The business-to-business (B2B) world has finally woken up to the brave new world of customer feedback.
For years, Customer Experience initiatives in all their different formats have been the preserve of business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses. B2C businesses who were somehow different – somehow simpler and more immediate businesses than our (B2B) businesses.
After all, our B2B businesses have planning cycles, procurement teams, five year contracts and what are those account teams doing – if not taking feedback – as they troupe through the field drinking copious amounts of coffee.
The reality is that B2B businesses (which occupy larger markets than B2C markets) have a lot more to lose by ignoring customer experience & appropriately design closed loop feedback programs. The loss of one contract (for the sake of one insight) can be devastating. Equally for opportunity, those who get ahead of the game with customer feedback – are far more likely to be the innovators and disrupters rather than stagnant and disrupted performers.
We have covered in more detail “Why Customer Feedback Programs are Essential for B2B Companies” previously.
So why have B2B organisations been so reluctant to adopt best practice Customer Experience?
It’s the Account Team’s Job!
An existing account team that feels threatened is a common reason. None of us like the threat of negative feedback but in this age of Uber ratings and NPS – this should be “bread & butter” for professional account managers – and a real opportunity. One word or a phrase in a comment can often be just the red flag for that much needed discussion – that discussion that saves a churning customer. The reality is that CX should be seen as a critical tool for Account Managers rather than a threat.
It’s too Complex!
The other common barrier is perceived complexity. Who is the “customer” in a B2B setting, what are the episodes or moments of truth that are worth measuring, how (what channel) do we get to the relevant customer at the right time? How do we mobilise our teams in dealing with our customer’s teams? This can all seem a little overwhelming – but in reality it is knowledge that can be drawn readily from your organisation in a systematic way by an experienced CX practitioner.
The Data is not Accurate!
This is my personal favourite. When have you ever known a CRM system to have acceptably accurate data? I do know however, one way to make it so – the embarrassment of spamming the wrong people with a feedback survey. There is nothing like an impending email communication (sponsored by management) to have an Account Manager bring his or her contact details up to date. If you give it enough priority – accurate data will happen and any associated reasons (like the latest CRM/ERP implementation) will also fade into irrelevance.
So there is my rant about the barriers facing B2B – they are imaginery! If you have the leadership and the will to do it – take the prize! Be a CX leader in your industry.