February 22, 2018 – by Paul-Louis Caylar, Candace Lun Plotkin, Adina Poenaru, and Patrick Schulze.
Traditionally, B2B success comes from being in the right markets, offering superior products and services, or being the lowest-cost producer. But these advantages are eroding fast. Business-to-business customers are demanding a better experience.
In a recent McKinsey survey of 1,000 B2B decision makers, lack of speed in interactions with suppliers emerged as the number-one pain point, with twice as many mentions as price.
Industry-leading B2B companies are responding by putting customer-centricity and experience at the heart of their strategy, but it doesn’t always come naturally. What’s needed is the smart combination of digital and nondigital to improve customer experience —and the trick is striking the right balance.
We’ve seen companies substantially raise customer-satisfaction scores through significant improvements in operational performance (primarily by speeding up and simplifying interactions). These improvements can lower customer churn by 10 to 15 percent, increase the win rate of offers by 20 to 40 percent, and lower costs to serve by up to 50 percent. In parallel, as customer experience improves, employee satisfaction tends to increase as well, because a more direct connection with customers adds meaning to employees’ work.
Yet the reality is that many companies still need days to provide a quote, requiring customers to fill in complicated order forms (often on paper), and frequently leave them in the dark about the status of their order. A wholesale-customer-experience program is needed. In our experience, there are five key success factors.