The Failings Of B2B Customer Experience

The Failings Of B2B Customer Experience

Here’s a question for you; on a scale from 1 to 10, how do you think your customers would rate the customer experience (CX) you provide? We asked 97 large, global companies, and a quarter of them believed that their customers would give them a score of five or below out of 10. That statistic is worth repeating. One in four corporates believe that the customer experience they offer is rubbish. Just over half thought that customers would give them a mediocre score of 6 or 7 out of 10 – which is still poor to say the least. This then leaves only a fifth of companies believing that their customers would grant them a respectable score of 8 or more out of 10. What’s more, these proportions and scores have barely changed in tracking surveys since 2019, insinuating that customer experience offered by corporates is not improving.

The Failings Of B2B Customer Experience - CX market performance across B2B companies

This requires us to dig deeper. You may be familiar with our CX model that states there are six components of successful customer experience performance:

  1. You need to be committed
  2. You need to deliver against customer needs
  3. Delivery must be seamless
  4. Delivery must be responsive
  5. You must be proactive
  6. You must evolve the experience you provide

Out of all these components only commitment is hitting a high note in the companies we interviewed. It seems that the beating hearts of companies want to deliver great customer experience but find it difficult to do so.

The Failings Of B2B Customer Experience - the 6 CX pillars

This commitment in delivering customer experience only goes so far. Nearly everybody in the sample measures customer experience in one way or another. A popular metric is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) or a simple customer satisfaction score. However, it is surprising and worrying that although most of the companies have a complaints procedure, 4 out of 10 do not use the number of complaints as a measure of customer experience.

One problem is that companies are deluded. While they may be self-critical about their customer experience delivery, they believe they are beating themselves up on the issue and customers would give them a better rating. But they won’t and they don’t. Survey after survey tells us that we seldom live up to the customer experience delivery that we think we provide.

This delusion is widely spread. Though most companies are self-critical on the subject of customer experience, only 4% believe that their customer experience is worse than that of the competition. Indeed, 40% are convinced that they deliver better customer experience than the competition. How likely is a company to improve if it believes that although it is rubbish at something, everyone else is worse? They have suddenly granted themselves permission to remain poor.

The Failings Of B2B Customer Experience - CX performance comparison vs the competition

It is our view that great customer experience delivery is sponsored by CEOs who really believe in it. The companies we interviewed are of the view that their CEOs are familiar with the subject of customer experience. We are sure that this is true, but we are not convinced that they have the commitment that they say they have. In years of delivering hundreds of customer experience surveys, we can count on one hand the occasions when a CEO has deigned to attend the presentation.

Companies that excel in delivering great customer experience are likely to have a CX expert dedicated to the role. It makes sense. Whenever someone champions a cause, the cause will get more attention and hopefully will be delivered to a higher standard.

Conclusions from our survey are:

  • Companies know that they are failing to deliver great customer experience and yet they are not urgently addressing these failings in the belief that competitors are even worse.

  • Nothing is being done to improve the situation because only just over a quarter of corporates have a dedicated customer experience expert. There is a mistaken belief that since customer experience is everybody’s responsibility, it is nobody’s.

If what we describe above feels all too familiar to you and even though your company is committed to improving the customer experience, you may be failing to really make any change or impact. If you think this could be the case then ask one of our CX experts to discuss the situation in more detail. And, of course, you could also take a look at our book. Just go to Amazon and type in B2B Customer Experience (Updated version release date is May 2023).




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