While many forward-thinking B2B marketers aim for customer-centricity, according to a recent study commissioned by Squiz, many brands still have much work to do. Despite the fact that 83 percent of those surveyed who rated customer centricity as crucial, 41 percent of them still thought more work needs to be done in order to make their organization more customer focused.
The digital transformation business determined that the issue is mainly the failure of buy-in at the C-level. Almost half of the marketers surveyed stated that they struggled to attain the budget to invest in strategies to help improve customer experience, while 14 percent claimed to have difficulty securing C-level support, due mostly to their inability to prove ROI.
Lack of direction and failing to invest in supportive technology were also the blame. In the study, 73 percent had no clear goals or KPIs with which to measure their customer’s experience, and only 35 percent had invested in new marketing technology before it was required. Additionally, the study showed confusion within the businesses about who owned the experience, with 74 percent believing it was the marketer’s responsibility – yet 46 percent thought other people in their organization would agree.
One solution to the experience ownership issue is the trend of businesses appointing a chief customer officer to focus on improving customer experience – yet only 1 percent of FTSE companies surveyed had put anyone in charge. According to the founder of Squiz, Stephen Morgan, senior marketers should take the lead, as the CMO is best positioned to be in charge of managing and improving the customer experience B2B brands offer. With investment in marketing technologies gaining traction, a senior marketer has access to more insight and data than anyone else on the team, and they have the best overview of ongoing customer lifecycles and the sales cycle funnel. In order to provide an excellent customer experience, the CMO needs to be the hub to break down silos and the go-to person for every customer-facing team,, according to Morgan.
How best to focus your B2B marketing on customer experience? For building industry B2B marketing, the tendency is to focus on relaying product specifications, not the customer experience. The following are rules to keep in mind in order to develop a more customer-centric business.
Listen to your customers attentively – Your customers have a huge wealth of information at their fingertips out there in isolated silos as well as on social media. Bringing all this data together, and understanding it will help your company form a more comprehensive picture that enabling you to become more customer-centric.
Interactions before transactions – Your customers need to be impressed with new interaction methods before they commit to doing business with you. Advanced technologies like virtual and augmented reality will play a big part in this interaction. For example, in the consumer world, being able to place a sofa in your room to see how it looks, and within the building industry, to help manufacturers, architects, distributors, and builders work out complex problems.
Wearable tech will expand the customer experience – With a projected four billion connected devices pulling in four trillion in revenue by 2020, the Internet of Things is going to be huge. Going far beyond fitness apps, wearable devices will be used in myriad ways, for example, to allow entry to a hotel room or to make a payment.
A personalized experience is key – The increase in data will result in an increased need to provide personalized customer experiences. For example, the weary business executive whose flight has been canceled needs a different experience than an excited family who vacations once a year.
Keyboards will become obsolete – Technology such as AI-powered bots and the voice-controlled Amazon Echo assistant will help customers through a wide variety of assistance such as providing a medical diagnosis to fulfilling supply demands to ordering pizza. Advanced technology assistance will become common and your customers will become used to and rely on having a keyboard-free experience.