According to new research from Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, businesses are continuing to spend more money on efforts to improve customer experience, however most companies aren’t seeing a return on investment. A survey of 1458 business-to-business (B2B) executives in 13 countries suggested that as much as 76 percent of their investments were being wasted on ineffective customer service initiatives.
Customer service is a subset of customer experience. Customer experience is, as defined by CX Act, “the science of quantifying and managing the customer experience and applying that knowledge to help clients realize bottom-line results”.
Customers Expect MORE Personalized, Customized Solutions & Are More Sensitive to Pricing
‘B2B Customer Experience: Start Playing to Win and Stop Playing Not to Lose’ explores the success of businesses seeking to provide their customer with a positive experience across all points of contact. Most supplier executives (85 percent) consider the customer experience to be a strategic priority.
B2B transactions are changing, according to Robert Wollan, global managing director of Accenture’s Sales and Customer Service. Wollan suggests that business clients are now expecting more customized solutions and are more sensitive to pricing. Businesses are behaving like the consumer.
A separate study conducted by CMSWire set out to determine the most important customer contact levels. The study concluded that most customers identified the phone as being their most effective medium for resolving conflict; 42 percent preferred speaking to a person and 28 percent appreciated being able to explain the situation in greater detail.
The ability to ask questions and get an immediate response was another benefit of phone communication. The CMSWire study suggests that while money is being invested in up-to-date technologies, the most effective way to improve the customer experience may be through phone access.
Masters, Strivers, and Laggards: 3 Categories of B2B CX Sucess
Based on Accenture’s study, there are three key categories that B2B companies can be grouped into based on the success of customer experience interventions, Masters, Strivers and Laggards.
Masters excel at defining and executing a customer service strategy and prioritize the customer experience. On average, members of this category generate 13 percent annual revenue growth.
About 24 percent of the companies that participated in this survey qualified as “masters”.
Strivers display moderate customer experience performance across all categories and represented 48 percent of the companies in this study. Average annual revenue growth for “strivers” was 6 percent.
Lastly, Laggards, produced negative annual growth of -1 percent. This negative growth was likely due to performance gaps in execution.
There are several ways in which Master B2B companies are outperforming Laggards
Masters businesses are more likely to make customer experience a major component of their business strategy; 91 percent of Masters businesses link individual employee performance with customer experience outcomes, whereas only 42 percent of Laggards businesses do this.
9 out of 10 Master companies have established customer experience as a formal aspect of the end-to-end business process, compared to only 46 percent of Laggards. Executives in Masters businesses were four times more likely than Laggards to increase their customer experience budget by 6 percent over the next fiscal year.
What Makes the Difference? Walk the Talk
The key difference between Masters and Laggards, according to Wollan, is their ability to “walk the talk”. Masters companies are more willing to major changes to enhance the customer experience.
Wollan suggests giving customer experience managers greater control or proximity to the P&L of the business as well as greater collaboration between external and internal matters, may help companies get back to achieving their ultimate goal of improving customer experience.
Seeing a distinct ROI in customer experience is not always immediately apparent. With time, your CX strategy should be devlivering positive results. This press release was very interesting- I recommend doing some further research into the topic. Check out the full press release here.