B2B companies typically tend to focus on costs rather than CX. Source: Shutterstock

B2B companies typically tend to focus on costs rather than CX. Source: Shutterstock

Should B2B companies really care about customer experience?

WHILE customer-facing B2C businesses might be talking about customer experience (CX) as a critical success factor and key differentiator, B2B companies selling primarily to businesses are wondering whether or not CX is important to their future.

For most B2B organizations, beating the competition means lowering costs, improving quality, and boosting efficiency.

If one player in the market provides a better product at a lower price, most B2B companies believe they’ll lose clients. And although cost, quality, and efficiency together impact CX scores, some B2B leaders think that a laser-like focus on the three are sufficient to stay ahead of peers.

Are they right? Well, according to several experts including Gartner, B2B companies must focus on improving the experience they provide together with other goals and objectives.

A recent Gartner survey found that 51 percent of B2B marketers rank their current digital experience as average at best.

In an age where buyers are increasingly looking online to learn about products and services before they make a purchase, B2B companies must work on providing more intelligent tools and functionalities on their website and various platforms to ensure easy access to the right knowledge assets.

“Leading B2B brands ace the basics and leverage best-in-class functionality to create a differentiated experience for B2B buyers,” said Gartner’s recently.

For example, only 34 percent of B2B manufacturing brands with site search tools allow site users to filter site search queries. Only 26 percent of site search tools leverage auto-fill technology, while even less (24 percent) provide corrections to search queries.

Recently, A Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Mike Gualtieri suggested that B2B companies should consider using machine learning (ML) to transform the experience they provide to customers.

“We know just about everything about them. They learn about their individual characteristics, detect customer needs and desires and adapt applications to serve them in real time,” Gualtieri said.

While there’s no consensus on where B2B companies need to start when it comes to providing a great CX, the reality is that unless companies take their own approach to improve parts of the customer journey right now, they might lose out to companies that make an effort to delight their customers through innovative CX projects.