There are three basic components necessary for creating a digital strategy for customer experience: discovery, engagement and delivery.
I will give you an example of this works. I recently bought a smart water sprinkler controller. I researched different products online through web pages and forums, utilized the knowledge of a leading consumer research firm and contacted several brands directly (discover). When I was closing the purchase process, I was offered ancillary services like installation and other items (engage).
The supply chain worked flawlessly and I received the products I ordered at the expected time, in the expected condition (deliver). The product is full of features like being able to water on specific days or delay watering due to actual rain or expected rain (from weather feeds). I just wanted to minimize my water costs by using a smart scheduling option with rain information.
The manufacturer learns from my usage data and applies it to making the sprinkler work better for me and others. It also learns if/when I might want another service, for example another sprinkler if I am trying to add more watering zones than my current controller can manage (engage). The manufacturer can then offer me a 20% discount on another sprinkler controller (engage) and the process begins again.
Why would I change this pattern as a B2B product purchaser? They also want to research a product, enjoy a simple purchasing process, and get easy, timely delivery of the requested quantity.
Where B2B buyers differ is that they are now expecting a more tailored digital customer experience, where they can better utilize these products on an as-needed basis. This is what is called the digital customer experience (CX) model.
To create this experience you need to pay attention to the three critical criteria:
Knowing where and how your customers are researching purchases is crucial. “Always on” is becoming more commonly accepted so continuous engagement through the traditional touch points, such as call centers, as well as mobile and social media must all be managed. All B2B providers – from logistics to telecoms - have to make sure their contact with customers is relevant and meaningful. They need to determine the right time to market to their customers with content or other information; otherwise their customers will look elsewhere.
As B2B customers grow increasingly sophisticated, they expect to interact with products in new ways that deliver them new benefits. A pay-as-you-use payment model, for example, may be more appealing for a business that is trying to keep electricity or water costs down. At the same time, B2B providers want to glean data from connected products to deliver new sales models, new pricing schemes. They can learn how and when to cross sell/upsell by creating a relevant, detailed customer journey map. Customer journey mapping, an important element to the “discover” and “engage” processes, helps B2B providers to figure out when to upsell or cross sell.
B2B providers have to bring operational excellence to new levels while delivering exactly what the customer wants, when they want it and with perfect quality. Their entire value chain will be optimized to ensure the lowest possible cost and highest quality/speed delivery. You will then have a real-time view of what your customer is doing and when, giving you the opportunity for much better targeted marketing.
B2B providers can only disrupt the digital customer experience by creating and delivering differentiated value, not novelties. That is the digital CX revolution.