Creating Breakthrough B2B Customer Experiences in the Post Pandemic World
Customer Experience is Paramount in B2B, just as in B2C
Customer experience is one of the critical foundations of any business. It also reflects an organization’s commitment to offering a smooth buyer journey and follow-up. Like B2C companies, B2B organizations have also traversed their digital and technology journey and came a long way concerning seamless customer experience. Communication remains crucial, even more so in the times we are living in. The delivery models need to bring today’s objectives to offer more granular solutions that allow professionals to use micro-segmentation to tailor a campaign strategy for every campaign relevant to their audiences.
With increased digital and technology adoption, online marketing has evolved manifolds, and content has become a vital pillar to boost marketing effectiveness. This blog will cover how technology has enabled B2B Organizations to improve and scale up their customer experience.
How the Pandemic has Shaped the B2B Customer Experiences in Today’s Time
Traditionally, B2B marketers focused more on offline marketing to generate leads and increase visibility. However, the Covid19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology and digital and forced B2B organizations to innovate rapidly. The new normal of social restrictions and lockdowns has led organizations to rethink and reevaluate their marketing strategies to adapt quickly without much business impact.
With an online-only mode of communication, most organizations have less in-person facetime with customers. In such times, it is, therefore, critical for B2B organizations to move towards more humanized, personalized, helpful, and relevant experiences that help reduce complexities and save time. The Experience has to go beyond the “one size fits all” to foster more personalized relationships driven by data, tools, automation, and intelligence collated from every interaction and transaction. According to a McKinsey report, “97% of B2B buyers claim they will purchase an end-to-end, digital self-serve model, with the vast majority very comfortable spending $50K or more online.”
One other research from Forrester has concluded that analytics driven by big data can help marketers reach beyond the usual campaign-based execution. They can help derive better campaign insights for individual customer relationships that offer better personalization at every step of the customer journey.
Technology becomes central to value creation and better customer experiences
Unlike traditional ways of working, Covid19 forced companies to reengineer their business models, inject operational efficiencies, and enable their businesses with technology and infrastructure to stay ahead of competitors and continue reaching out to customers in innovative ways. Outlined below are some of the critical breakthroughs that help improve customer experience and engage customers.
Extended Reality becomes Game-changing for Businesses
B2B buying cycles are usually long and complex. Consider a case of an equipment manufacturer that enables production for another business – the entire model is quite a high touch, involving a lot of in-person discussions. Post-COVID, with the shift to digital and engaging extended reality experience, can act as a cookie-cutter. Hybrid experiences ensure that trust in communication is amplified through technology enablement. With a more immersive and engaging experience, sharing information and turning prospects to customers is much easier.
Extended Reality (XR) can power up the customer experiences to a whole new level if implemented with a sound strategy. XR is a combination of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies that can help businesses turn their on-screen campaigns into in-person experiences. The current paradigm XR is gaining massive momentum with enthusiasts, and its adoption is estimated to reach up to $300 billion by 2024. For example, Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, has leveraged an XR app called EVE to train its employees. It allows for a realistic virtual experience with step-by-step tutorials for required job descriptions. KFC also leverages XR for their trainees using VR to master the chicken cooking process.
Interactive Content Marketing = Stickiness + Engagement
As customer experience veers more in the direction of personalization, interactive marketing will steer that way forward for future campaigns. Interactive goes a long way to offer a deep understanding of buyer preferences. Quizzes, Polls, Calculators, Assessments empower the buyers with transparency with information about the solutions and how much they will help them if they transition. Organizations use their own data to drive these assessments; for example, you can have visitors landing on your webpage to answer a set of questions and show them how they compare to the aggregate of survey responses.
Content is critical to B2B companies; marketing teams have started putting a lot of effort into building interactive content that sticks and engages in real-time. Instead of driving leads through a static whitepaper, companies have begun building interactive reports, whitepapers, eBooks, and videos, to amplify interactivity to the next level and create stickiness. Many such interactive products or content enable users to feed their inputs and provide bespoke customized findings based on their choices. Such inputs also help improve products, enable better decision-making, and translate into meaningful actions in the future. Infosys has developed a fascinating and enticing Cloud Radar 2021 report that incorporates unique interactive gameplay for the users to proceed throughout the information for industry insights while keeping the highly engaged.
The pandemic has led organizations to rethink their personalization strategies to focus on contextual content based on user behavior and preferences.
This strategy requires data collection beyond the traditional name, company, and title but focuses more on behavioral activity. Over half (55%) of marketing professionals say that website activity is the most important type of marketing data utilized for personalization efforts. According to various surveys, over 25% of marketers feel that data personalization strategies are more effective in driving better business outcomes.
Marketers are taking into account the social cues and adapting them to build trust with the end-user. This transition is taking place with the help of Machine Learning to identify, read, and react to these social and emotional cues to deliver better personalization. The new-age, elaborate algorithms allow companies to interpret all kinds of data, be it textual, visual or auditory, to derive intelligence that has not been considered in the past. Companies are heavily investing in Big Data, running predictive models on clusters to bespoke their offering for their customer sets.
Marketers translate the data points into actionable insights and feed these insights while planning their marketing and content strategy.
Incorporating Tools and Frameworks to Support this Transition
Automation is only successful with AI and emotional intelligence that helps fully utilize the resources well. In a 2019 DemandMetric Survey, it was discovered that only 18 percent of surveyed businesses used AI in their B2B operations. These numbers probably look very different 2020 onwards. Similarly, contact centers that are instrumental carriers of quality customer experience have benefitted hugely from the integration of IVR systems.
So much so that Google launched a solution in 2020 – Contact Center AI (CCAI). The tool’s artificial intelligence capabilities allow organizations to improve their customer experience without spilling over operational costs. Apart from that, Google’s Dialogflow revolutionizes customer experience beyond bots and virtual assistants to derive appropriate responses to queries about products, purchases, or issues. This has become especially important in the post-COVID times as customers have significantly less facetime with brands to address their issues.
It is crucial to integrate the right technology in the journey to delivering the bonafide customer experience and build the right conversational To do this correctly; it’s vital to choose the most appropriate technology to create a symbiotic conversational AI experience. Similar tools use features like Speech to text (STT) models, to and Natural Language Processing powered by Machine Learning help create conversational experiences across platforms.
There are also other tools like HubSpot Chatbots that help reduce wait time, Conversica’s AI based automated mails, human sounding AI based smart assistants that have made a resounding impact in the customer experience domain.
Organizations rely on Customer Experience software (also known as CX, CXM, or CEM) to help manage customer feedback and optimize sales and customer relations. They need to diversify their capabilities like content management, contextual help, customer analytics, and customer feedback to help customer interactions flow and add intuitive value to the overall content marketing through actionable insights, and these tools help organizations to achieve just that.
Streamlining and Integrating Martech Architectures for a Flexible Ecosystem
The advent of pandemic-induced strategies has led organizations to look for frictionless collaborations between cross-functional teams and departments. An Agile approach is seen to fuel a free-flowing exchange of data between tools, systems, and channels giving companies the flexibility to scale their resources based on customers’ needs in B2B.
Companies in the post-pandemic world are working under severe budget cuts. Therefore it is vital to chalk out the areas where you will benefit the most from your investments. Martech investments mainly comprise three broad categories: adtech, data, analytics, and marketing automation. Your Martech stack should be cohesive to your business goals and should be able to scale your campaigns across different channels.
With so much engagement shifting to digital marketing, there is increasing emphasis on the importance of quality data coupled with functioning insights. When the correct data meets the right automation, it helps deliver a digital engagement that fosters a far-reaching impact on customer relationships. According to a survey conducted by the CMO Council and published in the Harvard Business Review displayed “more than 80% of respondents were dissatisfied with their ability to measure marketing ROI.” So the role of Marketing Analytics has gained a new level of relevance in the post-pandemic times. Many organizations today are willing to spend higher on analytics to understand the effectiveness of their campaigns better and improve their customer experiences. However, it is essential to consider that analytics and marketing attribution models should be used in tandem to deliver measurable outcomes.
In the last couple of years, we have seen several instances where B2B organizations across the world have leveraged the best of their marketing capabilities to deliver exemplary customer experiences.
JP Morgan struck the right between informative and friendly communication with Finding Chase. The AI and ML powered voice assistant used an advanced language knowledge base, to handle the bank’s Mortgage and Card divisions. The renowned printer manufacturers, Epson worked with Conversica, an organization that specializes in automated mails. Epson saw an increase of 240 percent in its customer response rate and a 75 percent increase in its number of qualified leads with its help. Another organization, Mack, that owns a niche in the industry of large trucks used AI based email marketing for lead generation and nurturing. Besides the traditional marketing practices these new tools helped the organization to make their TG aware of their offerings from the comfort of their homes.
Even though technology can immensely improve customer handling through a data-driven approach, we are far from transforming the entire customer experience. While digital and physical interactions can offer a satisfactory experience standalone, one must ensure that a customer’s queries/ grievances/ interests are addressed comprehensively. These areas need to be accounted for throughout the entire buyer journey and even after that. Several digital experiences lack the personal touch to such a great extent that it often leaves the customer disgruntled in the whole “Experience.” So ideally, the right combination of digitization and personalization can help you deliver tailor-made customer experiences and a dedicated customer base for your B2B business.