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What is a customer experience, and why is it important? 
When most people think of customer experience, they think about the individual touchpoints’ customers use to interact with a business—for example, submitting a contact form, making a purchase, or even raising a complaint. But this siloed focus on individual touchpoints means the customer’s end-to-end experience is not properly considered. 

It’s essential to recognise that many things happen before, during and after an individual touchpoint. A customer’s path-to-purchase can be long and stretch over many channels. For B2B businesses, the customer experience can be even more complicated. B2B transactions involve large volume orders, security requirements, complex trade regulations, multiparty supply chains, and intricate fulfilment issues. All of which are mission-critical for the customer. 

Thus, customer experience is the cumulative impact that all these individual interactions have on a customer. 

Businesses that provide the best experience, from start to finish, enjoy higher customer satisfaction, improved sales, and customer retention. Across industries, businesses that prioritise the customer experience can achieve revenue growth between 5% – 10% and cost reductions of 15% – 25% within three years. 

Technology – the customer experience problem and solution 
Wholesalers and distributors are operating in a multi-touchpoint, omnichannel, hyper-competitive market. Recently, there has been an explosion of new channels, devices, applications and more. All of which has given customers more control of their experience. However, more touchpoints mean more complexity. As a result, it makes it more difficult to deliver a superior end-to-end customer experience. 

Technology is the solution to gaining the customer experience ‘edge’ because it helps you create positive customer experiences at a larger scale and lower cost. You can, of course, provide a great customer experience without the help of technology, but you cannot deliver it consistently, sustain it indefinitely or provide it profitably. 

It’s always important to remember to keep the customer at the heart of all customer experience strategies. Whatever technology you decide to utilise must match the experience your customer wants from you. 

The four pillars of an unrivalled customer experience  
Whatever your customer experience strategy, you need to meet four essential areas along the customer’s journey: 

  • Reliability – This is the most fundamental part of delivering an unrivalled customer experience. You need to be reliable, consistent, and relevant from start to finish. For example, your website should always load quickly. There should be accurate information across all your channels. Customer service staff should answer inquiries promptly and your deliveries on time every time.  
  • Convenience – Ensure that you’re offering customers relevant choices across your products and services. Have multiple channels that customers can engage with, website, app, telesales, field sales etc. But, make sure that these channels are relevant and accessible for them to use. For example, have quick ordering functionality on your website to save them time, online chat facilities to cut call waiting times. 
  • Responsiveness – Have the right staff and technology in place to react quickly to enquiries, orders, feedback, and concerns. Don’t put in place sales or communication channels if they aren’t monitored. You also need to respond internally, for example, changing processes or policy’s when feedback reveals it causes a problem for customers. 
  • Relevance – According to research by Kingsley, 61% of customers are more likely to buy from businesses that offer personalised content. Use analytics to gain insight into what matters to your customers at each touchpoint. Then use what you find to provide personalised and relevant information. 

Personalisation requires complex order management capabilities, including seamless cross-channel ordering, simplified ordering of complex products and bundles, collaboration with third-party partners, order fulfilment across multiple enterprises and system integration. However, companies that can pull this off benefit from higher market share and more engaged and loyal customers. 

What to do next 
Understanding your customers’ fundamental wants and needs is vital to determine what an excellent experience for them should be. Only by looking at the customers experience through their eyes, along their path-to-purchase, can you deliver an unrivalled customer experience.  

  • Get to know your customers through analytics, social media monitoring and developing customer profiles. 
  • Determine your touchpoints by mapping your customer’s journey 
  • Segment your customers and plan how you will meet their different needs and expectations 
  • Implement strategies consistently across all your channels. 

Find out more about how Oporteo can help you deliver an unrivalled customer experience 24/7; please contact us

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