Customer experience in B2B – why is “continuous improvement logic” essential?
Customer expectations are changing as experiences cross sectors. This is having a huge influence on business services, as users seek simplicity at every stage of their journey. How do you turn complex network services into usable propositions that can evolve with your customers?
User expectations are changing, fast
Customer experience has become paramount. In consumer and retail markets, user expectations and the way in which they interact with multiple services have raised expectations. They continually evaluate and assess the experience they obtain. As a result, they judge different service providers against the experiences they gain from different platforms. Does this service match my experience from Netflix, for example?
Inevitably, these expectations are also creeping into B2B markets. People just expect the same frictionless processes and performance that they encounter in their private lives – which creates challenges for mobile operators and B2B service providers. It’s not enough to have a useful solution, it must also offer an outstanding experience – and MNOs need to adopt “continuous improvement logic when reviewing their product and service offerings”, as Arthur D Little, a consulting firm, writes in a recent research note.
This applies to the complete customer journey, from acquisition and on to long-term satisfaction. Customers that sign up for a solution and who have been convinced of its merits, expect that it will deliver from the outset – and continue to do so, across different scenarios.
Experience is continuous – throughout the lifecycle
As such, customer experience needs to become a key element in any product launch strategy. It’s not just about assembling the right features and package, it’s about every touchpoint and user interaction with the service. In fact, experience should be as prominent a part of any RFx process as a compliance checklist. That’s how important it has become.
In fact, features and components, while clearly important, are far from the whole story. That’s because few enterprise customers use a single solution. For example, many use a combination of tools, for different purposes. Someone might use Teams for certain meetings, mobile for person-to-person calls or when working remotely, Zoom for other meetings and so on.
This should be reflected in offers. As none of these solutions can do everything – and they are not trying to - service providers should focus on making their offer the best at what it can do and consider the experience it offers from the outset.
In a virtual or mobile PBX solution, a large part of the customer journey is spent using the solution, so this needs to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Can any necessary change or configuration be made without referring to a manual? Is it obvious how to take this action or another? Is it easy to discover settings and features? If not, it should be. Enabling users to take advantage of all relevant features not only gets them accustomed to the service, but it also makes the service indispensable.
No-one needs feature bloat. What do people really use?
Similarly, offering too many features can be confusing. Most people don’t use everything that a service offers – that applies to consumer products too. Instead, they use what’s most relevant to their daily lives. Any such feature needs to be prominent. So, while the feature set will be agreed before launch, usage needs to be carefully monitored.
Popular features need to be identified, while those used less frequently need to be discovered and the reason for their lack of use pinpointed. Are they as intuitive as you thought? Here steps can be taken to remedy the situation, particularly if they had previously expected to be highlights.
The point is that continuous iteration may be required, with frequent tweaks and changes made, as appropriate. A product is not just launched based on an initial specification. As Arthur D Little adds, you must ensure that basic (“threshold”) needs are – and remain - satisfied – while providing “well-chosen delighters or WOW factors”.
Onboarding and adding users
Another key point is onboarding. Do users need help to get started, or can they take care of everything themselves? If your service does require help, is it too complicated to take off and thrive?
While selling to new customers is essential, once you have sold a B2B service, can the business quickly and easily add new users? If they can’t, you’re effectively handicapping your own sales – they bought a service that will grow with them, but if they can’t add more users, you are undermining that promise and reducing the efficiency gains you may have delivered at other points of the service journey.
And, even if the underlying network is complex, your customers simply don’t care which version of 3GPP standards, or which SIP RFCs you support. They only want the service to function in the context of the interfaces and devices they use.
Continuous improvement is a discipline
We could go on. The point is that continuous improvement is now essential to B2B services, driven by changing expectations from interaction with all manner of services. People want things to be kept simple, across the service lifecycle. So, complexity must be hidden, which means deep understanding of how users consume your offers, backed by iterative improvement to address deficiencies.
If you want to find out how to deliver engaging but powerful business services that help you easily onboard, add and keep customers, why not have a chat? We’ve been doing this a long time – and can help you do the same.
 “Commercial Excellence in B2B Environments”, Arthur D Little Viewpoint