Best Practices for Business-to-Business Customer Experience
Temkin Group has found that it is critical for business-to-business (B2B) firms to focus on the customer experience (CX) in its report, "Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience," which identifies leading practices companies can use to establish client-centric relationships.
"Consumer companies may get the mass of media coverage when it comes to customer experience, but there's enormous opportunity in the B2B sector, with customer experience as the foundation of stronger B2B enterprise relationships," said Aimee Lucas, CX analyst of Temkin Group and lead author.
Temkin Group found that B2B lags behind B2C in all four customer experience core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement and Customer Connectedness. The gap is largest in Compelling Brand Values where 37% of large B2C firms are rated as good or better, compared with only 24% of large B2B firms.
The research identifies B2B best practices in seven broad areas:
Develop Closed-Loop Voice of the Client (VoC) Programs. Having a reliable flow of customer insights across the organization is critical to driving customer-centric actions.
Use Journey Maps to Better Understand Clients' Needs. To better understand how clients see their experiences, B2B organizations can use a tool known as customer journey mapping.
Tap Into Virtual Client Advisory Boards. Client advisory boards (CAB) and councils provide the opportunity to acquire more insight into customer needs and expectations.
Account-Level Experience Reporting. To acquire, retain, and grow B2B relationships, account managers need to understand what's working and not working for each of their clients.
Insightful Business Development. B2B organizations that gather and use the right customer insights during this early stage will create a differentiated experience from the start of the relationship
Collaborative Account Planning. By taking a structured and collaborative approach to developing in-depth account plans, companies can tap into their enterprise knowledge.
Proactive Intervention and Support. B2B organizations need to use customer insights and feedback from account managers to intervene in service experiences gone wrong as quickly as possible with well-defined, robust recovery procedures.
The report provides specific practices from companies such as: CDW, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Enterasys, Genworth Financial, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SanDisk, Stream Global, and VMware.
The research report Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience can be downloaded from the Customer Experience Matters® blog, atExperienceMatters.wordpress.com as well as from the Temkin Group website, www.TemkinGroup.com.
About Temkin Group: Temkin Group is widely recognized as a leading customer experience research and consulting firm. Many of the world's largest brands rely on its insights and advice to steer their transformational journeys. Temkin Group combines customer experience thought leadership with a deep understanding of the dynamics of organizations to help accelerate results. Rather than layering on cosmetic changes, Temkin Group helps companies embed practices within their culture by building four critical competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement, Compelling Brand Values, and Customer Connectedness. The firm's ongoing research identifies leading and emerging best practices across a wide range of activities for engaging the hearts and minds of customers, employees, and partners. For more information, contact Bruce Temkin at 617-916-2075 or send an email.
About Aimee Lucas: Aimee Lucas is Customer Experience Analyst at Temkin Group. She has over 15 years of experience improving service delivery and transforming the customer experience through people development and process improvement initiatives. Prior to joining The Temkin Group, Aimee was responsible for implementing the client experience strategy and managing the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program for one of the top 10 public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S. Her work included planning and managing strategic initiatives, collaborating with cross-functional teams to introduce new-to-company functions and improvements. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in marketing management.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.