Business, sales and marketing leaders are embracing B2B CX programs to optimize customer experience, but it’s not easy. We explore 6 successful B2B CX examples to share what you can do in your company.
A quick search for successful CX examples will no doubt throw up case study after case study from iconic B2C companies like American Express, Under Armour, and BMW. But what about business to business?
At the core, there are some similarities between B2C and B2B businesses — you rely on customers, and for them the experiences you deliver are everything.
You could even argue that the experience is even more important in B2B given the skew towards smaller customer bases where a handful of accounts will often account for a large proportion of revenue, not to mention the more one-to-one relationships between buyer and seller compared to B2C.
B2B leaders are taking notice of this shift — in the XM Institute’s 2019 research 84% of B2B organizations said they would increase their focus on customer experiences in the coming year.
The benefits of a great B2B CX program can be reduced churn and increased business growth
What’s more, there is a lot of research that tells us about the benefits of investing in CX programs for B2B brands:
- 75% of CX leaders point to their programs as positively impacting their organization's financial performance year over year.
- Improvements in customer experience lead to reducing customer churn by 10-15% and increasing win rates of offers by 20-40%.
- Both B2B and B2C companies with investment in customer experience are 3x more likely to significantly exceed its 2019 business goals.
For more information on maximizing the impact of your B2B CX program, view our on-demand webinar
B2B businesses are different. So you need a different approach to CX
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all CX program, even in organizations within the same industry. B2B businesses are very different to B2C ones, despite there being a few areas of overlap.
If you're building a world class B2B CX program, here are a few important insights to keep in mind:
- B2B customer journeys have added complexity: Complexity is cited as the most common issue for B2B companies. It covers hurdles like complicated purchasing patterns, long supply chains, complex client relationships with multiple stakeholders and frequent changes to client priorities. This can lead to longer sales cycles and more resources required to meet customers’ expectations. More complex customer journeys can also lead to lower customer experience scores – Customer experience ratings were higher in B2C customers (65-80%) than B2B customers (on average scoring less than 50%).
- The B2B customer-revenue mix is unbalanced: most B2B companies drive a large proportion of their revenue from a small minority of customers. So where a B2C program could do well from broad customer loyalty segments, B2B CX teams need a customer-level view of the experience in order to provide a high-touch experience for their most valuable customers.
- B2B organizations have decentralized and siloed departments: In a 2019 survey, 28% of B2B companies were found to have no central CX team in place. In this situation, B2B companies that lack communication could lose opportunities because its customer experiences are disjointed and unpleasant.
- B2B CX maturity is low: B2C has led the way for CX development, with B2B brands catching up. The Qualtrics 2019 CX Management study supports this when it found that nearly 80% of B2B/B2B2C organizations only fell into the first two stages of CX maturity (‘Investigate’ and ‘Initiate’), from a total of five maturity stages.
It’s clear that simply replicating well known B2C examples won’t work in B2B environments. However, good B2B examples can help show how true business impact has been achieved through successful CX programs.
6 world-class B2B CX case study examples
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Lumen — formerly known as CenturyLink — is well known for offering connectivity, cloud, and security solutions for enterprise customers around the world, as well as high-speed internet, fiber and voice services.
With more than 39,000 employees worldwide and a mix of both B2C and B2B relationships, Lumen was looking for a company-wide solution that would help them build a customer-centric culture to deliver business results.
Siloed and overly complicated traditional feedback programs were swapped for the Qualtrics centralized, agile platform, which provided the brand with speed and flexibility to keep up with a complex business and customer base. Internal teams also used the Qualtrics mobile app to help employees democratize and own customer data.
Using the insights from multiple communication channels in the Lumen B2B CX program, Lumen was able to identify immediate insights and alerts that internal customer teams could address, and investigate these more with deep-dive pulses to follow-up.
One of the most profound insights came from monitoring NPS responders, called “movers” – customers whose NPS improved over a 12-month period, by advancing from a detractor, or from a passive to a promoter. It found that half of Lumen’s 300 movers increased spending with Lumen and one customer increased annual revenue by 79%.
Now, the B2B CX program has been used by more than 7,000 employees at Lumen — including top executives — to better understand customer sentiment and take actions to close the loop. “Everyone has to own CX,” said Ard. “You can’t do it alone — you need the whole company regularly reviewing the data and using it to take action.”
2. Johnson controls
Thanks to our work with Qualtrics and Walker, we’ve been able to establish a direct connection between the customer experience and the financial returns for each region or business unit. That gets everybody’s attention.”
Johnson Controls supplies technology, services, and infrastructure required for buildings to operate at peak performance and efficiency. The company’s 100 brands support structures ranging from schools to sports arenas.
The business decided to innovate and be creative about how it managed the views of its customers and company performance. This arose after the company added new acquisitions and integrations, and in light of the complex feedback systems in place – there were 20 different business teams using 13 different vendor systems.
The resulting data duplication, confusion and inconsistency across platforms was resolved by implementing a single CX strategy using the Qualtrics platform and getting support to set up a comprehensive system.
Business leaders began to visualize data from touchpoints across the customer journey for its largest customers. The resulting insights brought business departments on board as employees were able to see the company from the customer’s point of view, in ways that were easy to act on.
One of the key discoveries from the B2B CX program was Johnson Controls established a strong correlation between CX performance and
business-unit revenue. By segmenting customer spend by loyalty, the company found that ‘truly loyal’ customers spent three times more each year than ‘high risk’ customers. This led to an internal 30% budget increase after establishing link between CX and customer spend.
Best of all, from having several vendors supplying conflicting feedback platforms, Johnson Controls was able to save 25% when it consolidated them all. Matt Inman, Global Director of Customer Experience, saved even more overall.
Given the size of the customers we deal with if we can transition one or two At-risk customers to become Loyal, it pays for our whole CX program”
3. Tetra Pak
Enterprise-size manufacturing B2B brand Tetra Pak is a leader in the field of food packaging and processing, with a mission to make food safe and available everywhere. However, in delivering its food processing and packaging solutions, it found that customers were unhappy – even when the deadlines were met.
When the brand tried to investigate, it found that it took too long to translate customer responses to actionable insights, so it knew there was room for improvement. It was decided to use both X- and O-Data as part of its daily routine, to help enhance its customer experiences.
Tetra Pak found that the resulting information helped to make better decisions. One team member said that they “not only do we have feedback , we have actionable insights and precise analytics that allow us to focus on what matters most.
The company set up triggers to send out customer satisfaction surveys at points during the customer’s journey, like after maintenance work was completed. The surveys were also easier to complete - research became 300% faster with customer surveys now taking just 2 minutes to complete. In doing this research, Tetra Pak discovered that it was quality that mattered most to its customers – not speed.
Now, customer experience is a huge driver for Tetra-Pak’s success.
It turned around B2B sales by ensuring that all 3000+ employees were committed to the new customer centric culture – from frontline staff closing the loop with dissatisfied customers, to head office analysing Net Promoter Score (NPS) alongside revenue.
It was also quick to close the loop with dissatisfied customers, reviewing the data so that it could find out how to resolve issues fast. Previously it took up to 15 days to follow up with customers. With Qualtrics, Tetra Pak is able to close the loop faster and now aim to follow up with 100% of detractors and 25% of promoters within 48 hours.
With our [old approach of an] annual survey, we only found out about dissatisfied customers when it was too late. This damages customer relationships and, over time, we risk losing them.”
Grundfos is a global manufacturer of water pumps that employs over 19,000 people. Each year, it produces around 16 million pump units and the electric motors that power them. Since its start in 1945, the company has believed in the value of collecting customer feedback and being truly customer-centric.
Grundfos was great at gathering customer feedback with annual surveys, but found that acting on feedback was a challenge. It struggled to respond quickly to problems and its digital channels were collecting 145,000 customer touchpoints per day.
With the goal of wanting to collect feedback at every touchpoint and use it meaningfully to deliver an amazing B2B customer experience, it worked with Qualtrics to implement a B2B CX program.
Grundfos found a recurring issue in the annual surveys – customers disliked the small, disappointing interactions with the company, at various moments along the customer journey. By using an agile technology solution, Grundfos was able to understand the customer experience at every touchpoint along the journey.
Automated alerts helped them to follow up with unhappy customers and turn detractors into promoters. The sales team is notified whenever a customer gives bad feedback on any aspect of the customer experience, and can get in touch with the customer to improve the situation.
Grundfos completed 1,000 follow ups with dissatisfied customers, showing its commitment to close the loop with unhappy customers and improve its CX. The hard work paid off, as customers gave employees a +9 average rating increase across all touchpoints, and there was a 3x larger growth rate with happy customers vs unhappy ones.
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Axway is an enterprise-size data integration and IT company that supplies software tools for businesses. With a history of delivering quality products, the Axway team was surprised to find it hard to close the customer experience gap.
With a B2B CX program and using Qualtrics feedback, Axway was able to see the areas that needed improvement. For example, lower satisfaction scores for cloud software led Axway to rethink its entire offering and how it could become more customer-centric.
Axway had been offering an enhancement request process that allowed customers to request product improvements. After exploring customer complaints, Axway also found that the process wasn’t working as well as it could, so it decided to resign the experience – this saw a direct uplift in transactional CSAT as a result.
These small actions that were driven by the feedback of its customers and smart data analytics led to a +27 increase in overall relational NPS, showing that customers were a lot more positive about the company’s customer experience. This was a fantastic result and Axway showed its customers that it cared about the feedback and wanted to tailor its products to help solve customer’s problems.
6. Digital Realty
Digital Realty is an enterprise level technology business, specializing in colocation, interconnection services and data centres. It wanted to improve and deliver a better customer experience and meet customer expectations, but keep costs down.
The implemented B2B CX program reduced cost by 20% and helped the organization pivot to a more customer-obsessed culture.
The interactive, executive dashboards in the CX program software gave easy to follow information and clear actions to take. Which helped the management team kick off a number of global initiatives.
One initiative was to refine the company’s listening posts across the customer journey and close the loop on customer feedback faster. The CX program was able to automatically analyze 57,000+ tickets and, with the help of Qualtrics’ recommended actions, customer issues were resolved within 20 hours on average - a great improvement.
With Qualtrics we’re able to identify the right actions to take that will ensure a great experience across the customer journey.”
The organization was thrilled to see its efforts pay off at the time of review. There was a huge increase of 133% to its customer Net Promoter Score (NPS), which was used to measure brand loyalty. In addition, it saw a 21% improvement in customer account retention.
Are you and your company making the right decisions to accelerate your CX program performance?
Manufacturing materials, clothing, car parts and semiconductors are B2B examples. These materials are a part of the transactions between two businesses.How can I improve my B2B customer experience? ›
- UI/ UXDesign: Make It Easy. ...
- Customer Service: Make It Fast. ...
- Back-end Integration: Make It Personal. ...
- Personalization: Make It Consistent. ...
- Engagement: Make It Relevant.
- Customer Support Must Be Top Notch. Losing a single customer hurts much more with B2B. ...
- Relationships Must Be Strong. You need to understand each and every one of your B2B customers' needs, and also realize each need is unique. ...
- Issues Must Be Solved Immediately.
It's any marketing strategy or content used by one business to target and sell to another business. For instance, companies that sell services, products, or SaaS to other companies or organizations typically use B2B marketing. Two good examples of B2B marketing are Monday.com's B2B brand strategy on LinkedIn.What is B2B in simple words? ›
B2B (business-to-business), a type of electronic commerce (e-commerce), is the exchange of products, services or information between businesses, rather than between businesses and consumers (B2C). A B2B transaction is conducted between two companies, such as wholesalers and online retailers.Which is the biggest B2B company in the world? ›
The most well-known name in the list of top B2B companies without a doubt is Google, which owns up to 137 products that are focused on surveying, cloud content collaboration, document creation, digital analytics, video conferencing, and other areas.How do you increase B2B customer engagement? ›
- Gather customer feedback to predict customer behaviour. ...
- Personalise your support. ...
- Include CTA's on landing pages. ...
- Use testimonials as a method of brand promotion. ...
- Humanize your brand. ...
- Engaging resources. ...
- Fast response. ...
- Build a community.
- B2B customers' top 3 KPIs are: cost savings, increasing the efficiency of the purchase process, and internal client satisfaction.
- E-commerce is now the number one purchasing channel for B2B buyers. ...
- But e-commerce is not just for buying. ...
- Even in a digital world, B2B buyers value relationships.
Improved Business Performance
According to data from McKinsey, B2B companies that transformed their customer experience processes saw a 10 to 15% revenue growth, higher client satisfaction scores, improved employee satisfaction and a 10 to 20% reduction in operational costs.
- Get in as many conversations as possible.
- Generate a targeted list of business contacts.
- Send cold emails.
- Make warm calls.
- Use Marketing Automation to nurture your leads.
- Set up a live chat on your website.
- Update your email signature with an embedded promotion.
What is B2B customer service? B2B is short for "business-to-business," meaning that you are a business and the product or tools that you sell are also designed for companies to use, rather than consumers. Customer service is the act of providing timely and empathetic responses to your customers when they are in need.What is #1 example of successful B2B content marketing? ›
"In my view, gated content is the best B2B content marketing example. Your mailing list can grow with gated content. You can publish limited-access white papers, checklists, data, case studies, research reports, ebooks, and templates.What are the four types of B2B markets? ›
To help you get a better idea of the different types of business customers in B2B markets, we've put them into four basic categories: producers, resellers, governments, and institutions.How do you create a B2B content? ›
- Understand your audience. ...
- Pick your core content formats & channels. ...
- Come up with amazing topics. ...
- Systematize your content process. ...
- Measure leads and micro-metrics.
An example of B2B would be a chipset manufacturer that sells its products to other companies. Business-to-consumer (B2C) is the term used to describe a business relationship between one company and at least one individual consumer. An example of B2C would be a travel agency that sells flights to individual consumers.What are the four types of B2B markets? ›
To help you get a better idea of the different types of business customers in B2B markets, we've put them into four basic categories: producers, resellers, governments, and institutions.What are B2B brands? ›
The term Business-to-Business brand (abbreviated: B2B brand or B-to-B brand) describes brands for industrial and capital goods, machines for instance.Is Amazon a B2B company? ›
Amazon Business (B2B) is a marketplace to serve the needs of Business Customers. For sellers, Amazon Business provides one of India's largest opportunities to reach businesses across the country.