Reinterpreting Customer Experience
There’s no doubt that Amazon revolutionized the expectations of the online shopping customer experience with their speedy delivery service, competitive pricing, and comprehensive offering. They have virtually eliminated any barriers to online shopping:
- A+ content has replaced the in-store experience
- Shipping, returns, and restocking fees are gone
- Customers now have easy access to live shipment tracking, price matching, and same day shipping.
The retailer has reinterpreted the traditional tradeoff model between convenience and price. Now, with a flat annual membership fee, customers can shop with more convenience and expect to pay the best price. There is no limit to purchases, so the more you shop through Amazon, the cheaper the membership fee becomes per product.
Not only has Amazon changed the consumer marketplace forever, but the retailer has changed customer expectations forever too. The hassle free, transparent experience of shopping online through Amazon is now the expectation consumers have of other retailers. To name a few that have followed suit with the business model, Walmart.com now offers what they call a W+ membership where they offer members free shipping with no order minimums. Bed Bath and Beyond has a Beyond + program that offers free shipping and 20% off every purchase to its members.
B2B Companies are Closing the Gap
While B2C companies are now trying to outcompete each other with customer experience, B2B companies have been closing the gap- customer experience is just as valuable in the B2B environment to create loyal customers. In fact, “business clients now expect the same efficient, friction-free digital CX as your consumer base demands” (Oron, 2021). There are many factors that contribute to the reason why B2B CX lagged behind B2C. The B2C landscape is saturated with competitors and were forced to turn to alternative ways to add value and differentiate themselves. Additionally, B2B buying cycles are much longer and more complex than consumer buying cycles, creating more touchpoints, and therefore more room for error.
B2B companies can focus on these 3 areas to help improve their customer experience:
1. Make buying seamless
Seamless is synonymous with digital. The pandemic has forced the need for this new way of buying and it looks like it’s here to stay. Companies have built self service capabilities that not only allow buyers to fulfill their needs at their convenience, but also will eventually save the business resources that can be invested elsewhere. If you are still thinking about if a digital transformation is worth the investment, let this be a sign. Steven Van Belleghem, international best-selling author, speaks about the current CX trends in B2B and says, “companies have zero tolerance for digital inconvenience. Non-adoption does not mean your customers are not ready for digital, it means you haven’t made it convenient enough”.
2. Make your customer feel like they are the only one
Open any music streaming platform and your homepage is filled with either your most frequently played playlist or suggestions. With the amount of customer data we can capture, whether it’s a person or entity, personalizing interactions and offerings is a way of doing business that is getting easier every day. A well- setup customer relationship management tool is a must to advance your level of customer personalization.
3. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customer
Sometimes to understand how to improve the customer experience all you have to do is ask your customers directly. If you have never asked a customer or group of your customers for feedback on any part of their customer experience, do so methodically and with an open mind. A great way to visualize and organize customer sentiment is by creating a customer journey map. This will allow you to identify customer pain points and opportunities for improvement throughout the entire lifecycle of your customer.
If it is difficult for your customers to buy, or they’re feeling like a number, it’s time to upgrade your experience. Engaging with your customers to understand how to improve the experiences requires you to be prepared to act on their suggestions.
About Kelley Reymann
Kelley is a marketing leader who understands the “big picture” dynamic between her expertise and the mission of the organization. At the same time, she excels at working through details to achieve progress and growth. Kelley’s ability to produce high quality work in complex situations is a result of her meticulous organization and creative problem-solving.
While at American Greetings and Scotts Miracle-Gro, she experienced proven success in product commercialization, data analysis, process improvement, and project management. Whether working with major retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, or diving head-first into the details of a project plan, Kelley loves big challenges and the methodical journey to tackle them for her clients.
You can reach Kelley at email@example.com.