The modern consumer expects frictionless purchasing experiences.
Amazon. Uber. Deliveroo. All these companies have risen to success because of their emphasis on meeting and surpassing customer needs.
But the discussion seems a bit one-sided and focused on shiny, consumer-facing brands. There’s not enough talk of how business-to-business companies are doing extraordinary things in customer experience. That’s why we’re proud to be including a specific B2B category in this year’s UK Customer Experience Awards.
B2B organisations still have some catching up to do with their B2C counterparts. A survey by McKinsey found that B2C companies typically score between 65-85% on customer experience surveys. The average for B2B companies is less than 50%. This study was done two years ago, however, and in that time serious advances have been made.
But remember: expectations keep rising. 80% of B2B customers expect the same buying experience as B2C customers. This means that product and price are becoming less and less significant as differentiators compared to useful, personalised service.
There are other barriers to overcome as well. According to Forbes, 59% of B2B buyers would rather shop online. This is partly due to changing consumer habits and the rise of self-serve, but also because some B2B sales reps have the reputation as pushing a bit too hard.
B2C customers want expert advice, and they don’t want to feel like everything is a potential sale (even when it is). In a world where customer experience is breaking down barriers between industries, cross-sector learning is essential.
Customer experience transformations take time, even with a willing C-suite on board. I think this explains the gulf between B2B and B2C customer experience.
B2C companies have had, for want of a better word, a ‘head start’, with many customer experience pioneers coming from that side of business. But the fact remains: there is outstanding CX work being done by B2B organisations up and down the country that deserves recognition.
For this reason, we’re introducing a specific B2B category at this year’s Customer Experience Awards. We want to reward businesses who’ve improved the experience their customers have through specific initiatives. This could be by embedding more customer-centricity in your organisation, improving the digital experience or revolutionising your contact centre.
Attending the Customer Experience Awards isn’t just a chance for hard-earned recognition for B2B achievements; it’s also an unparalleled educational opportunity.
Over 1000 professionals will be in attendance at the daylong event, held at Wembley Stadium. Through the morning and afternoon, Finalists will be presenting their initiatives before panels of independent judges. Many presentations will be open, meaning that any Finalist can drop in and listen.
For B2B companies, this will be especially useful. If there’s one main lesson we can take from the customer revolution, it’s this: the consumer’s need for great customer experience transcends any one sector.
As such, there are lots of useful parallels you can draw between companies, even ones with different business models. Ultimately, everyone is in the business of delighting customers – whether as individuals or companies – so listening to open presentations exposes you to the very best ideas in the industry right now.
The cross-sector nature of the Awards also presents enviable networking opportunities. Organisations specialising in CX will be there in force, as will some of the UK’s biggest businesses. Attending niche business awards has its own appeal, but the other companies at those awards are likely to be your direct competition. At the UK Customer Experience Awards, you will also be alongside prospective partners and clients. There’s an extraordinary amount of best practice sharing throughout the day, which is truly inspiring for any company looking to take their CX to the next level.
We are currently accepting entries for the UK Customer Experience Awards – enter today to get the recognition you deserve!
To read more Customer Experience stories from Awards International, click here.