Maya Angelou famously said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. The same principle applies to B2B customers and companies — customers may not remember the specifics of every interaction they have with a business, but they will recall how their engagements with a company made them feel.
This is the realm of customer experience, which we can define as the sum total of the cognitive and emotional impressions a customer develops about a company or brand over their relationship with it. Customer experience matters more than ever before when we’re operating in a world of functionally adequate but undifferentiated and emotionally void B2B products and services.
When customers can evaluate a range of different options from an app or the Web, companies need to treat customer experience as their most important competitive advantage. In a world of changing technology and evolving channels to market, customer experiences that are engaging, consistent and enjoyable should be the constant, the North Star that gives the company direction.
Here are five of the elements that we believe make up great B2B customer experiences in the cloud and digital era…
1. Empathy is the secret sauce
Thriving with B2B customer experience in the cloud age takes a completely different mindset to the traditional product/service sales approach of the past. Leading companies will put the customer and their needs at the centre of their business model. They will build marketing, sales and services teams with empathy to understand what the customer wants and needs.
The customer might be craving convenience, simplicity, accessibility and affordability to ensure productivity and efficiency. Or they might want assistance driving innovation or creating new revenue streams. Agile marketing teams will listen closely to customers to understand their pain points — then deliver solutions that wow them.
2. Customer experience demands organisation-wide alignment
Customer experience cannot be the sole responsibility of customer-facing functions like sales, support and marketing. Everything from product design and technology to logistics and human resources ultimately impacts the experience the customer has. Consider how, for example, slow and unresponsive systems will frustrate sales and service teams as they strive to deliver excellent customer experiences. As such, all business functions need to be aligned behind the need to create great customer experiences.
3. It’s a total network play
In the cloud era, customer experience is usually delivered via a network that might comprise stakeholders ranging from software vendors and hyperscale cloud providers to cloud enablers, ISVs and IT resellers. These different players may sometimes compete and often cooperate. But what really matters is that they can work together to deliver an experience that looks seamless to the customers. Robust technology integrations and careful partnership are key to making it work — but the customer need should always be in the centre.
4. To succeed, brands need to adopt continuous learning
Customer expectations are evolving fast and yesterday’s value-add or competitive edge can quickly become today’s ticket to play. Organisations need to adopt agile practices and continuous learning to stay the pace with customer expectations and demands. They should embrace a constant cycle of building, learning and measuring customer experience and its constituent elements. Frequent experimentation and minimum viable products are all great ways to rapidly develop new experiences and gauge customer response.
5. Customer experience drives successful marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing has always been powerful, but when it can be scaled to thousands or millions of people via social media and other digital platforms, its power grows exponentially. A great customer experience that customers want to share with others can create an army of evangelists that have the credibility to bring more customers on board. A company with an indifferent customer experience will not inspire this level of customer passion and will thus need to throw far more money at marketing.
Customer experience post-Covid
As we move beyond the pandemic, customer priorities have changed. E-commerce has received a major boost and remote or hybrid work has become more commonplace. As we look into the future, fears about climate change and the continued disruption of global supply chains means that the digital trend is here to stay.
In this world, customer experience is the key to setting a brand apart in a world of lookalike products and services. Companies that learn how to deliver “wow” moments throughout the customer journey will build customer loyalty and grow their businesses. They will thrive by putting customers right at the heart of what they do.
About Tarsus On Demand
Tarsus On Demand, a division of Tarsus Technology Group, enables managed service providers, independent software vendors and technology resellers to smoothly transition their businesses to the cloud and software as a service. The dynamic team works closely with channel partners to help their customers architect and deploy cloud solutions that support growth, efficiency, agility and innovation.
Tarsus On Demand offers channel partners access to aggregated offerings from leading cloud service providers as well as to tools that enable them to provide customers with seamless access to cloud products and services. Partners can accelerate their move to the cloud by tapping into the company’s established skills base and direct vendor relationships.
Recognised as the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) of the Year winner for four years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021), Tarsus On Demand has also won several industry awards including the Microsoft Partner of the Year 2021, Acronis Cyberfit Distributor of the Year 2021 and Mimecast Managed Services Partner of the Year 2021. This has allowed Tarsus On Demand to establish itself as a leading cloud enablement partner for resellers looking to provide clients with cloud solutions.
- The author, Inayeth Govender, is GM for demand generation at Tarsus On Demand
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