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Four steps to build an improved B2C customer experience

shopping-cart-1275480_640Serving consumers is different than serving businesses.  It’s not harder or easier – just different.  I’ve seen real challenges in the past when leaders move from B2B to B2C (or vice-versa). Here are four steps to help you get started creating a better B2C customer experience.

1. Know your customer experience (CX) goal.

I was talking with a CX leader, and asked about her customer experience vision. She responded, “We want to be the simplest, and the most flexible. Oh, and we need to keep costs low.”

That’s a pretty hard combination to hit. In fact, I’d argue it’s pretty impossible to hit all three.

Your goal should flow from your vision. Are you trying to be the easiest company to work with, the one with the closest relationships, the most flexible?  Understanding your company’s goals is the first step to creating your approach. If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what steps to take next.  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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Creating a Customer Experience Capability – Interview with Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the second in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

The Western National Insurance Group is a 500-person private company that offers property and casualty insurance. Mara is the company’s Chief Experience Officer, a role she began mid-year. Mara came to Customer Experience through an unusual route, having previously served as their Controller. She has hit the ground running, however, working with teams from throughout the company to create a Customer Experience framework, and launching programs to help further improve an experience that already has many strengths.

Defining Customer Experience

Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance

“We have three customer segments. First are our independent agencies.  We recognize that many key policyholder touch points are controlled by our agents.  By optimizing our agents’ experience with us, we are positively impacting the service they provide our ultimate customer.   Next is our ultimate policyholder, which can be either an individual or a business. Finally, we have our employees as customers.” The employee was unique. While most customer experience programs recognize the employee as a key stakeholder, it is unusual to include them as actual customers.

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Measuring the Segmented Customer Experience

Segmentation is a critical tool in developing products and marketing offers. Companies routinely separate customers into segments to understand and satisfy their unique needs. So why is segmentation so rarely used when measuring the customer experience?

Some segmentation methods include:

  • Demographic. Best Buy built customer segments such as Jill (the Soccer Mom) or Buzz (the young tech enthusiast), creating successful store offerings around each.
  • Behavioral. Health insurance companies build segmentation schemes around consumer behavior and demographics such as Young and Healthy or Chronics.
  • Psychographic. Can be based on lifestyle, opinions, hobbies, or similar items. Grocery stores use segments such as the Indulgent Shopper and the Convenience Shopper.
  • Geographic. Suburban, rural, and urban are common B2C segments.
  • Industry. Most B2B companies include at least some segmentation around industry.

When conducting a Customer Experience Measurement survey (whether Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score or Engagement), most programs combine all respondents into a consolidated set of results, combining customer segments into a watered-down whole. There are clear logistical reasons to do this – it is easier and cheaper to build one set of results than 3-7. But what is the impact?

>>> Read more in the attached white paper: Measuring the Segmented Customer Experience.