“How did we do today?” “How likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”
Customer experience KPIs commonly sit within the marketing and customer service departments, with marketing usually holding the baton for a smooth journey for prospects until they reach the customer stage. Then the "after-sales" customer service support kicks in.
As I’ve been discussing in this series of blogs on the Customer Experience Era, the buyer journey is no longer so linear and increasingly digital.
Building a loyal army of fans involves creating a frictionless customer experience and constant feedback loop so that the customer journey is truly exceptional.
So who is responsible for the customer experience? And how do you ensure that they raise the standard from adequate to amazing?
Who Is Responsible For The Customer Experience?
Everyone who touches customers should have a responsibility towards helping to shape an exceptional customer experience.
The real question is: How?
The answer lies in ensuring that all your teams are aligned around a common customer experience goal. We’re no longer talking about sales and marketing alignment – it's sales, marketing, customer services, subject matter experts (and more) alignment.
How Each Department Can Contribute To An Exceptional Customer Experience
Marketing already holds key responsibility for the customer experience, where content has become key to an exceptional buyer and customer journey. They're usually responsible for creating buyer personas and gathering insights from the website, social media, research and even client interviews.
In the past, all this data and insights would have been enough to create content that helped elevate your prospects’ and buyers’ experience beyond your competitors.
But the problem is that there’s now so much available content online it can be overwhelming for buyers, especially when they revisit their buying tasks and must deconstruct the conflicting information they find with the buying group.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post The 3 F’s of Customer Experience: Fans like Frictionless, research shows that what B2B buyers really need is self-serve content that’s personalised to their industry and even company needs.
- 70% of B2B buyers ranked “relevant content that speaks directly to our company” as “very important”.
- 96% of B2B professionals considered messaging that “spoke directly to our industry needs” to be important.
- 91% of buyers want “easy access to content without long forms” as important
Source: Demand Gen’s B2B Report 2019
Marketing can help sales identify better-fit customers by the content they’re consuming and, with the right end-to-end marketing software, alert sales and even customer services when it looks like prospects or customers need more help.
But truly personalised content can only be created when marketing aligns with other departments to create and plan content.
Which Leads Us To...
Sales hold a crucial role in helping marketing create timely, relevant content that enhances the buyer journey and removes frictions. They speak with prospects every day and so they understand their pain points and challenges, their goals and what gets in the way.
They need to relay this with marketing.
However, it’s not enough to help with content ideas at the outset. They need to meet their buyers where they are – online. When they engage digitally via social selling they can better understand:
- What their exact buyers are discussing and sharing online.
- What topic and keywords they use
- The gaps in conversations they can't fill with helpful content
When sales create a constant dialogue with marketing and are actively present online it means that buyers can quickly send (or create) content that’s directly relevant to the conversation they’re having now – not the month, or even week, before.
Subject Matter Experts
In B2B businesses, it’s your subject matter experts that have trained for years in their area of expertise and even hold formal professional qualifications. They’re responsible for explaining complex issues to customers and advise them on the best solutions (often with all the nuances that come with it).
Are your subject matter experts targeted on how friendly and helpful their interactions are with customers? Are they able to explain the complex issues in simple ways your customers understand?
Or are their KPIs still focused on deliverables such as hours billed?
And, most importantly, are they involved in creating content that helps you create self-serving content that provides your customers with the insights they need on complex issues?
Your customer services team are critical to your business’s success. Customer services must often run through snagging issues with clients and deal with complaints and feedback. In short, their whole job is often to remove frictions that occur.
They’ll often be targeted on how satisfied customers are with their interactions. (If they’re not in your business, then this is a must-have first step to a better customer experience.)
However, in today’s digital world, customer services should do more to help create exceptional customer experiences. They’re perfectly placed to help you create content such as FAQs, product demos and feature information that helps your customers self-serve their issues.
Have you set up a channel such as Slack or Team groups where customer services can quickly share common issues that arise time and again and need to be addressed? Are they also targeted or rewarded for contributing to content creation?
When your teams are all highly aligned and working together towards a common goal – creating an unforgettable customer experience (for the right reasons!) - success will come.
Companies see an average of 19% faster revenue growth and 15% profitability when sales and marketing teams are aligned (Demand Gen 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report). But it should extend across all department and alignment requires finding a common goal.
That common goal should like in your customer and their success because in today’s digital age, where referrals and word-of-mouth can spread like wildfires, happy customers and prospects will in turn drive your success.
We discuss the exact practical steps you can take to align your teams around a common Customer Experience goal (and ow to overcome challenges) in our eBook which you can download below.