Updated: Jul 31, 2020
By now most B2B leaders have accepted that companies who put customers first do better. Why? Because customers reward companies that make them the center of attention. They are more likely to repeat purchases, more likely to try a new product offer and more likely to forgive your inevitable service or supply failures.
Customers who enjoy an exceptional customer experience buy more, try more and forgive more.
So how can you tell if your company is customer centric? Here are signals to look for…
What do you spend time talking about?
If you're uneasy about your company meetings being dominated by internal topics, then it’s time for a little experiment.Take out your phone at the next quarterly business review and time how long it takes for someone to mention a customer. Try the same thing at your next employee orientation or employee forum.
If you don’t hear someone mention a customer in the first 15 minutes of a business-critical meeting, you might need to be more customer centric.
Do you know what drives customers to choose one supplier over another, really?
Someone once told me, “There are things we know and things we think we know.” Don’t be fooled! Don’t assume you know what your customer is thinking. I hear B2B clients say, “We don’t need customer research, we know our customers.” Then, I interview customers and learn about critical moments in the buying journey where the client didn’t live up to expectations and the customer walked away.
If you aren’t conducting customer research to eliminate guesswork on what your customers think and feel, you might need to be more customer centric.
What are customers saying about you?
Customers may have written a review about your company recently. Perhaps they shared their experience with a colleague. Maybe your front-line employees are getting feedback, but nobody will listen to their complaints. Are you aware of what your customers are saying about you?
If you don’t have a systematic way of monitoring what customers are saying about you, you might need to be more customer centric.
Is your website designed for customers or internal stakeholders?
This is a tell-tale sign. Potential customers visit a website to learn about your company and assess if you have what they need. Lots of B2B websites are not designed for the user, they are overloaded with text and dominated by market positioning rather than data that is critical to the purchase decision.
If your website is dominated by what you want to tell customers instead of what customers want to know, you might need to be more customer centric.
Do your systems empower or constrain customer facing employees? Employees can only meet customer expectations if they are well equipped. They need agile systems and lots of information from across silos. Too often, customer facing employees are working with a patchwork of antiquated technology slowing them down.
If your employees are frustrated by slow tools and processes keeping them from responding to customers, you might need to be more customer centric.
During project reviews, does anyone ask, ‘what’s in it for the customer’?
Every company has criteria to prioritize project requests. Projects are scrutinized based on CAPEX, OPEX, ROI, payback period, contribution to strategic goals, productivity, and the list goes on. But what about the customer? How will the project impact customers? Is the customer impact an afterthought?
If the 1st question on your project approval template isn’t ‘what’s in it for the customer?’ you might not be customer centric.
If any of these questions caused you to wince, don't despair - ACT! Reach out to a customer experience coach for advice. And, watch for my next blog post on How to Create Memorable B2B Customer Experiences.
Carol Pudnos Carol is a Customer Experience Strategist, helping companies transform their operations to deliver seamless experiences. Carol’s thoughts on customer experience are backed by over two decades of B2B business leadership in chemical, food, pharma and medical device industries. “Processes that serve customers the way they want to be served will differentiate your company and drive business results.”