the globe to a special one-off customer experience event at London’s stunning and iconic building; The Shard. The event was held especially for our clients and included guest speakers Chris Daffy and David Speakman as well as speakers from B2B International. Many key topics were discussed and attendees left with the knowledge of the very best practice in the world of customer loyalty and customer service.
As you can imagine, with a room full of such knowledge, there was much debate with many engaging conversations on how to be successful when designing and implementing a CX project. Here we have put together the 3 key takeaways from the event:
Expectations from the customer are changing: Customers are becoming ever more demanding and expectations increase exponentially, which means that companies often fall into the trap of delivering the same experience time and time again. Over time, the “wow” factors of a value added service become hygiene factors. This means that b2b companies need to constantly innovate (in their product and service delivery) in order to accommodate the shift in customer expectations and the ability of competitors to move with the market.
The importance of the employee to deliver the experience is critical: If you don’t create a customer-centric culture, you can’t deliver a winning customer experience. Richard Branson’s quote “If you look after your employees, your employees will look after your customers” was a recurring motif throughout the day. In b2b markets as well as our b2c counterparts, it is crucially important to get the right people in the right job role. This can be achieved through a recruitment strategy defined by the brand and how you intend to service your customers, and by your training and development programme. Without keeping your employees happy and without their buy-in to the company and its values, you cannot hope to achieve CX greatness.
People are more emotionally connected to b2b brands than b2c brands: A misnomer that is far-too-often bandied around is that emotions do not play a part in b2b decision making, and that great customer experiences ultimately boil down to efficient delivery on rational customer needs. There is in fact more emotional attachment to b2b brands than b2c brands because there is often more at stake for b2b decision makers. This is epitomised by the axiom that “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment”. In b2b markets, we see much higher value purchases, and supplier relationships which are strategically critical to business operations. We are therefore more accountable as decision makers and strong emotions are at the forefront of these decisions. Whether it be negative (pressure, fear, helplessness) or positive (“make me the hero”), your customers have a lot riding on their relationship with you, and so you should see that as a huge opportunity to generate loyalty by exceeding their needs (remembering of course that just meeting customer needs doesn’t leave an impression!).
The event was rounded off with a presentation from Matt Powell of B2B International who shared some findings from our global marketing survey. Matt talked through the different stages that organisations move up on the Customer Centricity ladder. We know from the research we’ve carried out that only a very small percentage of b2b organisations currently sit at the top of the ladder (even though many of them report that they do!). The main takeaway was therefore the realisation that in order to differentiate in b2b sectors, the real opportunity is in delivering a tailored customer experience to your market.