The phrase “Customer Experience” (CX) is everywhere and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. But while it’s easy for an industry expert to say “you need to improve your CX”, actually implementing a customer experience methodology that drives revenue can be challenging. Let’s take a moment to understand how customer experience drives revenue, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) world, and specifically how improving the experience can help your bottom line.
One of the initial things to understand about the revenue driving value of customer experience is a shift in the mindset of customers. A recent study by Accenture indicated that a once golden pillar of business – having the best product – is becoming less important than in used to be. Richard Holman, managing director at Accenture Strategy, says it best…
“It is no longer enough to build the next generation car, music player, crane or plane to satisfy customers. Companies need to provide a superior experience to their rivals, from the point a customer shows interest in a product, through the research and purchase, to long after they own the item, with a series of services to keep the customer delighted.”
Basically, the old model of dominating a market with the best product has become obsolete. You simply cannot rely on this business plan to be successful in most scenarios, especially in B2B where a good customer experience is never complete or solely focused on one area of the experience. For example, let’s look at a company that is trying to upgrade their entire software suite. Looking at strictly dollars and cents, they could probably buy a one-off piece of software and save some money. This is a great philosophy if you have someone on your staff with the title “Software Expert” that knows everything about the software industry and can create the perfect software for your business. But, sadly, this person doesn’t exist.
This is where somewhat unquantifiable CX comes into play and how a great experience can drive revenue. In this era of business, you’re rarely going to have the lowest price or even the best product. But as a company your customer experience is unique and will cause customers to choose you over your competitors. The key on how to utilize CX to drive revenue is to create an experience that accurately reflects your company while meeting the needs of your customers. A potential customer focused on price may be unaware of additional factors – such as post-purchase services – and it’s the job of your sales team to educate them on the benefit of these factors to their business. Businesses generally think long-term and evaluate every customer experience touchpoint, taking their time to make a decision.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second and think about what factors go into their decision. Questions such as the following are common during the purchasing process…
- How credible is a company?
- How attentive and prompt is their sales team? Support team?
- How easy is it to find information on their website and/or knowledge base?
- What do their current customers think about them? (hint – they’re looking at third-party reviews)
- What are their future growth plans?
Having not only a good answer to these questions but one that is superior to or different than your competitors can make a big difference in both winning and retaining business.
Finally, one of the most overlooked aspects of customer experience driving revenue that is critical for B2B growth is based around the fact that generally the more money a company is spending, the more important CX is to them during their evaluation process. Companies that are spending a lot of money want to establish a level of trust. Being authentic and professional from top to bottom – be it in fiscal transparency, onboarding, or delivering on a forward-thinking new feature – builds credibility more than any price point ever can. This trust is a key component of customer retention and is essential for building customer loyalty.
In short, customer experience drives revenue in B2B because we now live in an era where the product and price alone are no longer king. Establishing yourself as business partner companies can rely on to make their lives easier though a strong CX on a daily basis is crucial. It will not only drive up retention rates but will also increase referral business as word spreads about your superior customer experience solution in comparison to your competitors.