In the B2B world, we’re seeing a shift in importance and shopping behaviors by business buyers. What’s interesting is that business buyers are starting to behave more like consumers when making business purchase decisions. A global survey from November 2013 by Avanade reports that businesses are not only recognizing the importance of the customer experience for their customers, but for themselves as well. Everyone is a consumer. While you may not be buying products or services for your personal use, if you’re buying anything, you’re still a consumer. Businesses that are embracing technology to help create a better consumer experience are reaping great rewards.
According to the survey, “companies that have built new business processes and technologies to accommodate shifts in customer interactions are experiencing increased customer loyalty (61%); increased revenue (60%); and an increased customer base (60%). “
Simply put, consumer expectations have increased on par with technology. As more information has become available to them and avenues of communications have expanded, consumers are demanding better and faster service. The report states that 83% of the businesses surveyed “plan to invest in technology aimed to improve their customer experience in the next year.”
It’s an ever increasing challenge to keep up with all of the methods consumers prefer for interaction and service including phone, e-mail, social media and mobile devices. In addition, transparency is becoming key to winning trust amongst consumers. Businesses, including car dealerships, have a treasure chest of data on their customers. However, many don’t have the processes and technology in place to capitalize on it.
An earlier study by the same organization showed how businesses that adopt consumer technologies into their work environment are seeing value including:
The fact is consumers expect businesses to have available data from previous interactions and the technology in place to access it. Gone are the days of hoarding receipts. Many mainstream retailers can now simply swipe your credit card to pull up every transaction you’ve ever made. Go into an Apple Store and they’ll ring you up standing in the middle of the store on their iPhone and e-mail you a receipt. Nordstrom has similar technology in place. Disney has installed terminals at the entrances that pop up a pass holder’s picture when their pass is scanned, in order to facilitate entry.
What do all of these businesses have in common? They are known for their exceptional customer experience. Technology will only become more important to businesses as time goes on. Those that are ready and willing to adapt by introducing new processes and technology will almost certainly win.