By 2020, B2B customer experience will overtake product and price as a key brand differentiator, according to a Walker study.
If it comes down to your company and a similar competitor, your client experience is the deciding factor. How your staff answer the phone, how straightforward it is to navigate your website, the tone of voice of your proposals and how your account managers approach every interaction – it’s all the deciding factor. Savvy customers will pay more for a better brand experience because it makes them feel more valued, appreciated and understood.
That means every single customer touchpoint is an opportunity to get it right – or disastrously wrong. This is especially true for service-based companies. Not getting this right means ineffective sales, wasted customer acquisition costs and damage to your brand reputation.
If you ask Richard Branson what business Virgin is in, he says “the experience business. Anybody can sell a cup of coffee. Anyone can buy an airplane – and we all buy airplanes from the same manufacturers. If you fly on a Virgin plane, you know you’re going to have a completely different experience. Customer service is everything in the end.”
Experience is everyone’s responsibility.
The importance of customer experience is usually overlooked in the excitement of a rebrand. If you’ve redone your visual identity and are busy rolling out your new brand to your business cards, websites, uniforms and glossy marketing materials without taking a good hard look at your customer journey – it’s all wasted investment. That’s because your brand is your promise to your customers and your statement of how you do things. So what’s the gap between your brand promise and the reality of your experience?
ORB works with fast growing B2B service companies, including law firms, recruitment specialists, and technology consultancies, and we know first hand the challenges around building a joined-up customer experience across any business, no matter your size. The biggest challenge is knowing whose responsibility it is. Does it sit with marketing? Sales? HR? The MD or CEO? The fact is experience is everyone’s responsibility: it starts with leadership setting a clear brand vision and ends with every single person in your team making it second nature.
How to improve your client experience in 4 steps
1) Figure out the opportunity. Start by looking around at your industry. What’s ‘business as usual’ and how can you disrupt that? What are your clients crying out for? What are your competitors getting wrong? Audit the current reality.
2) Map out your current and ideal client journeys. Even if your product offering is exactly the same as competitors in your space, you might have an approach or attitude that makes all the difference to your client experience. So figure out what you can uniquely offer the world. Make it compelling. Use visual thinking to create a map of each touchpoint and explore how you can improve every one; you’ll see how little changes along the way create an overall vastly improved experience for your customers.
3) Change your culture to deliver it. Consider how to shift the mentality of your team. The most important part of this is communicating this new culture so that everyone doesn’t just deliver a brilliant customer experience but understands why it’s important. Visual thinking is a great way to open up interactive communication that on-boards staff, and help them see things differently.
4) Keep reinforcing it. Behaviour doesn’t change overnight. Culture work takes a long time but it’s an investment that delivers returns in the long-term. Once you tell staff ‘this is the way we do things now’, it needs to be followed up with consistent internal communications that reinforce that change.
Change your experience, change your business
We feel really strongly that brand isn’t just your visual identity or your look and feel. ORB is currently working closely with companies to show how brand can transform how you do business and drive your growth today. Get in touch to see what we can do for you.