A B2B Customer Experience study issued by Accenture showed that 86% of executives listed customer experience as a strategic initiative. However, as shown in this study and other such research reports, many B2B organizations are struggling with delivering on their customer experience initiatives.
Customer experience begins with an organization’s people. If employees are not mobilized around this initiative, no amount of technology, appointing a Chief Customer Officer, content or increases in spending will deliver results. In order for B2B organizations to find customer experience success they first need to enable, equip and empower their employees.
The next series of blogs will provide insight into what it means to enable, equip and empower teams to meet the goal of customer experience. The first step is enabling teams for customer experience, which includes the following:
Understanding The Brand Promise
In an earlier blog post, we highlighted the importance of employees understanding the brand promise of their organization. If employees do not know what their brand stands for, it will be impossible for them to understand the experience they are trying to create for their customers.
I speak with countless number of professionals who serve in an array of roles from marketing, sales, support, professional services, IT and very few are able to articulate clearly their brand promise. Some are even pressed to remember if they have ever heard this spoken by their executive team.
The first step in enabling employees to deliver customer experience is ensuring they are clear on the promise and value of their brand (the first step may also be to establish a brand promise). This is not a one-time announcement, but a continual flow of communication that starts from the top and needs to be lived out internally in order for it to reach your customers.
While many B2B organizations state they are strategically focused on customer experience, there are few who truly understand the holistic nature of such an initiative. Numerous studies show the organizational silos that exist which prohibit customer experience success.
To be able to truly drive customer experience, employees need to be educated on the role they play in the strategy. True customer experience has an impact on every role in the organization whether or not they are customer facing or internal. Educating personnel on the role they play or how their responsibilities may change is foundational for customer experience success.
I was speaking with a prospect recently whose company is focused on a customer experience initiative. In the conversation he told me, “We have been told we are now maniacally focused on the customer, but we have yet to understand what that means in terms of our day-to-day roles and some people are starting to panic.”
Without a clear directive from executives and education on the changes that may be needed at certain levels, employees are left to guess, which is no strategy at all and will lead to a failed initiative.
Defining the who, what and how of customer experience is necessary for organizations that want to take hold of this competitive advantage.
Development of Skills
More than 60% of organizations are looking to their CMOs to lead their customer experience initiative; therefore their teams need to develop the skills necessary to deliver. However, according to a study conducted by Kapost, “only 12% of marketers rate themselves as very effective at delivering a consistent customer experience.” B2B customers today are more sophisticated and complex than ever before and it is this dynamic that requires marketing teams to acquire new skills.
Marketing teams need to have the skills necessary to analyze data, map customer journeys, develop relevant and engaging content, construct customer-centric programs, portray empathy, and manage change. These are not skills that are found in traditional marketing departments so the need to cultivate and develop these skills is a must.
Accenture reports that only 25% of B2B organizations are finding success with customer experience. If there is no enablement of the employees, success will continue to be elusive.