Digital customer experience at the heart of B2B strategy
The digital customer experience - CX for short - will remain a hot topic for B2B communication in 2020. For traditional companies in particular, it is a major challenge to tap into the growing number of digital sales and communication channels as efficiently as possible for customer acquisition and retention. Not least because B2B buyers are now very often digital natives.
Therefore, more than ever, it is essential to develop a deep understanding of the digital customer experience and tailor the touchpoints to the individual needs of the crucial target personas through successful customer experience management .
In a guest article in W&V, our CEO Paul Zentner shows how this can be done through the lens of a digital agency. We have summarized his most important tips for you in this blog post. And they start by letting you breathe a sigh of relief! Because it's perfectly fine to start small and approach improving your digital CX bit by bit.
Don't try to solve the whole CX puzzle at once, but a small manageable part of it first. Bake a really delicious cupcake first before you try your hand at a multi-tiered wedding cake.
The definition of Digital Customer Experience
At first glance, the definition of customer experience is actually quite simple: it describes the experience of potential customers with the totality of all contact points with a brand or a product across the entire customer journey. It only gets complicated when the individual touchpoints are related to each other in a company-specific way: Every touchpoint with your brand is relevant here in order to convince your target persons with positive experiences digitally as well.
A holistic perspective is therefore essential to avoid getting lost in the many ramifications: Our guide to a positive customer experience is "customer centricity": customers and their needs are the focus when it comes to orchestrating the multitude of IT systems, data, processes, channels, touchpoints and content. Customers come first, followed by internal structures and processes.
This holistic approach to a customer experience strategy makes all the difference in shaping the brand experience in such a positive way that interested parties first become customers and then loyal brand fans.
Digitalization in B2B sales has not turned the core of CX on its head: On the contrary, it offers us far more opportunities to interact sustainably with customers - but also more pitfalls.
In order to create lasting customer loyalty with the best possible brand experience, digital touchpoints need to be individually tailored to the needs of the target group: A good experience with your website and online store, your social media profiles, comparison portals and marketplaces has become an extremely relevant success factor.
On the other hand, this also requires connecting different departments within the company: The close and seamless dovetailing of IT, marketing, sales and service are a key prerequisite for positive customer experiences.
In the usually longer purchase decision process in B2B, a positive customer experience is the decisive extra bit of persuasiveness that gives decision-makers the edge over the competition. And digitization has done nothing to change that.
According to a 2016 McKinsey study, organizations with optimized customer experience can save service costs of up to 20%, increase revenue by 10 to 15%, and also have better employee and customer satisfaction scores.
Why it pays to start CX management small first
First of all, you can breathe a sigh of relief: you don't need to master the entire dessert menu of digital touchpoints in your sleep. Nor does it take a radical overhaul to improve your customers' digital experience:
Take a hard look at your company's resources and infrastructure before you decide to embark on a large-scale transformation: Take small, achievable steps and don't go for the three-tier wedding cake right away.
Bake a really delicious cupcake first and practice the basic recipe. Learn from that experience, build on successes, and then transfer your learnings to other actions.
What you may have already guessed: The main ingredient in our recipe is customer focus - whether it's a cupcake or a wedding cake.
Customer experience is a decathlon - a symphony of many factors. It is best achieved through joined-up thinking and action. Solving the whole CX puzzle remains the ultimate goal.
5 steps to a better B2B customer experience
If you take our following five steps to heart in your customer experience strategy, we're sure you won't lose sight of this focus.
1. the mission
Identify exactly which business goals you want to pursue. Start with one of the goals, such as increasing sales of a particular product line, and commit to improving the customer journey just for that.
2. the customers
Once you have found your mission, first look at the target customers and identify a small set of stereotypical personas that can serve as your north star. For each of these customer types, figure out needs, motivations, and courses of action by…
- … interviewing your colleagues who have direct customer contact.
- … talking directly to your customers.
3. analysis of the customer journey
The following analysis of the customer journey is crucial for success. What are the personas' touchpoints with your company?
Now focus on your mission and answer the following questions:
- What do these personas think and feel at the various touchpoints?
- Do they find their way there?
- Do they understand your products or message at every moment?
4. documentation of the customer journey
Once you have taken this step, create a customer journey map and visualize the results of the customer experience analysis, e.g., with whiteboards and Post-Its, a presentation or a scribble.
From this, you can identify the most important levers for improving the customer experience: Strengthen positive aspects and mitigate weaknesses.
Always keep your mission in mind and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Taking these steps is not about a final solution. It is the entry into a way of working with continuous testing, learning and improvement cycles. To stay on track in the long term, stay in direct dialog with your customers.
Scaling of measures in CX management
Once you have gained experience with your first mission and achieved positive results, venture into planning successive measures and larger adjustments.
Our very clear recommendation: Set goals and identify KPIs with which you want to measure your progress. With a defined strategy, you will then also achieve quick successes. And it will also make it easier for you to evaluate whether and which software solution will really help you to build up your customer experience management.