B2B client relationships are more delicate than most businesses understand and/or know. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a rapid growth of solutions promising to offer the tools necessary to measure “satisfaction” or “loyalty”. Unfortunately, these companies misunderstand the point behind measuring client relationships. Simple survey methodologies and net promoter scores (NPS) don't provide the in-depth feedback required to build successful relationships.
As Tom Cates, Chief Story Teller, Encompass-CX often reports, “10 minutes after meeting me, you and I have already formed a relationship. You listen to my words, how I act and respond to you, and create a relationship – good, bad or otherwise”.
YOUR B2B CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS ARE TIED TO THE TOOLS YOU USE
The adoption of B2B solutions to measure the customer experience has changed the landscape for how organizations make strategic business decisions that impact their client relationships. Everyone is well aware of the costs associated with client acquisition and churn, so much so that companies are actively seeking out solutions that impact their client relationships and the experiences they have with them.
As Christopher Meyer and Andre Schwager have said, inside their Understanding Customer Experience blog article on Harvard Business Review, "A business’s 'experience,' one might say, is its manner of functioning, and a B2B company helps its business customers serve their customers by solving their business problems, just as an effective business-to-consumer company fulfills the personal needs of its customers. In a B2B context, a good experience is not a thrilling one but one that is trouble-free and hence reassuring to those in charge."
B2B tools should help solve clients business problems and fulfill their personal needs. Your B2B client relationship success is tied to how your business tools provide solutions that matter to your clients. Existing customer satisfaction measurement tools and net promoter scores were never designed to understand this fully. As noted by Henry Jewkes, in the September 24th issue of SD Times, Utilizing Customer Experience to Measure the Impact of New Features, “If customer experience is the most important indicator of success, then learning about an issue with that experience through customer feedback is the worst-case scenario.”
SOLUTIONS DON'T COME FROM SINGLE QUESTION SURVEYS
Historically, B2B businesses have used traditional market research companies to dig into their satisfaction or loyalty – and to a large extend, they still do, but what's always been missing is the entire client relationship picture.
The evolution of client relationships/experience measurement technology arrived with a slew of young companies all determined and capable of providing big data and in-depth analytical tools. Each with easy-to-use dashboards and features capable of monitoring all B2B customer touch points. Like their predecessors, they only measure and analyze a very basic foundation of the genetic makeup that exists inside client relationships with single-question or one-sided relationship surveys.
Interestingly, the growth of these companies has coincided with the rapid adoption of CRM systems. But in the end, whether it's a customer experience tool or the voice of the customer platform, solutions that are meant to improve client relationships and their understanding of them have to measure and assess what's at the core of successful B2B client relationships.
HOW DO YOU GET TO THE CORE OF A SUCCESSFUL CLIENT RELATIONSHIP?
To get to the core, you need to measure both client and seller perception. Otherwise, what's the point of measuring satisfaction or loyalty if client feedback is one-sided? As they say, "There's always two-sides to a story."
How clients are handled should always depend on their perception of you. Understanding their perception explains why your clients' loyalty is either high or low. Knowing perception is the first step to changing client and seller behavior.
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Request a demo of our CX application and see for yourself the benefits to your revenue and retention efforts measuring the customer experience can have!