A recent headline read as follows, An Inconvenient Truth: 93% of Customer Experience Initiatives are Failing . . . To Differentiate. The article, written by Bob Thompson goes on to detail various issues most organizations experience that prevent them from achieving customer experience success.
It is hard to argue with the points in the article and as one who works with B2B organizations I am seeing first hand the uphill battle that B2B organizations face on making good on the promise of customer experience.
While the article does a good job listing many reasons why CX initiatives fail more often than not, there are some other reasons why B2B organizations are struggling to deliver on CX.
Lack Of A Data Foundation
Organizations have more data on their customers than ever before. The issue is that most of that data is old and therefore useless. In a report by DemandGen Report, 83% of survey respondents stated that their data is old and outdated. According to a Harvard Business Review Study, 61% of respondents stated that improving the customer experience is the greatest potential they see from having data analytics, however this this cannot be accomplished with bad data.
In addition to having bad data, the issue is compounded by the fact that in the majority of B2B organizations, data still exists in multiple silos limiting the ability for organizations to truly get a complete view of their customers. In fact, according to the afore mentioned Harvard Business Review Study, 55% of respondents claim disparate data silos as their biggest obstacle.
Lack of Clarity
One of the questions I often ask CMOs, CEOs and Chief Customer Officers is as follows, “what kind of experience do you want to create for your customers?” I follow this question by asking. “do you know what kind of experience your customers desire?”
These questions, while meant to provoke thought, are often me with replies of “that’s a great question.” Truth is, many B2B organizations have not truly thought through this idea of experience and what it will mean for their customers and the organization as a whole.
Take for instance a CMO I spoke with who was touting their $100,000 investment in their social media strategy. According to the CMO they wanted to use social media to “improve customer engagement”. Upon interviewing their customers, we came to realize that a very small percentage of their customers used social media as a channel.
If the desire is to create an ideal customer experience, organizations must first understand what this means to their customers and what it means for their organization.
Lack of a Customer Centric Culture
“The customer is always right!” This was the mantra at one of the organizations where I was formerly employed and has been the battle cry of many organizations before.
While this ideal was spoken many times in meetings and all-hands calls, the words were there, but the actions were far different. Customers would continually speak about lack of support, product features that were not valuable and feeling rather ignored as a whole. Hardly a great experience.
If an organization is going to succeed on delivering customers experience, it must first adopt a customer centric culture at every level of the organization.
A new study by West Monroe Partners (referenced in Bob Thompsons article) explores organizational agility to deliver customer experience. The number one challenge to this agility as listed by 54% is their culture.
There is no doubt that B2B organizations will continue to pursue customer experience as a way to differentiate and grow. However, as seen by the very few that are succeeding, it is no easy endeavor. However the benefits of success are worth the investment of time, money and resources as B2B customers are demanding it.