Most client-facing employees are aware there’s room for improvement in their customer experience, but it’s typically one of those priorities that gets pushed back as different fires need to be put out. Their Directors and VPs may be aware of a problem, but since it’s difficult to quantify “customer experience,” it’s often de-prioritized in terms of company initiatives.
A recent conversation I had with an After-Sales Service Manager highlighted the importance of soliciting feedback from customers proactively, instead of being reactionary and simply waiting for it to come.
To give you some context, they’re in a competitive, service-heavy space with very high contract values that span many years. Each customer signs contracts from the low six-figures to multi-million dollars.
I was asking her about how their customer experience was doing, and she shared with me an embarrassing conversation she’d had with one of their large customers. They had told her flat out…
“Working with your company is painful.”
Apparently, their contract process is very manual, still based on the old method of emailing over a PDF, having the customer print it out, fill in the information and sign it, then scan it and email over the completed PDF.
This large customer also has some contracts in place with competitors, and shared with this After-Sales Service Manager how smooth the experience is with other companies, as they have all adopted electronic signature solutions and slick customer portals to enable updating their account information online.
Now put this in perspective – the experience was bad enough that one customer actually took the time to alert them of it. Think about how many of them didn’t enjoy the experience, but just didn’t say anything? What does it mean to their business if 10% of their customers resent working with them? What if it’s even just 5%?
With the stakes so high and competition so fierce, the loss of 5% of their customers could represent tens of millions of dollars in lost business. How many jobs could be lost at their company if this happened?
The message is clear and simple. Customers today, at all levels, are demanding higher quality, lower-friction experiences. It’s time to get proactive and contact your customers. Ask them how you can be better. Ask them the hard questions, like “What do you hate about working with us?” Do it now, so you don’t have to wait until they tell you, or worse, until they switch to your competition. Then, once you find out what’s frustrating, start putting a plan together on how to improve each touchpoint with them.
Improvements in customer experience directly affect the bottom line, as satisfied customers will buy more, refer friends more, and cost less to service than acquiring new customers.
49% of B2B buyers relied primarily on peer reviews and referrals to buy solutions – what will your customers say about you?