B2B businesses have as much to gain from an optimal customer experience strategy as B2C organizations, but building and implementing effective CX methods takes time and effort. The larger an organization is, and the more siloed its business units, the more difficult it becomes to get all departments united on a CX strategy. The good news: implementing a relatively simple set of CX initiatives can set your company apart from the competition.
What separates CX leaders from laggards
Customer experience platform Medallia surveyed 375 senior B2B executives on their CX initiatives and identified three distinct CX practices that differentiated the “leaders” from the “followers” and “laggards.” CX leaders were more likely to:
- Implement multiple digital listening tools.
- Be “relentless” about using customer feedback to drive action across the organization.
- Hold more than one department accountable for the company’s overall CX efforts.
Listen to your customers
CX leaders were more likely to have, at least, six types of digital listening tools in place to collect customer feedback via their websites, mobile apps and social media channels. They also then use that customer feedback to drive action across the business.
“Collecting feedback via digital listening channels offers customers the freedom to provide input on their own time-frame, while experiences are fresh in their minds and through the channels they are increasingly accustomed to using when they interact with consumer brands,” writes Medallia, highlighting the merging of customer expectations whether they are engaging with B2C or B2B companies.
Once a company has systems in place to collect customer feedback, the next step is making sure that feedback is shared — and acted upon. Medallia identified ten common ways B2B organizations can act on customer feedback. Companies that took action in all ten areas outlined by Medallia were 40% more likely to be a CX leader — those that took up only five of the actions were still 10-times as likely to be a leader.
Four actions, in particular, “most clearly distinguished” CX leaders. They were when companies used customer feedback to:
- Introduce new products, services or practices.
- Improve existing products, services or operations.
- Prepare customer renewal agreements and/or identify expansion opportunities with existing customers.
- Recognized employees for excellent customer service (those who were mentioned positively in customer communications).
Make multiple teams responsible for your CX strategy
The ownership of CX strategies directly influences the effectiveness of a company’s CX efforts. Organizations that implemented a “mixed model,” where CX accountability is shared between a centralized CX team, saw more success than those that made CX programs the responsibility of a single team or separate business units.
“Our research shows that companies that use the mixed model are about 50% more likely to be CX leaders than those that use either of the other two [models],” reports Medallia. (The other two models being the “centralized model” where the CX program is owned by a single team or the “decentralized model” where different CX initiatives are owned by separate business units.)
CX leaders share customer experience responsibilities across business departments, and they hold multiple top-level executives — from the CEO to the COO, CMO, head of products and more — responsible for the business’ CX outcomes. “Organizations that hold more than five of these executives accountable are about 65% more likely to be CX leaders than those that assign CX responsibilities to fewer than three.”
In other words, companies that can break down the silos between their departments and share ownership for the overall customer experience have a much better chance of building effective CX programs.
An exceptional customer experience strategy delivers measurable results across the board. Medallia’s survey found the companies leading in CX were more likely to have positive revenue growth 92% of the CX leaders in the survey experienced positive revenue growth compared to 79% of the laggards.
Not only did CX improve the bottom line, it also impacted customer growth and innovation. The CX leaders were 16 percentage points more likely to have grown their customer base by 5% or more, and were 17 percentage points more likely to have made, at least, five significant innovations to their products, services or practices.