Slowly but surely, B2B companies are beginning to realise they need to catch up with the way their customers are finding, researching and buying their products through digital platforms. They’re starting to understand that they are being evaluated using the same criteria as B2C businesses.
More and more, they are seeing how customers are placing a higher priority on ease of use, relevance and value, just as they would on Amazon or any other digital marketplace.
B2C businesses have long been aware that to be successful in a digital marketplace, they need to prioritise innovation through new technologies, new processes and new kinds of engagements, but with a constant eye on the end-to-end customer journey. At the same time, B2B businesses know that while their customers’ expectations are rising, they are often unwilling to innovate to the level required or unable to commit to any real change.
Balancing the experiential with the operational
In our experience with clients, there’s an ongoing tension between improvements to customer experience and the day-to-day operational decisions that are made behind the scenes. When asked to evaluate their eCommerce platforms in terms of customer experience, many companies still have a tendency to emphasise capabilities that seem vital to them but are largely invisible to their customers.
Web and commerce platforms are now the first and most important connection to customers and in turn their brand. Of course, functions such as security, order fulfillment, and back-office integrations are important, but these are the functions that companies are still prioritising, rather than the entire customer experience, according to SAP Hybris research.
Functions that actually touch a customer’s experience are considered afterthoughts to internal processes because B2B businesses are still too complacent. Content management and product information management, for example, help to build emotional bonds with customers and influence buying behaviour. The more you can use your data to create contextualised and relevant experiences, the better chance you’ll have of hooking customers in so they’ll always return to you for repeat purchases.
Your CX strategy is a team sport
The other elements that make up a successful B2C omnichannel experience are also important in B2B. Outside of digital channels, your sales teams need access to product information and content, as well as real-time insights about each customer so they can provide the right advice, at the right time. You need to closely examine every touch-point across your channels to ensure that customers and employees are able to access up-to-date and accurate information about your products.
It’s no longer just the domain of retail, or marketing, sales and customer service teams to be thinking about UX. The whole organisation needs to buy into a holistic CX strategy and all departments need to understand how they can play their role in providing memorable experiences for customers. Because it doesn’t matter what you’re selling in 2018, you need to be easier to do business with than your competitors.
This article is sponsored by DXC Oxygen. As the Sales Director at Oxygen Digital, Matt Hampshire helps customers create digital customer-facing solutions that build customer loyalty, drive revenue and reduce costs. If you would like to have a discussion about how Oxygen and SAP Hybris can make you easy to do business with, please contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.