B2B Journeys (or B2B2C)

B2B or B2B2C Journeys

The enormous complexity of business-to-business relationships makes it imperative to understand your customer’s (or agent’s, or client’s, or vendor’s) journey.

Heart of the Customer’s proprietary journey mapping approach reveals the Moments of Truth that matter most in B2B and B2B2C relationships, so that targeted, customer-focused improvements can be made to increase revenue, loyalty, and satisfaction.

Unmask the Power of Social Proof

At Heart of the Customer, we recently had a software client who wasn’t winning as many sales as they expected. We mapped their customers’ pre-sales journey and found that the company was putting out their best practices, but prospective clients were ignoring them.

They just didn’t consider our client a trusted authority.

It’s common problem among CX pros. You see customers making “bad” choices, such as not making the best use of your company’s products or services. So you create communications to share the recommended approach, but you just can’t get customers to change their behavior.

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CX Day Topic: How to Become a Trusted Advisor

I’ve yet to meet anyone who can believe it’s already October. Nonetheless, its arrival also means it’s time for CX Day, the annual celebration of customer experience practitioners and their successes!

Visit the CXPA’s website for a complete list of events. Also check out LitmusWorld’s week of related offerings, including their #CXDay2020 Voice of Experts series, where I am honored to be featured. (I was also recently named one of their Top CX Influencers for 2020.)

For my part, I’m going to mark the day by focusing this post on the power and potential of CX for B2B enterprises. Read more

Business and Customer Experience Metrics

If All Customers are Important, You have a Bad B2B Customer Experience

“When all customers are important…none will be.” – Syndrome from The Incredibles (slightly paraphrased)

Are all customers worth the same to your business? No! But odds are, your CX program doesn’t recognize this.

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B2B Companies: Focus on Onboarding First

In any customer experience, certain phases have more impact than others – either positive or negative – and create a measurable impact on the rest of the relationship. Positive results lead to customers who trust you, are more willing to forgive mistakes, and are more interested in your other products or services. But if they don’t go so well, customers are more likely to stray; they pounce on every mistake, and they’re very reticent to use your other offerings.

The moments that matter vary by experience, and even by individual. Effective journey maps show these Moments of Truth. But even if you don’t have a journey map – or if yours just isn’t very good – there’s one area that is consistently important in B2B experiences: The new customer onboarding journey. Read more

B2B Customers are not just Consumers 2.0

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m into all things journey mapping, regularly reviewing articles on the subject. So I was particularly interested in How to: Create a digital customer journey map by Henning Ogberg, the senior VP EMEA of Sugar CRM. As it’s published by B2B Marketing, it’s obviously targeted towards B2B (business-to-business) audiences.

In general, it’s a great article. I especially like four of his five tips:

  • Accept that it won’t be simple. We find this is true of journey mapping in general – not just B2B. In our recent analysis, half of all journey maps weren’t successful. While we didn’t have sufficient numbers to compare B2B vs. B2C (business-to-consumer), business journey mapping is newer, so it seems likely that there would be fewer successful journey maps in this space. Business journeys are significantly more complicated than consumer journeys, since they involve more participants over a longer amount of time.
  • Capitalize on the insight and support of your team. Yes! In the post It Takes a Broad Team to Improve Customer Journeys I talk about the importance of involving a large cross-functional team in your journey mapping initiative. Not only does this provide better input to your map, it also helps to ensure your various teams are prepared to act on the results.
  • Don’t fixate on sales. I don’t often hear this advice, but I definitely agree. Focus first on understanding your customers – then look at your business opportunities.
  • Embrace the opportunity of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This is a timely piece, since just last week we featured our interview with Dawn Mergenthaler on how to sync up CRM and CX (Customer Experience) in your organization. It’s the only way to institutionalize the insights in your organization.

As I said, I really liked four of his five tips. Read more

Help your B2B clients, help yourself

As a B2B company, you have a great opportunity to see the big picture that is hidden from your clients. By serving multiple clients, you can see something they can’t – and that they most definitely need to know.

Your clients use your products and services in a vacuum. They probably have a good idea as to how they themselves use your services. But they want to know if they’re taking the best advantage of your offerings. Are others using your products and services in a more optimal manner?

It’s time to make your data transparent. You have the unique lens to see how all your customers use your products and services. Proactively share that information with clients to create joint success. Read more

Journey Mapping Case Study: You’ve Got to Be in It to Win It

document-1446078_640In B2B transactions with large companies, it’s all too easy to forget that no matter how big (or even faceless) a company might seem, individual decisions are still made by individuals, just as surely as if it were a mom-and-pop shop up the street. Journey mapping is the perfect tool to explore the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of those individuals, to boost sales and enhance business relationships.

Case Study on Journey Mapping

Our client, a well-respected powerhouse in the financial services industry, offers software that accelerates manual process. They called on Heart of the Customer for a kind of company “tune-up,” to ensure they were staying one step ahead of the competition, and to grow sales by gaining insight into their customers’ software-selection process.

We began the journey-mapping process by interviewing both existing clients and prospects. This data-gathering phase helped us identify the different phases of the decision-making experience, and to identify the two key segments (or “personas”) that made up our client’s customer base: Frustrated Frank and Inclusive Anne. Read more

The customer of my customer… is my customer?

Who is the customerWho, exactly, is your customer?

That might sound like a dumb question. We’re in customer experience. We’d better know the answer to that question!

But for some, it’s not so easy to answer. B2B2C companies in particular often struggle with this. When your service is delivered through agents it’s easy to get confused. Is the agent my customer, or is their customer my customer?

There’s no one right answer. Some customer experience programs choose their distribution channel, and others select the end customer. But you do need to spend some time making this decision. Without that choice your CX program will stumble, uncertain of who you’re trying to serve. It is possible to choose both, so long as you have the resources to implement that choice. But it does dilute your efforts.

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Tekserve: A Blueprint for a Great B2B Customer-Inspired Experience

“Our job is to make our customers look good to their bosses.” 

That’s the philosophy of Tekserve, an Apple retailer and IT services provider in New York City, as articulated by Director of Marketing Jazmin Hupp.

Imagine that you are a long-time Apple retailer and supplier, and then Apple builds their flagship store just two miles from you, then four more just as close. Some might find it time to close up shop. Instead, Tekserve used the challenge as an opportunity to refocus on their customers. Their reward? Consistent growth, being featured in the Crain’s New York Business Fast 50 and the Computer Reseller News’ 2012 Solution Provider 500 list, which ranks the top technology integrators in North America.

Tekserve doubled-down on the service surrounding Apple’s products, particularly for businesses.  Almost 2/3 of their revenue comes from B2B relationships, where they are far nimbler than Apple. Much of their work involves integrating Apple products into existing networks, including wholesale conversions from PCs to Macs.

Tekserve credits their growth to three main areas of focus: Read more